Hopefully this won't be a multi-part series, but there are some more interesting stats to look at from the first 5 games. But whereas my previous post dealt with emerging trends, this one I plan to compare players to give some context.
Here, we'll look at Darroll Powe, the third defensive pairing, and the duo of Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen.
As mentioned in the comments, Darroll Powe is beginning to see some high pressure situations. He's getting more PK time and even more time at the end of games. Like I said in that thread, he has simply been unlucky so far this year. Besides the great keep by Getzlaf, Powe has generally had a good start to the season. Lets look.
In looking at who he's playing against, his qualcomp is slightly stiffer than Matt Carle, and slightly easier than Simon Gagne. Comparing Powe's start to Gagne's may be either unfair to Gagne, or too generous to Powe considering Gagne's nagging groin injury but keep in mind I'm not comparing the player's skill level, but rather their starts to the year. So with that, the comparison begins:
Powe's goals for per 60 minutes is better than Gagne's (2.24 to 2.06), but his goals against per 60 is second worst on the team at 4.48. Gagne, meanwhile, is joined by Blair Betts as the only Flyers not to be on the ice for a 5-on-5 goal against. Before championing Gagne a defensive specialist and Powe a liability, I again go back to his luck to start the year. Powe trails Gagne in the shots for per 60 minutes by one, while leading Gagne in fewer shots against per 60 by 0.2. Continuing, Gagne is on the ice for 2 extra missed shots for and 1.9 extra missed shots against. So the Flyers are firing 4.5 shots at the net more than the opposition while Powe is on the ice and 5.8 more than the opponent when Gagne is on the ice. As we already knew, Gagne is the superior offensive player of the two, but defensively, the two give up nearly identical amounts of shots on target. While the fact that Gagne started in his defensive end 7 more times than Powe may be telling, it speaks more to Gagne's (and his linemates') ability to get out of his own end than it does to Powe's poor defensive ability (Ex: Scott Hartnell started in his own end the same amount of times as Powe, and leads the team in SA/60).
Next, we turn to the new third defensive pairings of Parent/Syvret and Parent/Tollefsen. How have these three players begun their seasons? Well, none of them have been on the ice for a 5-on-5 Flyers goal, but that's not what they're here for. It appears as if Tollefsen has gotten stuck on the ice at inopportune times since he leads the D in qualcomp while Syvret and Parent bring up the rear. The qualcomp helps explain why Tollefsen has the highest GA/60.
So as before, we first look at where the players started. Parent has started in the defensive zone 14 times and the offensive zone 15 times, Syvret 8 and 6, and Tollefsen 2 and 8. With Tollefsen starting away from his own net so much, it is completely understandable that he has the lowest SA/60 among all defenders and the lowest missed shots against. But what isn't as easily understood is his astronomically high goals against per 60. This, I'd imagine, is a combination of bad luck, good competition, and very little ice time (sample size). Overall, the team is firing 6.7 more shots at the opponents net with Syvret on the ice, but 3.5 less with Parent. This also might be explained away with Syvret's little ice time, but this isn't to say that Parent is poor defensively either. Rather, Parent has given up fewer shots per 60 than Coburn, Timonen, and Syvret. Again, this is probably more an indication of how Coburn and Timonen started the year, but the third pairing appears to be doing just fine.
Which brings us to how bad Coburn and Timonen have been over these 5 games. (Disclaimer: these stats aren't exclusive to one player. We all saw Coburn's bad game against Pittsburgh, so this isn't necessarily a reflection on Timonen, but since they're partners, their numbers are very similar.) First, both Timonen and Coburn have negative qualcomps. That should suggest they would have solid numbers since they should be able to shut down the other team's bottom 6 forwards - or those that have thus far produced like bottom 6 forwards. That isn't the case. To begin the dismal run through of stats: their GA/60 are 3.84 (Coburn) and 4.26 (Timonen) while they are giving up 29.2 (Timonen) and 32.4 (Coburn) shots against per 60. With Timonen on the ice, the opponent is firing 0.9 more shots at the net than the Flyers, while they are a +3 with Coburn on the ice. These numbers are skewed by the fact that opponents aren't missing the net with both Coburn and Timonen out there. Strictly in terms of shots on goal, the Flyers are a -6 with Kimmo and a -6.2 with Coburn. They just also happen to be on the ice for a lot of missed shots by the Flyers. It's probably not a coincidence that Timonen has 4 missed shots himself.
Basically, 5 games isn't much to get a picture of. But Darroll Powe is giving up less shots on goal than Simon Gagne, yet he's on the ice for 4.48 goals against per 60 minutes. Ryan Parent is having a solid year despite getting less than 11 minutes of even strength time per game, and the Coburn/Timonen pairing is giving up 6 more shots on goal while they are on the ice than the team is when those two aren't on the ice. Interesting 5 games they were.
Again, all stats acquired from Behind the Net.