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Since His Injury, Andreas Lilja Has Been Awful

Those were the days.
Those were the days.

For the year, Andreas Lilja has a total Corsi of minus-49 -- when he's been on the ice, the opponents have gotten 49 more shot attempts than the Flyers have. That's not very good; it works out to 10 extra shots for the opponents per 60 minutes that he's on the ice, worst among the Flyers' nine defensemen who have played at least five games.

(As a reminder, we care about Corsi because it is a great proxy for puck possession and zone time, and because in the long run it correlates very strongly with scoring chances and goals.)

Lilja's Corsi of minus-49 has an interesting breakdown, though. Click through to the jump (or read the headline) to find out more.

Lilja Corsi breakdown Total Corsi Corsi per 60 min
20 games before injury -17 -4
5 games since injury -32 -31

Simply put, since he came back from his injury, Lilja has been killing the Flyers. The Flyers have gotten 45 shot attempts with him on the ice and the opponents have gotten 77. The opponents are driving play into the Flyers end against him and scoring goals -- he's been on the ice for five goals against in 61 minutes of play and no goals for.

It was particularly brutal yesterday. The Flyers tried to hide him by matching him up with Michael Rupp's line, a grouping that itself has a Corsi of -30 per 60 minutes. A line that wasn't beating anyone. I think you know how that turned out, but here are the numbers:

  • The Flyers had a +25 Corsi when Lilja was off the ice and a -13 Corsi when he was on the ice.
  • Lilja was on the ice for 11 minutes and in that time the Rangers put 12 shots on goal and scored two goals.
  • Lilja was on the ice with Brad Richards for just one shift and ended up right at the center of things as the game-winning goal was scored.

What about Andrej Meszaros? He's made some pretty terrible plays during this stretch too, and has an unsightly Corsi of his own (-29 over the last five games). However, I see two signs that Lilja is the one dragging the play down.

First of all, over the last five games Meszaros has had over 30 minutes of even strength shifts with other defensive partners and had a roughly neutral Corsi in that span. Secondly, in the five previous games, playing mostly with Kevin Marshall, he managed a Corsi of -5. So when Marshall got replaced by Lilja, Meszaros' Corsi plummeted, even though his shifts with other defensemen are still fine. That points to Lilja being the problem.

With that being said, Meszaros is not blameless. He's had plenty of errors of his own, and the expectations for him are much higher. He is supposed to be able to carry a lesser partner, and he hasn't even come close.

But in the end, when I look at how much better Meszaros did with Marshall, I wonder why Lilja is getting ice time right now. Whether Lilja is suffering lingering effects of his injury or just going through a slump, the team is getting killed whenever he's on the ice. To reference coach Laviolette on 24/7, he's not earning his shifts lately -- the team doesn't need their #6 defenseman to be Shea Weber, but he can't play like Ryan Parent either.