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Who's on the Ice When Goals Are Scored?

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Ed. Note: Bumping this up in case anybody missed it over the weekend. - Travis

Last time we looked at advanced stats, I tried to keep it relatively simple.  There, I looked at the defensive pairings in terms of shots for and against.  Hopefully that was enjoyable.

This time, we'll be looking at Gabriel Desjardins' goals for while a player is on the ice, per 60 minutes.  Obviously, I won't be leaving it at just that, but everything is a deviation from that. 

Rather than direct you to a site explaining the stat, it's very simple.  It counts only even-strength play and it takes how many goals were scored while each player was on the ice, per 60 minutes of ice time.  If you want to look at the stats yourself, click here.  Gabe makes it very simple to sort and find exactly what you want.

Below, you'll find how many goals are scored - both for and against - while each player is on the ice, their plus/minus based upon those numbers, and then a look at what happens while they're off the ice.  This last stat is good to see just how much offense a player creates when he's on the ice, same with just how many more goals the team gives up with him on the ice.

If you didn't follow that last paragraph, I'll remind you for every table.  Really, it's very simple.  Even Frank Seravalli was able to figure it out.*

With that, take the jump.

* Yes, that was a joke.  I slammed him for not understanding it, but really, he just didn't put it in context.  He was able to fully grasp what the stat sought to explain, just not why a maximum of a 4 game sample size doesn't tell you anything.

I've separated the stats into forwards and defensemen, so we'll start with the forwards first.

Forwards

This table is how many Flyers goals are scored every 60 minutes these players are on the ice.

Player GP GFON/60
Briere 53 3.10
van Riemsdyk 57 2.96
Carter 60 2.85
Powe 44 2.77
Hartnell 59 2.73
Asham 53 2.73
Team 60 2.40
Giroux 60 2.28
Richards 60 2.24
Betts 41 1.92
Carcillo 56 1.91
Gagne 36 1.83
Laperriere 60 1.68
Pyorala 36 1.63

First, all these tables include only those players with a minimum of 20 games played.  Maybe that's too few, but when we get to the defensemen, Danny Syvret shows why I should have used a higher minimum.  But that's for later.

Here, there are a few surprises.  Darroll Powe is a lot higher than a lot of people would have expected, while Simon Gagne is a lot lower.  Having Richards and Giroux below the team average is slightly surprising, but they're close enough to escape criticism.  This also shows why Anthony SanFilippo's argument for Hartnell-Carter-Briere to be called the first line is correct.

Now, the flip side.

Player GP GAON/60
Carcillo 56 1.31
Betts 41 1.33
Pyorala 36 1.93
Giroux 60 1.95
Richards 60 2.09
Hartnell 59 2.15
van Riemsdyk 57 2.20
Team 60 2.20
Carter 60 2.25
Laperriere 60 2.28
Gagne 36 2.35
Briere 53 2.48
Asham 53 2.62
Powe 44 2.77

Again, there are that many surprises here.  Ian Laperriere has a higher GAON/60 than expected, but he's just above the team score.  Powe at the bottom also shouldn't surprise anybody.  I don't see any surprises among those who allow fewer even-strength goals than the team average.

Now, let's put those two together.  This isn't exactly a plus/minus, but this chart is really simple.  Take a player's GFON/60 and subtract his GAON/60.

Player GP GF/GA
van Riemsdyk 57 0.76
Briere 53 0.62
Carter 60 0.60
Carcillo 56 0.60
Betts 41 0.59
Hartnell 59 0.58
Giroux 60 0.33
Team 60 0.20
Richards 60 0.15
Asham 53 0.11
Powe 44 0.00
Pyorala 36 -0.30
Gagne 36 -0.52
Laperriere 60 -0.60

There are a few surprises here, mainly James van Riemsdyk leading the way and Simon Gagne and Ian laperriere lagging far behind.  Also, I guess it's a mild surprise that Darroll Powe is breaking even.

The way these line up makes one wonder:  What would a line of van Riemsdyk-Carter-Briere look like?  Obviously, JVR has been playing against worse competition than both Carter and Briere, so bringing him up to face top-line talent would certainly drop his numbers.  But it's still an interesting combination. 

Also, seeing such defensively responsible players such as Mika Pyorala, Simon Gagne, and Ian laperriere at the bottom can be largely attributed to their really poor offensive showing so far this season.  Just to reiterate, this is why context is always important.  (As an example, Ian Laperriere's offensive zone-start is a mere 40.5%, second lowest on the team.  Clearly, he's more likely to have a goal scored on him than JVR or Danny Briere, who start in the offensive zone over 57% of the time.)

Before getting to the ON/OFF stats, I'll move to the defensemen

Defensemen

Player GP GFON/60
Syvret 21 2.86
Carle 60 2.78
Timonen 60 2.41
Coburn 59 2.41
Team 60 2.40
Pronger 60 2.39
Bartulis 46 2.21
Krajicek 30 1.76
Parent 28 1.28

As mentioned above, here is where my choice to set the minimum-games requirement at 20 was probably a bit too low.  Whatever.  It evens out, as you will see in the next chart.  Other caveat: Lukas Krajicek's numbers include both Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. 

Why you'll notice are the two outliers, which is also completely expected.  Ryan Parent is the extreme example of a "defensive defenseman."  He has the 5th-lowest GFON/60 of any defenseman in the NHL with at least 20 games played (3rd lowest among those with 25+ games).  On the flip side, Matt Carle is sufficiently separating himself from the rest of his fellow blueliners.  In all, there isn't much deviation here.

Player GP GAON/60
Pronger 60 1.65
Carle 60 1.81
Krajicek 30 1.89
Parent 28 2.19
Team 60 2.20
Timonen 60 2.21
Coburn 59 2.48
Syvret 21 2.62
Bartulis 46 2.88

Here is where the obvious becomes apparent.  Bartulis has not had a very good year and Syvret just isn't very good.  Coburn's being dragged down by Bartulis and his terrible start as well.  There are two shocking numbers here, to me:  1) Is how few even-strength goals are scored while Chris Pronger is on the ice; and 2) How Lukas Krajicek was deemed "a liability" despite impressive numbers.

First, Chris Pronger is 13th in the NHL in this category, but when you look at Gabe's Qualcomp stat, this number becomes even more impressive.  Of the 12 players with a lower GAON/60, only two are facing above average competition (0.000).  Further, Pronger's 0.120 nearly doubles the second highest qualcomp in the 12 players ahead of him: 0.066.  If that doesn't compute, Pronger is facing the 14th toughest competition among all NHL defensemen with 20 games played, and he's allowing the 13th fewest goals against.  Quite the impressive feat.

Secondly, Lukas Krajicek is having a very defensively responsible season.  To continue the qualcomp theme (just this last time), Krajicek is one of only two defensemen to be face a qualcomp of 0.100 or higher (he's at 0.109) to have a GAON/60 lower than 2.10.  The other? Chris Pronger (I just went over this, so it shouldn't have been a surprise).  This is the guy who's a "liability"?  Really?  Good move by Holmgren this time.

Player GP GF/GA
Carle 60 0.97
Pronger 60 0.74
Syvret 21 0.24
Timonen 60 0.20
Team 60 0.20
Coburn 59 -0.07
Krajicek 30 -0.13
Bartulis 46 -0.67
Parent 28 -0.91

As explained above, this is a little like a player's plus/minus.  It's no surprise to see Carle and Pronger at the top, just like it's not a surprise to see Parent and Bartulis at the bottom.  Again, Syvret is benefiting from his smaller sample-size, but he's still offsetting his defensive weaknesses quite nicely.  Getting him out on top in this category is a minor accomplishment. 

Krajicek is suffering from a poor offensive output while Coburn is suffering from both a decreased offensive production (for him, of course) and an average defensive season so far.

ON/OFF

Now, we're going to get into the ON/OFF stats.  Basically, the OFF stats are the same, but measure what the team does when a player is NOT on the ice, as opposed to the ON stats which measure what the team does when he IS on the ice.  Again, really simple stuff.

First we'll look at Flyers goals.

Player GP GFON/OFF
Briere 53 1.09
van Riemsdyk 57 0.70
Carter 60 0.66
Asham 53 0.50
Hartnell 59 0.42
Powe 44 -0.01
Giroux 60 -0.15
Richards 60 -0.21
Pyorala 36 -0.58
Carcillo 56 -0.74
Laperriere 60 -0.91
Betts 41 -1.02
Gagne 36 -1.09

There are quite a few surprises here.  First, the Flyers are scoring a lot more goals when Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk are on the ice than they're scoring when those two are off the ice.  These two players have been getting their fair share of criticism, but they've stuck out as top-performers by these metrics.  Having Arron Asham show up fourth is quite a surprise.  I'm not sure what the explanation for that one is, but a 2.23 GFOFF/60 score is the best I can explain it.

On the flip side, Simon Gagne's score is quite troubling.  Most of that is the result of his terrible GFON/60, but this shows how much he has been struggling.  The Flyers are scoring over a goal more a game with Gagne off the ice than with him on it.  This needs to turn around.  If it does, I'm sure Richards' would too.  Betts, Lappy, Carcillo, and Pyorala are where they're expected to be:  they aren't paid to score.

Player GP GFON/OFF
Carle 60 0.64
Timonen 60 0.04
Coburn 59 0.04
Pronger 60 0.01
Bartulis 46 -0.07
Krajicek 30 -0.41
Syvret 21 -0.59
Parent 28 -0.90

Again, not many surprises here.  Once again, though, we see the limitation of Syvret's sample size.  He led the team in GFON/60, yet the team scores more goals with him off the ice than on it.  Matt Carle is proving to be pretty important to the Flyers' offense, as he clearly stands out above the rest.  Other than that, there really aren't many surprises:  The offensive defensemen on top, the top defensemen in the middle, and the bottom pairing guys bringing up the rear.

Now, we turn to goals against.

Player GP GAOFF/ON
Carcillo 56 1.13
Betts 41 0.65
Pyorala 36 0.53
Giroux 60 0.26
Richards 60 0.08
Hartnell 59 -0.08
van Riemsdyk 57 -0.12
Carter 60 -0.15
Laperriere 60 -0.18
Gagne 36 -0.25
Briere 53 -0.33
Asham 53 -0.71
Powe 44 -0.93

This table looks at the goals scored against the Flyers while these players were off the ice, compared with those scored while the player was on the ice.  While it's somewhat surprising to see Carcillo, Betts, and Pyorala atop this list, they are pretty defensively responsible.  It's also not very surprising to see Powe and Asham trailing so far behind. 

How is Ian Laperriere in the negative while his linemates are leading the way?  Again explained by his GAON/60 being almost 1.00 higher than both Carcillo and Betts.  As I said at the beginning, these stats are similar to the more well-known plus/minus stat.  There, Betts is a plus-8, Carcillo a plus-5, and Laperriere even.  Here, you can get a better picture of just what that means.

Lastly, the defensemen.

Player GP GAOFF/ON
Pronger 60 0.81
Carle 60 0.54
Parent 28 0.19
Krajicek 30 0.09
Timonen 60 -0.10
Coburn 59 -0.50
Syvret 21 -0.51
Bartulis 46 -1.13

Here, we can see just how good Chris Pronger has been this year.  The team gives up 0.8 more goals with Pronger off the ice than they do when he is on it.  The exact opposite is true with Oskars Bartulis.  This table shows a lot of interesting things.

First, maybe Carle is benefitting from Pronger, but he's still playing pretty well in his own end.  Ryan Parent, despite his minus-5 rating, gives up fewer goals when he's on the ice than when he's off.  But, this also might be due to his smaller sample size. Noting how close Coburn and Syvret are in this category is one scary stat, but if sample size works before, it works here too.  Nothing to worry about.

Conclusion

I know there's a lot to take in here, but hopefully this puts the more familiar plus/minus stat in context.  A player can be even (Lapperiere) and still be giving up more goals against than goals for.  A player who's a minus-5 (Parent) may be far and away playing worse than a minus-4 (Coburn).  Adjusting for ice-time gives a much clearer picture of a player's performance. 

There are obviously some limitations (sample-size skews the numbers considerably) and some of the conclusions are easily reached by other means, but these stats allow for a better understanding of a player's contributions.