The way that title is worded, you'd think this would be another of those "it's not that bad!" stories. You'd be wrong.
Rather, this is just to show exactly how bad the Flyers offense has been this year in comparison to last year. The team statistics are obvious - they aren't scoring, their power play isn't clicking, and they aren't winning the even-strength battle.
Now, this is another stat heavy, table-filled post. But this time I kept the numbers simple. I'm looking purely at qualcomp, qualteam, goals per 60 minutes, and points per 60 minutes. Since it's tough to compare this season to last due to the number of games played, the rating stats are a lot easier to use. Is it perfect? No. But it shows you how drastic the drop off has been.
The good news? Our defenseman seem to be scoring more this year than last year. The bad news? Everything else.
After the jump, tables and analysis.
I'll start by first spewing out the team statistics. This year's team (again, this is just a look at the offense) is scoring 2.66 goals per game, good for 20th in the league. Their 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio is 0.96, good for 17th in the league. With the man advantage, they're converting 20.7% of their opportunities, good for 10th in the league. All of this while putting 31.8 shots per game on target, 7th most in the league.
How does that compare to last year? The team scored 3.17 goals per game, good for 4th in the league. They had a 5-on-5 ratio of 1.01, 14th in the league. Their power play was successful 22.5% of the time, 6th best in the league, and they fired 29.8 shots per game on target, 14th in the league.
So, on the team level, they're getting two additional shots on goal, but more than half of a goal less. They're losing the 5-on-5 battle after barely winning it last year, and their power play has dropped from one of the best to above average. Certainly, you already knew this: lots of shots (most of them easy), not a lot of goals, poor defensive play, and a much worse power play.
But when you look at this on an individual level, you begin to see the problem.
This is the data for this year, sorted by goals per 60. There are a number of things wrong with that. First, I found that Gagne actually has scored 0.3 goals per 60 minutes (one goal in 198 minutes, feel free to correct my math) rather than 0. However, that still ranks him below Mika Pyorala.
Now, here's how those same numbers look from last year.
Important things to see here, bullet point style:
- Last year, the team had 5 players who averaged at least one goal per 60 minutes of ice time. This year, only Darroll Powe, David Laliberte, and Danny Briere have accomplished that.
- Along the same lines, the team had 6 players who averaged at least two points per 60 minutes of play last year. This year, only David Laliberte is doing that. Only 4 players are averaging at least 1.75 points per 60; Powe, Laliberte, Briere, and Jonathon Kalinski. Considering only Briere has played 20 games, the team is only seeing Danny Briere produce so far this year.
- Jeff Carter is obviously having a down year in comparison to last year. But the fact that he's scoring one fewer point per game and nearly half as many goals per game as last year, is worse than even I expected.
- With that said, Carter is facing stiffer competition with worse teammates. Couple that with his steep drop in production, and you see why he's been such a disappointment so far this year.
- The flip side of Carter though, is Briere. He's also playing against tougher competition with worse teammates, yet his drop in goals (1.23 to 1.12) is manageable, especially compared with Carter's (1.4 to 0.75). And for some reason I still don't think this will stop people from hating Briere.
- Since Carter and Briere have been playing together for a large part of this season, it's no surprise that Scott Hartnell has also seen a drop in his qualteam rating while his qualcomp number went up. But when you look at how similar his competition has been, his severe drop in scoring is even more drastic. His goals per 60 fell from 1.26 last year to just 0.4 this year. And he actually played more last year than he has so far this year.
- As mentioned above, the defense has actually upped their production from last year. Matt Carle has gone from 0.79 points per 60 to 0.97. Braydon Coburn from 0.53 to 0.77; Kimmo Timonen from 0.69 to 0.79; and Chris Pronger from 0.62 in Anaheim to 1.06. Only Ryan Parent has seen a drop in scoring (0.51 to 0.38), but he's also seen his goals against per 60 shrink from 2.96 to 1.9. We can certainly see the problems this team has - and defense is certainly one of them - but the lack of scoring is not the fault of the blueline.
- As much as Claude Giroux has impressed this year - he's one of the few who are noticeably playing every night - his drop-off is still steep. He's obviously one who likes to set up goals rather than score them, so his goals/60 falling from 0.8 to 0.56 isn't what is alarming. Instead, it's his points per 60 (2.39 to 1.27) and his primary assists per 60 (0.91 to 0.56) that are the most troubling. Everyone noticed how he wasn't scoring much this year (7 goals in 35 games), but he's also failing to get the assists.
- Mike Richards is one of the few who have seen his goal scoring rate increase (modestly, from 0.7 to 0.74), but his primary assists have plummeted from 0.97 to 0.25. Having only a quarter as many set ups per game from a huge part of your offense is yet another troubling development.
- If you are someone who thinks James van Riemsdyk was supposed to "replace" Mike Knuble (or Joffrey Lupul for that matter) in the offense, I'm sure you're a bit disappointed - especially with his play of late. However, JVR is scoring 2.2 points per 60 minutes of ice time, higher than both Knuble and Lupul last year (1.47 and 2.03 respectively). The problem arises when you look at his goals/60, which at 0.68 is much lower than both Knuble (0.91) and Lupul (1.13). Either way, van Riemsdyk's numbers continue to impress, despite his largely invisible play of late.
- Lastly, for you Randy Jones lovers out there, his offensive contributions from last year (4 goals and 4 assists in 47 games due to injury) may not be offset this year, but Oskars Bartulis comes close. Through 21 games, Bartulis only has 3 assists. However, he's producing at 0.46 points per 60, just ahead of Jones' 0.45. Plus, Jones failed to register a primary assist all of last year.
Obviously, there's a lot of information there. And mostly, all of that could be seen just from watching the games. However, when you look at just how bad the Flyers are doing compared to last year, it still amazes you.
Anything you guys spotted that I missed? Any explanation you have? Do you have faith they can turn it around?
All team stats gotten through NHL.com. The tables and all individual stats acquired from Behind the Net.