New Sensation

by Lowetide
Photo by Rob Ferguson

In the days when Todd Nelson was sending talent to the NHL from Oklahoma City, the men coaching up in Edmonton were busy juggling teenage lottery picks. Many quality Barons prospects got the squeeze and were sent away while the head coach was trying to find room for the new sensation.

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NEW SENSATION

The most recent draft pick, Dylan Holloway, is headed for his sophomore season at Wisconsin. He’ll play college games in November if things go according to plan and we might see him play for Canada at the World Juniors. That’s right where he should be.

The 2019 first-round pick, Philip Broberg, wowed everyone at the training camp bubble and then had a strong start to the SHL season (13 games, 1-4-5 and 19:47 time on ice per game). He may be recalled for NHL camp and there’s a chance he will make the team. At 19, his career trajectory is fairly normal so far. He may well get the chance to compete, which is different than negotiating an NHL job in the entry contract.

Evan Bouchard is 21, and the only seven NHL games played came before Ken Holland and Dave Tippett arrived on the scene. The signing of Tyson Barrie gave him an added hurdle, but if he plays well they’ll find room. He’s NHL-ready.

Now. Does anyone on that list have a post-draft resume like Jesse Puljujarvi? Kailer Yamamoto? Nail Yakupov?

Oilers are about competition. If Broberg or Bouchard push hard enough maybe there’s room. If they don’t, the Oilers don’t have to force anything.

THE BLUE

I see lots of talk about the defense in recent days, surrounding (mostly) how the blue will set up (pairings, who plays elites). Dave Tippett will make that decision, it’s my suspicion we’ll see the third pairing play much more at five on five than a year ago (I think Tippett worried about Benning’s health).

My pairings are Nurse-Bear, Jones-Larsson and Russell-Barrie, Lagesson the extra.

Lots of chatter too about the best way to measure defense and performance. I’m a Puck IQ man now, if you drill down who is playing against elites and how well they’re performing, you will know the men Dave Tippett valued. You can wander off to a tangent if you wish, but Tippett told you the men he valued:

  • Darnell Nurse 481 minutes
  • Ethan Bear 468
  • Oscar Klefbom 368
  • Adam Larsson 287
  • Kris Russell 201
  • Caleb Jones 135
  • Matt Benning 124

Tyson Barrie played 306 minutes in Toronto. Injuries had an impact, Klefbom and Larsson would have been closer to Nurse-Bear (or perhaps beyond) over a full season. Time away aside, that’s your list. Perhaps it helps to do this by TOI/game:

  • Darnell Nurse 6:47
  • Ethan Bear 6:36
  • Oscar Klefbom 5:56
  • Adam Larsson 5:52
  • Kris Russell 3:39
  • Caleb Jones 3:09
  • Matt Benning 2:05

Tyson Barrie averaged 4:22 (these are quick estimates by me Puck IQ doesn’t give per game numbers). Pretty clear who Tippett valued, injuries are a part of the game and young players can fall back in their second full NHL seasons. Based on these numbers, Tippett trusted Nurse, Bear, Klefbom, Larsson.

Finally, and people will howl over this, to this day if I want a quick glance at a defense, I go to Corsi Rel (this is a for all opponents five on five via NST):

  1. Caleb Jones 0.97
  2. Adam Larsson 0.74
  3. Matt Benning 0.61
  4. Ethan Bear 0.46
  5. Oscar Klefbom 0.16
  6. Darnell Nurse -1.22
  7. Kris Russell -6.26

Benning and Russell would have played the easiest minutes, Bear and Nurse the toughest. If Caleb Jones can handle the top-4 minutes, Edmonton’s defense won’t be the problem.

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pts2pndr

I think the defensive pairings will be quite different than you propose. I do not think that Barrie was brought on board to be part of a third pairing! It may very well turn out as you have it laid out but only after Barrie proves to be unable to handle second pairing responsibilities with some sheltering. The pairings as I see them are Nurse Bear, Jones Barrie and shut down and PK pairing of Russel Larsson. Larsson will also see some time up the line up with Jones depending on the competition or certain game situations such as up a goal late in the game. I think the D hold the key to the success or failure of the season.

godot10

Lowetide pairings are not first, second, third. They are pairing A, B, C.

The Oilers are going to play three pairings relatively equally at even strength.. The different will be in the quality of opposition assigned to the pairings.

Think St. Louis. Parayko got the shutdown role. Pieterangelo was given a role where he could wheel offensively. Who was the #1 pair? It is not a relevant question.

pts2pndr

I could have rephrased it but the main point for me not unlike what you have said is the pairings will be more situational. I believe that Nurse and Bear will be left together because of their familiarity and due the coach has the knowledge of what they are able to provide as a pairing. Playing an offensive anchor ( Russel ) with Barrie seems by my thinking counterproductive. Having said that I can see where Tippett could interchange Barrie and Larsson given certain game situations. It is my hope that Lagesson will show well early and replace Russel.

dustrock

Kris Russell Island, where Corsi goes to die

Elgin R

Yes, and not far from the Belanger Triangle where offence goes to die.

BONE207

Add alcatraz to the group & we complete the triangle. Where dreams go to die…

dustrock

Live baby live! Now that the night is over. And the sun comes like a god into our room, all perfect light and promises

wolf8888

I assume you are not in Edmonton? 🙂

Munny

Out and out plagiarism…

😉

cowboy bill

If anything Russell & Barrie might be seeing second pairing minutes, while Jones & Larsson third pairing minutes. However most likely all three pairings could be used equally, considering no one single pair stands out as the undisputed first pair. Which isn’t a bad thing. I guess the question is . Is there truly a third pair or three second pairs?

pts2pndr

If Russel and Barrie are playing second pairing minutes the team is in trouble.

Sierra

Because Russell is too far up in the order? Barrie? Or both?

OriginalPouzar

It will be interesting to see what happens with Holloway for the rest of the month. Grantao doesn’t seem happy at all that, after just one series, Holloway will be gone for, likely 5-7 weeks (5 for camp and two more for the tournament if he makes the team).

The original plan was for him to head in early December but this elongated camp has changed things.

Personally, I would prefer him playing games in college and then playing in the tournament but, realistically, if he’s not there for the entire camp, as a bubble guy, he won’t make the team.

Each and every day I get more enthused about the potential fit with this player on this team – I think his skill set might be exactly what is needed in the Oilers’ top 6 – of course, if he develops as hoped and the skill-set translates – Size, speed, skill, smart, aggressive, hard-working – he’s what we want from Kassian on the right side.

OriginalPouzar

The 2019 first-round pick, Philip Broberg, wowed everyone at the training camp bubble and then had a strong start to the SHL season (13 games, 1-4-5 and 19:47 time on ice per game). He may be recalled for NHL camp and there’s a chance he will make the team. At 19, his career trajectory is fairly normal so far. He may well get the chance to compete, which is different than negotiating an NHL job in the entry contract.

I do think he might be here for camp if it lines up as I think it might (starting right after the World Juniors ends) but, realistically, he will not impact the Oilers lineup except maybe in the spring. Just this past week, Matty had a quote from Holland that the current plan is for Broberg to finish the entire season in Skelefteea and then maybe he’ll be brought over after. I would anticipate he’ll get assigned to the AHL once/if brought over after he’s done the season in Sweden. Of course, the “plan” could change but I don’t anticipate Holland plays the 19 year old in the NHL come the start of the season.

OriginalPouzar

it’s my suspicion we’ll see the third pairing play much more at five on five than a year ago (I think Tippett worried about Benning’s health).

I agree with this generally. What I see is three right shot d-men, each capable of playing 18 plus minutes at 5 on 5 and 22-23 total minutes per game.

Each of them is also able to play top 4 minutes, that is, time on ice against elite – we know Bear led the team last year, we know a healthy Larsson can take on the toughs and we know that, through his career, Barrie has generally played 28%-33% of his time on ice against elites with positive goal share results (except for Babcock time and the year Colorado was a historic tire fire).

I can see three pairs with fairly even 5 on 5 minutes – Barrie will add PP time, Larsson will add PK time and Bear will add PK time and likely PP2 time.

I anticipate the Nurse/Bear pairing will stay together and may be joined by Jones/Larsson as the pairings that get a little bit of the tougher ice and Russell/Barrie may get some easier match-ups but ample special teams time.

The only issue with that is that the “easier matchups” for Russell/Barrie doesn’t really line up with Barrie being on the ice with McDavid and Drai which is key.

OriginalPouzar

If Caleb Jones can handle the top-4 minutes, Edmonton’s defense won’t be the problem.

I have posted about this alot – Jones being able to handle second paring minutes at 5 on 5 is one of the main keys to the season. His 8 games in that role last year (with Larsson) provide a great arrow. 8 games is not 82 so, one step at a time, but the test was passed last season.

Ryan

Years ago, maybe 5 or 6, Woodguy did an analysis showing basically that if a given team doesn’t have 4 actual top 4 defensemen, the chances of them making the playoffs are greatly diminished.

defmn

Not sure that position would need much analysis. 😉

who

You post about everything. A lot. Lol.

OriginalPouzar

To follow up on SP’s post from yesterday, due to Lagesson signed in the NHL now, his contract has been terminated with Vita Hasten and he can’t be loaned because they have the max 4 loans. Lagesson is no longer on the team.

Woogie63

In the LONG run the strongest defense has Nurse, Bouchard and Broberg playing he most tough minutes. The Dallas Star saw well ahead of the league the value of Lindell, Klingberg and Heiskanen and built these three into a modern day “BIG THREE”

I think a key this year is to get Bouchard playing second pair minutes later this year, it is the next step to make a 1 RHD. My “I didn’t see that coming” prediction is Bouchard plays lots of NHL minutes this year.

When Nurse arrived he spent a whole season as a third pairing dman. Bouchard has spent his his first pro season on the farm but we have Broberg that need to be a 3rd pairing dman NEXT year. So Bouchard needs to established higher in the line-up.

Nurse, Bouchard and Broberg will be our BIG THREE and we need to take tangible steps to have this to develop.

defmn

How to set up the dmen 5 on 5 reveals the square pegs in the round holes of the current defence.

Nurse is going to be 1LD. Would love to see him paired with Barrie so Nurse could focus on defence but can Barrie handle 1RD?

His history says no.

So do you go back to Bear – who is also really better slotted at 2RD – because they kind of worked last year or Larsson who is the best defender on the right side when healthy making Nurse the dman with the puck skills in that pairing.

Nobody wants to see that I don’t think.

And I can’t see Barrie’s 5 on 5 offensive skills being wasted on a third pair so that he can feed Khaira or Archibald or even Ennis. McDavid is the guy he needs to be on the ice with to maximize both of their skill sets.

Nurse – Bear
Klef – Barrie
Jones – Larsson

makes sense but Klef appears to be out of the picture which is why Broberg’s name keeps getting mentioned – more with hope than anything else. There is no real 1st pairing in the above but there are 3 reasonable 2nd pairings for 5 on 5 work.

If the season opens

Nurse – Bear
Jones – Larsson
Russell – Barrie

I fear the defence will be less than the sum of its parts which is not a good thing in a team sport. Is Lagesson ready? Does that look better? I think the team needs to hope so.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Training camp will reveal a lot, both of the chemistry shared by players and faith of the coaching staff.

To my view, the best way to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses of individual players, perhaps the best way to arrange the defence is (as Godot10 says, A/B/C):

Nurse – Barrie
Jones – Larsson
Russell – Bear

This gives Nurse a similar role as last year with an established puck mover and maximizes Barrie’s abilities/opportunities to feed McDavid and Draisaitl on the fly.

Jones learns the ropes with the ideal mentor for both his age and role. Larsson is the rock on the pair and allows Jones to wheel with all the ups and downs that will come with learning on the job. They had success briefly last year, can they sustain that over a longer term?

Russell becomes the Nurse-lite (emphasis on lite) to Bear who should flourish with a few less minutes and a leaner diet of elite QoC but also simultaneously relied on to carry a pairing. This is where we get to see Bear’s mettle and how much he could potentially earn on a subsequent contract extension.

defmn

That is how I would line them up as well. Find out if Barrie can handle the tougher assignments he will get playing with Nurse.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Given Barrie’s history of playing elites at or near 30% of his career, I think he’ll be fine.

who

Yeah, I could see this happening.
But it’s really all speculation. I’m pretty sure that their play in training camp and in the first month of the season is going to determine where each dman ends up.
No matter what we all think right now.

Reja

Bouchard should be getting 3rd pair soft minutes with PP2 time but it looks like Holland and Tippett disagree. I know he’s not a Holland pic but having him play in some league over seas are sitting in the press box as a number 8 or 9 D is just going to mess with his confidence. If they don’t want to give the 21 year-old number 10 pic a justified shot then just trade the young man and recoup some of the draft picks Holland has wasted.

jp

Good Lord Reja, most 2018 CHL draft picks are only going to turn pro THIS season. Bouchard only played the the AHL last year because he’s an October birthday.

Playing another season (or part of one) in the AHL should not be an issue for anyone.

wolf8888

Agreed. if Nurse and Barrie work well together this could be a great line up

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Ah yes, a classic INXS track.

While not exactly my era, I feel like that group was/is underrated.

Ryan

Georgexs

November 6, 2020 6:35 pm

@Ryan

I was curious about something you said this morning, namely that Smith’s weak 5v5 sv% could account for Bear’s high GA60 number.

Here’s Bear’s 5v5 GA60 and on-ice sv% playing with the two goalies:

Goalie, TOI, GA60, 5v5 sv%

Koskinen, 643, 3.17, .908

Smith, 660, 3.27, .896

Koskinen’s overall 5v5 sv% was .924 and Smith’s was .900. Koskinen’s overall GA60 was 2.54 and Smith’s was 2.92.

The numbers above suggest Bear’s results weren’t overly affected by who he was playing in front of.

Thanks for that data.

I think IIRC I used to pull that sort of info back in the extra skater website days.

How/where do you pull the breakdowns for players by goalie?

Natural Stat Trick doesn’t, as far as I know, have this feature. Or is it part of their Patreon package? (Their line stats doesn’t let you include goalies).

Georgexs

Here

You can also select goalies in the player dropdown.

Last edited 20 days ago by Georgexs
Ryan

Can we have a vote???

Vote (-) if you like the oldest comments at the top (as it currently is running)

Vote (+) if you like the newest comments at the top

defmn

When I voted with the + sign for newest comment at the top it told me I had already voted so then I clicked on the negative and it counted it as a negative.

Is something wrong with the counter?

EDIT: And it continues to allow me to vote for the negative only. Unless this is a parody of voter fraud from down south 😉 I think something is not working properly.

Last edited 20 days ago by defmn
Ryan

I’m not sure. If I were trying to rig this vote… I prefer the new comments at the top myself. It doesn’t allow you to add more votes does it?

Last edited 20 days ago by Ryan
jp

If you vote it also updates to include new votes (by others) since the last page refresh.

I wonder if LT and defmn had this happen and thought their votes weren’t counted?

In fairly quick succession I:
Voted -, my preference
Tried to vote – again and was not allowed
Voted + which nullified my original vote
Voted – again since that’s what I actually want.

The only thing that wasn’t allowed was the two – votes in a row. Seems to be counting accurately for me.

BONE207

Remember…it’s still 2020. Nothing is as it should be. Do you think Lowetidians are being hacked by the Russians?

Bohologo

Kто кого?

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I’m enjoying that the sorting style is up to individual users. It’s a nice touch.

Sierra

Agreed, leave it up to each user.

pts2pndr

I really like the ability to choose! If unable both oldest first would be my preference.

Gerta Rauss

We’re really voting on what the default setting is…yes, you can sort the comments, but if you refresh the page, the default settings return(and have to be sorted again, assuming you don’t prefer the default)

I prefer the setting as is- the oldest comments are first, and the newest comments are at the bottom, but I’ll comply with whatever the majority decide

ronniegoeswild

— I prefer older comments at the top.

Cassandra

Barrie and Russell cannot play together. Barrie at his best plays very aggressive defense in the neutral zone, Russell always plays a very loose defense in the neutral zone.

In either case, the D need to coordinate their movements or it won’t work. Russell can’t change, and if Barrie changes you’ve taken away all his strengths and put him in a position to defend all game.

I see no way a competent coach will put them together.

godot10

Then it will be Lagesson and Barrie. Russell with his feet back in the press box.

OilClog

A Russell/Barrie pairing is absolutely terrifying, it’s borderline abuse.

Genjutsu

Lagesson/Barrie would be ideal, assuming lagesson is ready.

Robidas Island for Russell and there’s lots of cash to make upgrades with LTIR after game one.

Georgexs

As a young player breaking into the league, Bear was asked to play a lot of minutes in his second NHL season. Because high minutes have a higher impact on team performance, it’s important to look closely at how he did.

Bear’s 5v5 GA60 last year was 3.21. His GA60 with CMD was 3.49 and his GA60 away from CMD was 2.99. His GA60 with Mike Smith was 3.27 and his GA60 with Koskinen was 3.17. Wherever Bear was deployed, GA followed. You have to produce a lot of offense to play winning hockey while giving up 3+ goals per 60. CMD can do it. Drai-RNH-KY (the best trio in the league for a stretch) can do it. We’re really talking elite play here.

The point isn’t that Bear is exclusively responsible for the high GA60 number. (Defense is a team concept.) It’s that he was placed into situations that aligned with the high GA60 number. On-ice results generally have something to do with who was on the ice.

I pulled data from NST and tried to find other defensemen who played similar TOI/GP to Bear (over 18 5v5 minutes a night) in their second year.

Here’s the list:

Player, TOI/GP, GA60

Ryan McDonagh, 19.7, 1.82
Jonas Brodin, 19.0, 1.84
Oscar Klefbom, 18.8, 3.19
Roman Josi, 18.5, 2.36
Ethan Bear, 18.4, 3.21
Zach Werenski, 18.4, 2.07
Jaccob Slavin, 18.4, 1.91
Nikita Zaitsev, 18.3, 2.51
Ivan Provorov, 18.3, 2.16
Charlie McAvoy, 18.1, 2.59

Doh! Gotta head out. I’ll finish this later.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Shouldn’t this recent season be considered Bear’s first, given that he was still eligible for the Calder?

Otherwise that’s some quality company to be interspersed within.

Harpers Hair

To me, the real question is, can a team be ultimately successful without a legit top pairing?

is there a recent example of a cup winner that was successful utilizing defense by committee?

godot10

Pittsburgh in the back-to-back season. 1st pairing of Dumoulin and Hainsey.
And Carolina, as all Oiler fans remember.

Last edited 20 days ago by godot10
Harpers Hair

Yeah Pittsburgh is likely the best example.
Carolina comes with an asterisk since they would not have got by Buffalo if the Sabres didn’t have simultaneous injuries to 6 regular defensemen.

Ryan

Your Canucks came awfully close that one year. I think they might have won, but didn’t they ultimately run out of defensemen?

I vaguely remember something pivotal about Aaron Rome that year. Was he the 7th defenseman who they had to play as a regular? Or did he also get injured too?

Harpers Hair

I think you could make the case that Edler and Ehrhoff were legit top pairing D.
Rome was suspended for a questionable hit.

Ryan

Ah, that’s what it was, thanks. I remember the chatter at the time that the Canucks didn’t have a true #1 and needed defense by committee approach.

My recollection was that they they certainly didn’t have a true #1 d nor did they have an actual true top pairing.

Ehrhoff was a quite an effective powerplay specialist, but I don’t think he was top pairing caliber.

Harpers Hair

Well, Edler has been playing top pairing minutes quite effectively since then until Father Time eroded his mobility so I think he would qualify.

Bieksa and Hamhuis in their primes were also quality who might qualify on a good number of teams.

jp

If you make that argument for Edler/Ehrhoff then I think you can make a similar argument for Nurse or Klefbom.

Harpers Hair

Perhaps but the Vancouver duo consistently produced more offense.

jp

Hmmm. Marginally more I suppose.

Those two seasons with Vancouver were the best of Ehrhoff’s entire career. And those were 2 of the best 3 best points/game years in Edler’s career. Both players were 0.59 PPG over the 2 years.

Klefbom was 0.55 PPG this past year. Nurse was 0.48 PPG over the past 2 (which very little PP time). Also neither player is yet Ehrhoff’s age when he played for Vancouver.

If there’s a gap it’s not very much.

jp

I know it’s popular to believe Russell is worse than trash.

And that the 24 year-old with <10 NHL games is the better player.

I really hope it’s true, but I just don’t see it.

Ryan

Some of it is bias, potentially.

Watching Russell play…

  1. the Russell resets allowing other teams to established their preferred defensive structure that kill any chance of getting into the opposition zone.
  2. the poor gap control allowing easy entries into our zone
  3. the complete lack of a breakout pass… off the glass and out.
  4. the trademark starfish that gets exploited often
  5. the shot blocks that deflect off his pads and into the net

We’ve all seen him bad.

He’s small and not very quick particularly skating backwards.

I myself look forward to the end of the Russell era as an Oiler fan.

But I prefer watching modern NHL defensemen.

Last edited 20 days ago by Ryan
jp

Yeah, I have no particular attachment to the player. I’ll be happy too when a better (and more modern) replacement is ready.

I’m just pretty skeptical Lagesson is that player.

On Russell himself, the amount of flack he’s received though basically his entire Oilers career is pretty remarkable. The player has been -4 at 5v5 across the four seasons (for a team that’s been -35). And he’s done it playing 2nd pairing, off side, for three of them.

The seen him bad has been loud on this one and I think it’s more than a little unfair.

Ryan

It’s perplexing for sure. His actual results, at least in terms of +/-, are far better than the eye test would expect.

Fans conflate the player with the contract. It’s hard to separate the two.

Chiarelli signed him to a horrible contract.

jp

It was a bad and completely unnecessary contract, zero question. And you’re right that it added to the flack Russell’s gotten.

But folks talked lots about Sekera’s turd polishing and Russell’s unsustainable results even back in his first season (before the 4X$4M deal).

He’s kinda just kept on being a useful defenseman (by on ice results) ever since.

defmn

I don’t think Russell is trash. I just don’t think that Russell – Barrie is a good mix. It’s like marriage. Some couples improve each other and some make each other worse. 😉

I think Russell – Barrie drag each other down rather than improve each other.

jp

That’s fair, though of course it’s just speculation how they’ll work together since they’ve never actually played with each other. (I also think Nurse-Barrie is a likely possibility FWIW).

It was you suggesting Lagesson over Russell in the lineup and others suggesting Lagesson/Barrie would be a superior pairing that prompted me to comment.

As I said, I’ll be happy if it plays out that way but I don’t think it’s likely.

defmn

To be clear I don’t think Lagesson is likely to be a better dman than Russell. Just that Russell’s style doesn’t really fit with Barrie to my mind.

jp

Well I definitely don’t disagree with that.

And I do also agree with the sentiment of your original post, that the D pairs this year are very difficult to sort out on paper (I’m sure it’s no easier for Tippett either).

A healthy Klefbom sure would change the complexion of this team.

defmn

A little bit like it was difficult to sort out the forwards until the Kahun signing gave the team 9 top 9 forwards.

It would be nice if there was more info forthcoming from the team on exactly what is going on with Klefbom.

jp

Yes it would certainly be nice to have some clarity. Presumably there’s still a chance he plays since nothing final about missing the season has been announced yet…

Ryan

GeorgeXS

I still think that you might be hanging too much of this on Bear.

You’ve already acquiesced that GA/60 and on ice SV% are not very repeatable stats year-over-year for players.

Bear had an on ice SV% of .896 with Smith and .908 with Koskinen. League median was .918

Either Bear was playing goal or he was playing defense, you can’t have it both ways with that.

In other terms, if you acknowledge that it’s not possible to demonstrate an association between defensemen and on ice SV%, then how do you hang the effects of a poor on ice SV% on him?

Edit–>

I like Ethan Bear plenty… especially those outlet passes. By the “eye test,” he isn’t the biggest, fasted, or strongest which limits his ability to defend against top tier offensive players.

Like I said, I like Bear plenty, but he’s certainly not in the same class of player as the most of the comps you listed here. Not even in the same ballpark as Josi, McAvoy, Provorov, McDonagh, or Slavin.

In that regard, he’s certainly being asked to do too much.

Ryan McDonagh, 19.7, 1.82

Jonas Brodin, 19.0, 1.84

Oscar Klefbom, 18.8, 3.19

Roman Josi, 18.5, 2.36

Ethan Bear, 18.4, 3.21

Zach Werenski, 18.4, 2.07

Jaccob Slavin, 18.4, 1.91

Nikita Zaitsev, 18.3, 2.51

Ivan Provorov, 18.3, 2.16

Charlie McAvoy, 18.1, 2.59

Last edited 20 days ago by Ryan
Georgexs

1. “Acquiesced” doesn’t quite capture it. The year-over-year correlations of GF60, GA60, GF%, sh% and sv% for defensemen are usually close to 0, occasionally registering in the 0.2 to 0.3 range. How defensemen do in one year on these stats tells us very little about how they’ll do in the next.

But I believe the reason for this is part randomness and part adjustments made by teams between seasons. Teams that had bad results in particular facets of the game (special teams, 3rd line, goaltending, too many goals allowed, too few goals scored) are going to take steps to address those issues in the off season. And the front office, coaching staff, and players will put particular emphasis on improving in these particular areas. There’s a special effort taken by teams to decorrelate results.

I think this effort along with randomness explain the low correlation in counting stats for defensemen who, by the nature of their position, are already difficult to assess using counting stats because they rarely produce strong effects.

Bear’s single season on-ice GA60 result isn’t statistically significant (not enough data for that) but it’s on the way there. The Oilers need to take steps to prevent it from getting there by deploying him differently than they did in the past season.

2. You missed something.

Goalie, 5v5 sv% w/Bear, 5v5 sv% wo/Bear, Overall

Smith, .896, .902, .900
Koskinen, .908, .934, .924

Koskinen seemed to do a fair bit worse with Bear.

In the playoffs, Koskinen had a sv% of .864. With Bear, it was .778. There was no CMD effect either because Koskinen had a .920 sv% with CMD on the ice. Instead, the poor results seemed to come with Drai (.737) and KY (.783). No RNH, no winning for those two.

3. I like Bear too. I think he plays a courageous game. I also think he’s being asked to do too much. That’s my point really by showing the peer group he’s thrown in with and how much his GA60 stands out. Klefbom was scaled back on his TOI after his second season (during which he posted a 3+ GA60 playing nearly 19 5v5 minutes a night). Nurse posted a 2.82 GA60 playing nearly 17:30 minutes a night in his second season. The Oilers piared him with Benning and cut his minutes to around 15:18 the following season. Playing big minutes is a real test for a defenseman. Shattenkirk wrote about it in his 2-part elite defensemen series on the Player’s Tribune.

18 5v5 minutes a night is a big ask. You’re either ready or you’re not ready. The numbers show Bear’s not ready.

jp

Georgexs

As a young player breaking into the league, Bear was asked to play a lot of minutes in his second NHL season. Because high minutes have a higher impact on team performance, it’s important to look closely at how he did.

Bear’s 5v5 GA60 last year was 3.21. His GA60 with CMD was 3.49 and his GA60 away from CMD was 2.99. His GA60 with Mike Smith was 3.27 and his GA60 with Koskinen was 3.17. Wherever Bear was deployed, GA followed. You have to produce a lot of offense to play winning hockey while giving up 3+ goals per 60. CMD can do it. Drai-RNH-KY (the best trio in the league for a stretch) can do it. We’re really talking elite play here.

The point isn’t that Bear is exclusively responsible for the high GA60 number. (Defense is a team concept.) It’s that he was placed into situations that aligned with the high GA60 number. On-ice results generally have something to do with who was on the ice.

I pulled data from NST and tried to find other defensemen who played similar TOI/GP to Bear (over 18 5v5 minutes a night) in their second year.

Here’s the list:

Player, TOI/GP, GA60

Ryan McDonagh, 19.7, 1.82

Jonas Brodin, 19.0, 1.84

Oscar Klefbom, 18.8, 3.19

Roman Josi, 18.5, 2.36

Ethan Bear, 18.4, 3.21

Zach Werenski, 18.4, 2.07

Jaccob Slavin, 18.4, 1.91

Nikita Zaitsev, 18.3, 2.51

Ivan Provorov, 18.3, 2.16

Charlie McAvoy, 18.1, 2.59

Doh! Gotta head out. I’ll finish this later.

I’m not clear why you’re focusing solely on GA here.

Bear was -6 at 5v5 on a team that was -16 at 5v5. His % of the negative goal differential is exactly in proportion to his % of TOI played.

He was a neutral player on the team this season, while playing top pairing minutes (that is, with and against the best in the NHL).

If you think he’s partly to blame for his GA/60, why aren’t you equally entertaining the possibility he’s partly responsible for the (quality) GF/60 that’s occurred with him on the ice?

Is GA/60 ON more reproducible than GF/60 ON? I don’t know but I’d guess the opposite is more likely (though maybe not for defensemen?).

Last edited 20 days ago by jp
Ryan
toi with Ga/60
Caleb Jones	97.767 4.3
Joel Persson	65.617	3.66
Darnell Nurse	600.53	3.5
Matthew Benning	102.95 3.5
Ethan Bear	585.2  3.49
Adam Larsson	151.3	3.17
Oscar Klefbom	291.2 3.09
Kris Russell	167.31	1.79

McDavid himself averaged 3.3 ga/60 this season which was his worst since his rookie season.

The above are other defensemen’s ga/60 playing with 97.

Last edited 20 days ago by Ryan
jp

Yeah, McDavid needs to sort that out (IMO). He was 3.30 both this and last season (as well as his rookie year) while being much better in 16-17 and 17-18.

I lay blame on McDavid here because he’s also stopped outshooting (52.5% SF or better in each of his first 3 seasons, then 48.6% and 47.6% in the last two).

I find it difficult to attribute to his teammates since it’s happened with near everyone he’s played with the past couple of years, and I don’t think the team 18-19 and 19-20 teams have been any worse than the 15-16 and 17-18 ones.

But yes, Bear is not alone in having a bad GA/60 with McDavid.

McDavid’s GF% with those D tells a bit of a different story though:
Benning 60.0% (9GF-6GA in 103 minutes)
Klefbom 54.6%
Bear 52.1%
Nurse 51.4%
Larsson 50.0%
Jones 50.0%
Russell 44.4% (4GF-5GA)

I wouldn’t ding Bear here or overall just based on his GA rates.

Last edited 20 days ago by jp
OriginalPouzar

dustrock

 November 7, 2020 9:22 am

Kris Russell Island, where Corsi goes to die

But what about elite anti-rover, open-shot, ga/60 reducer?

OriginalPouzar

pts2pndr

 Reply to  cowboy bill

 November 7, 2020 11:57 am

If Russel and Barrie are playing second pairing minutes the team is in trouble.

Barrie has seen 2nd pairing minutes pretty much his entire career and, aside from Babcock time and the season the Avs were historically awful, saw positive goal share.

Rusty aside, Tyson Barrie can handle 2nd pairing minutes and comp.

OriginalPouzar

Ryan

Admin

 Reply to  OriginalPouzar

 November 7, 2020 11:10 am

Years ago, maybe 5 or 6, Woodguy did an analysis showing basically that if a given team doesn’t have 4 actual top 4 defensemen, the chances of them making the playoffs are greatly diminished.

The Oilers have at least 4 (Nurse, Bear, Barrie, Larsson), potentially 5 (Jones) and an argument for 6 (Rusty – serviceable at 2LD).

Ryan

I think, in part, that’s why Holland signed Barrie.

It partially mitigates the risk of assuming Jones can play top 4.

Hasn’t anyone noticed my new Gravatar logo? I’ve adjusted the low oil pressure needle.

OriginalPouzar

who

 Reply to  OriginalPouzar

 November 7, 2020 1:31 pm

You post about everything. A lot. Lol.

and?

Ryan

“Volume posting, I don’t know what that does to Corsi or Fenwick because I don’t even know what those things are, but volume posting is important. I think it breaks down defensive zone coverages, gets players out of position, taxes the opposition, makes them play more minutes in their zone.” 

  • OP
Last edited 20 days ago by Ryan
who

Just saying you could have left “about this” out of that first sentence.

And now you’ll reply that “you like to talk about everything Oilers related”.

There. Now you don’t have to reply to me. Look at all the trouble I’m saving you.

OriginalPouzar

Cool story.

Solid value add.

Last edited 19 days ago by OriginalPouzar
OriginalPouzar

Woogie63

In the LONG run the strongest defense has Nurse, Bouchard and Broberg playing he most tough minutes. The Dallas Star saw well ahead of the league the value of Lindell, Klingberg and Heiskanen and built these three into a modern day “BIG THREE”

I think a key this year is to get Bouchard playing second pair minutes later this year, it is the next step to make a 1 RHD. My “I didn’t see that coming” prediction is Bouchard plays lots of NHL minutes this year.

When Nurse arrived he spent a whole season as a third pairing dman. Bouchard has spent his his first pro season on the farm but we have Broberg that need to be a 3rd pairing dman NEXT year. So Bouchard needs to established higher in the line-up.

Nurse, Bouchard and Broberg will be our BIG THREE and we need to take tangible steps to have this to develop.

With respect, I can’t agree with your required timeline for devlopment of Bouchard and Broberg.

Why does Broberg have to be a legit 3rd pairing NHL d-man to start 2021/22? I would actually expect him to require some solid AHL seasoning. I think Bouchard will indeed play many NHL games this coming season but don’t see why he needs to be established as 2RD for 2021/22?

In my opinion your timeline is 6-18 months rushed.

With respect to Nurse, he started off his NHL career playing excellent 3rd pairing hockey but then injuries hit and he was moved up the lineup and struggled in the 2nd half of his rookie season.

He was back to full time 3rd pairing in his 2nd NHL season but had that ankle injury.

OriginalPouzar

Reja

Bouchard should be getting 3rd pair soft minutes with PP2 time but it looks like Holland and Tippett disagree. I know he’s not a Holland pic but having him play in some league over seas are sitting in the press box as a number 8 or 9 D is just going to mess with his confidence. If they don’t want to give the 21 year-old number 10 pic a justified shot then just trade the young man and recoup some of the draft picks Holland has wasted.

I have little doubt that Bouchard will see plenty of 3RD and PP2 this coming season in the NHL even after playing in Europe for a few months (instead of sitting at home, not playing) and then starting the season in the AHL.

He may be the 8D to start the season but the 4RD and he will undoubtably get his opportunity.

You keep suggesting that a lineup spot should be gifted and held open for Bouchard. While I do think he would be ready for 3RD, this organization has gifted prospects lineup spots on the hope they are ready for years with generally negative results – its a practice that has hurt the organization (and the development of prospects) for years.

I am confidant the org is very high on Bouchard and the signing of Tyson Barrie does not change that in the least.

The high potential player is just starting his second year of pro hockey and hasn’t even started his ELC and the suggestion is to trade him because the team signed Tyson Barrie to a one-year huge value contract that took away a gifted lineup spot?

Last edited 20 days ago by OriginalPouzar
rickithebear

Origional Pouzer:

So today I read on hear from posters.
A. A Corsi directed inside the posts/bar y,z elevation of a nets one completely covered in plywood ( closed) and not covered (Open) have the exact same chance of going in.

B. A fwd is equally responsible evga as a dman cause they are failing to defend the high danger shot area in front of net.

C. A Coaches decision to:
-start a player less off the bench 33/60min to 70/60min.
-Give players different bench change with pocession 25%- 75%
-Give players different FO OZ ZS% 17% to 77%
-chose which teamates a player is on with.
have no or limited affect on data Corsi, Fenwick, Closed shot, open shot, GA
But who they face is the only/primary source of all data affect.

D. Data that fails to capture players (45%) that are best suited for the last 26 yrs of final 4 championship teams is better than data evga that captures them 85% of the time.

E. Minutes played by a Dmen is reflective of goal diff performance.

F. Top off Dmen ( Rovers) are equally (deserving of)/(effective with) off pocession as Fwds.
Let’s look Their are 14 Dmen who are Top 9 (279).
Carlson #81 skater 2.24 evp/60 to Edler #271 skater 1.46 evp/60.
Their evg/60 ranges from Hamilton #128 skater .86 to Karlsson #446 skater .23. The rest are 4th line forward to PB evp/60.

Kahun #88 .97 evg/60; #43 2.55 evp/60
Archibald #110 .90 evg/60; #224 1.62 evp/60
Ennis #179 .75 evg/60; #155 1.86 evp/60

rickithebear

-I also read posters that believe
3 rd pair is were you shelter players not deserving of being a NHL DEFENCEman.

Rather than 1 of three pairs you want to crush def Evga/60.
Cause you do not win championships unless you give up 2, 1, 0 goals in your series 4 wins.

Kinger_Oil.redux

– This is really cool and informative: “Oil Change” Buffalo style: whats that “Wing Night”?

https://youtu.be/DvDY0pa-HnM

OriginalPouzar

jp

I know it’s popular to believe Russell is worse than trash.

And that the 24 year-old with <10 NHL games is the better player.

I really hope it’s true, but I just don’t see it.

I do agree that some think “he’s trash” but most feel he’s a serviceable 3rd pairing d-man with a bloated contract.

I can’t say that Willie “is better” but I will say that I know what Rusty brings and, while he does provide value, I think Lagesson can provide a similar type of defensive game with better skating and puck moving up side. Rusty is well over 30 and not the same player he was a few years ago and, while Lagesson may never get to Rusty’s defensive stature, he very well may and the drop in defensive experience/play may be made up with via better puck moving, transition, offensive instincts, etc.

The PK will definitely take Willie some time to get the Rusty’s level but, as far as 5 on 5, with a solid stretch of games, who knows what Lagesson can look like after this year is over.

OriginalPouzar

jp

Yeah, I have no particular attachment to the player. I’ll be happy too when a better (and more modern) replacement is ready.

I’m just pretty skeptical Lagesson is that player.

I actually think that Lagesson could be that almost exact player (if his game translates to the NHL level).

I have posted many times in the past that his skill-set is a “new-age Adam Larsson” – a tough and aggressive defence first defender (although not as tough or dirty as Larsson) but a decent skater with decent offensive instincts and the ability to transition the puck.

He’s, in no way, proven to be that player at the NHL level and has not passed Rusty on the depth chart but, with the opportunity and a stretch of games, he could get there this season and become the “new-age defensive d-man”.

Harpers Hair

That’s an exceedingly low bar.You can find that kind of defensemen every year in free agency and most of them have an NHL track record.

defmn

I don’t think you ever know what you’ve got with a mid round pick until you give them 30 games.

Every fourth rounder that makes it to the league for even a cup of coffee is a surprise imo. I think we are comparing his numbers in the AHL to those of Bear & Jones & hoping lightning strikes three times out of three.

I know, its a long shot.

Last edited 20 days ago by defmn
jp

This comment and your previous one on Lagesson/Russell are quite reasonable. In the past, however, you’ve said that Lagesson is a better passer and skater than Larsson, which IMO is part of the hyperbole I referred to. As you say here, Lagesson has not shown those things yet at the NHL level. And Larsson as a comparable had most of 5 NHL seasons played already by the time he turned 24.

OriginalPouzar

Ryan

It’s perplexing for sure. His actual results, at least in terms of +/-, are far better than the eye test would expect.

Fans conflate the player with the contract. It’s hard to separate the two.

Chiarelli signed him to a horrible contract.

I don’t think there is any doubt Rusty can defend – starfish and all. Even when he was playing above his skillset at 2RD, he was able to defend and keep goals against down. The issue was the cratering of the Oilers’ offence when he was out there. He was able to help crater McDavid’s offence.

Goals against weren’t going in but goals for weren’t happening either.

He was able to get the puck back and get the puck out but we know we wasn’t able to get it out with possession and, when he did get it out with possession is was generally after a re-set and not in transition.

The contract was bad – Chiarelli went 0 for 4, losing on Dollars, Term, Trade Protection and Structure. At the same time, given how often Rusty was asked to play 2nd pairing and 2RD over its term (and he would do decent in short stretches), I would say he almost lived up to the AAV in a few of the years.

Of course, it was that contract itself that was a main reason a “real 2RD” was never available.

OriginalPouzar

defmn

A little bit like it was difficult to sort out the forwards until the Kahun signing gave the team 9 top 9 forwards.

It would be nice if there was more info forthcoming from the team on exactly what is going on with Klefbom.

I don’t think the team has the info to be forthcoming as the ball is in Klef’s court and he is still rehabbing and thinking. It really does sound like he is going to wait until the start date is announced and we are close thereto to determine his path.

From Holland late this week – he’s proceeding as if he won’t have Klef at all this year and if he does have him it will be a bonus – a huge bonus.

Last edited 20 days ago by OriginalPouzar
MushedPeas

Heads up that on my iphone the ‘jump to comment box’ icon is blocked by the ‘jump to the top of the page’ icon (the second lies overtop of the first).

Last edited 20 days ago by MushedPeas
Tarkus

Apologies if this has been posted already–it’s an article on SI.com from a few days ago, just after the Oilers signed Kahun. Some interesting nuggets, including the forward and D-man he has faced the most:

https://www.si.com/hockey/news/dominik-kahun-the-steal-of-the-2020-off-season

defmn

It’s a long time since I last heard anybody refer to a move by Oilers’ management as ‘shrewd’.

Munny

By anyone other than Oiler management themselves, that is.

😉

Georgexs

jp

I’m not clear why you’re focusing solely on GA here.

Bear was -6 at 5v5 on a team that was -16 at 5v5. His % of the negative goal differential is exactly in proportion to his % of TOI played.

He was a neutral player on the team this season, while playing top pairing minutes (that is, with and against the best in the NHL).

If you think he’s partly to blame for his GA/60, why aren’t you equally entertaining the possibility he’s partly responsible for the (quality) GF/60 that’s occurred with him on the ice?

Is GA/60 ON more reproducible than GF/60 ON? I don’t know but I’d guess the opposite is more likely (though maybe not for defensemen?).

I’m focusing on GA because Bear’s is very high. His GF with CMD does offset it, so his overall GF% falls in line with the team’s. But most of the time, he didn’t play with CMD, and, in those situations, his GA was still really high. I think GA reflects the defending part of the game. I think defensemen contribute more to the defending part of the game than the scoring part of the game.

As for “with and against the best in the NHL”, here’s what PuckIQ says about Bear’s results against their defined tiers:

Tier, TOI, GF60, GA60

Elite, 468, 3.20, 2.43
Middle, 437, 1.65, 3.16
Gritensity, 391, 3.69, 4.30

The worst forwards in the league scored at better than a Brayden Point pace while playing against Bear. What should I believe here?

I think that if a defenseman has a real impact on offense, he’ll play on the PP. Bear didn’t play on the PP. If he did, he would’ve played Klef level minutes. I also think taht if a defenseman has a real impact on offense, he gets credit for it, i.e., he picks up some secondary and primary assists. Bear’s Pts/GP was 0.30. His company at that mark doesn’t seem to me to be an offense impacting group. Playing a lot of time with CMD and not picking up points at a better rate than Tyler Myers suggests to me he didn’t have a lot to do with the offense that was being generated when they were on the ice together. I also think any committed fan would’ve noticed (just like the scoreboard) if Bear was consistently making plays that led directly to goals.

Very little outside of TOI/GP (and related stats) are reproducible for defensemen. Definitely not GF60 and GA60. All we can say with some confidence is that defensemen tend to have roles, as measured by TOI/GP. I don’t think Bear will have as bad a GA60 this year. But that’ll be because he won’t be used in the same role as he was used this year. If he is used in the same role, then I think the organization will be counting on growth from the player plus an improved forward corps for better results. The improved forward corps should help. But, outside of that, it’s a lot to ask for. And it runs counter to the information available.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Two things come to mind… how much of Bear’s progressively worse results against weaker competition would depend on the tail end of shifts and QoT while playing against middle or lesser opponents?

Genuinely asking, because parsing stats isn’t my background… at all. But thanks to this site I’m learning. 🙂

Georgexs

Before reaching for a convoluted explanation for on-ice results, check if the simple explanation fits. The on-ice results suggest Bear can’t defend for 21:58 a night. Does it look like he can?

Georgexs

Lagesson? He’s a 24 year old 4th round pick with 8 games in the NHL during which he played 11:52 a night. His numbers in those 8 games look terrible. Why the fuss? Is he an Erik Gustafsson type? Or a Joel Persson type?

defmn

Jones & Bear were pretty much that going in to last season so I would say we mostly have hope & a clear idea that Russell is difficult to find a partner for that makes sense.

jp

See I agree with George on this.

One big difference (for me) is that Lagesson is already 2 years older than Bear and Jones were last year in the same situation.

As you said above, it’s a long shot. I hope lightning strikes again but I’m having a tough time putting any hope in Lagesson beyond a 6/7D.

(IIRC SP also questioned whether Lagesson had upside beyond the 3rd pairing so that’s playing into my expectations too).

defmn

Isn’t 6/7 dman the hope & expectation though?

Munny

6 is definitely hope at this point IMO.

jp

You and others have suggested/floated the idea that Barrie is likely to get ample TOI with McDavid, and that having Russell as his partner is not the way to optimize those minutes.

I agree with all that, but the suggestion that Lagesson-Barrie could be the answer (in significant minutes with and against difficult comp) suggests the hope/expectation for Lagesson is more than a 6/7D. Fair? (even if that’s not quite what you intended)

defmn

No, I think it suggests that Lagesson as a #6 is a better fit for whoever he is paired with. Not a better player. A better fit.

jp

So Lagesson is (may be) a better fit with Barrie than Russell.

Is Lagesson also a better fit with Bear? Larsson? Bouchard?

If the answer isn’t “just Barrie” then there’s not a ton of room left for Lagesson not being the better player is there?

I’ll also say that my original post was largely based on Lagesson/Russell comments far more hyperbolic than yours. In this post and my last i’m just trying to explain the logic in how i got to folks viewing Lagesson as more than a 6/7D.

Munny

https://lowetide.ca/2020/11/07/new-sensation-2/#comment-961187

<blockquote>

I can’t say that Willie “is better” but I will say that I know what Rusty brings and, while he does provide value, I think Lagesson can provide a similar type of defensive game with better skating and puck moving up side.

</blockquote>

I dream of Laggy having crow’s rooster feet. As for puck-moving, he looked a little deer-in-the-headlights I think when we last saw him. I hope he’s better than Rusty one day, but I don’t think he is today.

OriginalPouzar

Harpers Hair

That’s an exceedingly low bar.You can find that kind of defensemen every year in free agency and most of them have an NHL track record.

I’ll take the 24 year old d-man that has improved year over year since he was drafted and looks to be NHL ready and is signed for 2 years with the 2nd year below the NHL minimum salary over a UFA aged d-man that can be signed for under $1M.

Won’t even get in to the fact that your comment, again, had zero to do with the conversation which was Lagesson vs. Russell for 3LD.

Harpers Hair

You take whomever you like but that doesn’t mean jack shit.

The Flames signed Nikita Nesterov for $700K and he has 134 NHL games to his credit and is an all situation defenseman who excelled in the KHL while Lagesson was eating popcorn.

He’s a much better bet than either Lagesson or Russell no matter how you try to spin things.

And Nesterov is only ONE example.

OriginalPouzar

Who you believe is a “better bet” doesn’t mean jack shit either – that’s been proven.

I’ll take the guy that excelled in the AHL at 23 over the guy that excelled, to a lesser degree in the KHL at 26 but thanks.

Harpers Hair

When Nesterov was 23 he played 57 NHL games for the Tamp Bay Lightning but carry on with your AHL obsession with cannon fodder.

Side

I thought you said you don’t get angry?

Ahahahaha

Munny

I was looking at our draft picks next year and I sort of teared up and had to look away.

I have one of those mouse’s with the one-click back button. There are days like today when it sure comes in handy.

Georgexs

The dissonance with Russell on this site remains strong.

He’s -4 at 5v5 on a team that’s gone -35 in his four years here, +7, -11, +1, -1.

He’s played the second most number of games among Oilers D during that time, logged the 4th most minutes, and averaged 19:30 a night. There have been 154 defensemen who’ve played 200 or more games in the NHL in the past 4 years. Russell is 94th on TOI/GP.

It’s hard to do all those things and not be able to defend.

Munny

And spent a substantial amount of that time playing the wrong point.

Last edited 20 days ago by Munny
Georgexs

Also, I endorse today’s song choice.

Munny

Isn’t this the song that led to his misfortune?

#mythbuilding

Munny

You know what… this roster actually has some depth. Way better than last year’s. Holly holding a Youtube Tuts on incremental improvement. Hope Chia smashed the subscribe button…

If there’s KBomb returning and a Broberg being added at the playoffs, then this roster holds outstanding depth.

It appears to my eyes that Holland hasn’t relinquished his veteran UFA MO but rather has modernized the method. Ennis and Barrie and Smith are such archetypal Holland signings it’s ridiculous. Like someone re-making a movie twenty years after the original, but with the new (in other words, old) high-waisted blue jeans…

jp

Georgexs

November 7, 2020 7:05 pm

I’m focusing on GA because Bear’s is very high. His GF with CMD does offset it, so his overall GF% falls in line with the team’s. But most of the time, he didn’t play with CMD, and, in those situations, his GA was still really high. I think GA reflects the defending part of the game. I think defensemen contribute more to the defending part of the game than the scoring part of the game.

McDavid’s GF/60 was higher with Bear than without too. As was his SF%, GF%, xGF%, SCF%, HDCF% (check out the SCF and HDCF WOWYs, makes you wonder if Bear/Nurse really are doing something meaningful).

You’ve chosen to focus on the GA part of the equation (which is fair to an extent for a defenseman) while completely ignoring/discounting the GF part of the equation. I could agree that defensemen are more likely impacting the GA than the GF component but not in a 90%/10% kind of way. And you told us earlier, and in this very comment, that that GF and GA rates for defensemen aren’t reproducible…

Bear’s most common teammates in terms of TOI were (Bear played >460 minutes with all of these players and less than 300 minutes with any other Oiler):
Nurse 3.11 GA/60
McDavid 3.30
Draisaitl 3.20
Kassian 3.03

Bear at 3.21 GA/60 does not stick out, at all.

It doesn’t strike me as parsimonious to put the GA/60 number on Bear any more than the players he played with. And it seems downright unfair to saddle Bear with the GA results without giving him any credit for the GF that these players produced while on the ice together.

As for “with and against the best in the NHL”, here’s what PuckIQ says about Bear’s results against their defined tiers:

Tier, TOI, GF60, GA60

Elite, 468, 3.20, 2.43

Middle, 437, 1.65, 3.16

Gritensity, 391, 3.69, 4.30

The worst forwards in the league scored at better than a Brayden Point pace while playing against Bear. What should I believe here?

You yourself have given our host a hard time for using the PuckIQ data vs different tiers. You’re clearly aware of the ‘inconsistency’ in some of the numbers, though it’s not clear whether those are because quality of teammates covaries with quality of competition, or if the definition of ‘elites’ for a give year is off, or other.

I’ve said before I use PuckIQ %TOI vs elites to get a sense of coaches usage, then look at the all tiers/overall DFF%, SF%, GF% since I don’t see value in breaking out the tiers into smaller sample sizes.

In the Oilers case all of their top 4 D and their main forwards follow the same pattern in GF% vs Elite/Middle/Gritensity. So again, Bear is doing what his main teammates were doing based on the PuckIQ data.

I think that if a defenseman has a real impact on offense, he’ll play on the PP. Bear didn’t play on the PP. If he did, he would’ve played Klef level minutes. I also think taht if a defenseman has a real impact on offense, he gets credit for it, i.e., he picks up some secondary and primary assists. Bear’s Pts/GP was 0.30. His company at that mark doesn’t seem to me to be an offense impacting group. Playing a lot of time with CMD and not picking up points at a better rate than Tyler Myers suggests to me he didn’t have a lot to do with the offense that was being generated when they were on the ice together. I also think any committed fan would’ve noticed (just like the scoreboard) if Bear was consistently making plays that led directly to goals.

Yeah, maybe a D that impacts offense will always play on the PP. But Klefbom and Nurse have both put up ~0.5 points per game and been part of successful Oilers power plays over the past couple of seasons. I don’t know why anyone would remove Klefbom from the best PP of the last 40 years, even if another player on the team could impact offense.

You also mention TOI per game below. Bear already played 19+ minutes at even strength and basically 2 minutes per game on the PK (in addition to the 45 seconds per game he played on PP2). Without being a main PP player he was already 51st among D in overall TOI/game, as a rookie. Seems like a good reason not to give the guy MORE minutes on the PP.

At 5v5 Bear was actually tied for 40th in the league with 19 points. The other guys with 19 5v5 points last season were Fowler, Parayko, Schmidt, Dahlin. Seems like a good offensive arrow for a rookie D.

Very little outside of TOI/GP (and related stats) are reproducible for defensemen. Definitely not GF60 and GA60. All we can say with some confidence is that defensemen tend to have roles, as measured by TOI/GP. I don’t think Bear will have as bad a GA60 this year. But that’ll be because he won’t be used in the same role as he was used this year. If he is used in the same role, then I think the organization will be counting on growth from the player plus an improved forward corps for better results. The improved forward corps should help. But, outside of that, it’s a lot to ask for. And it runs counter to the information available.

I agree with much of this. Bear may not be used in the same role this season (the Oilers have two other quality RHD after all). He likely won’t post as bad a GA/60. There may be continued growth from the player. It’s also a lot to ask of a young player.

I disagree though that expecting Bear to perform similarly to what he did this year, if placed in a similar situation, runs counter to available information.

My take is that he was asked to do a lot as a rookie. And he managed to keep his head essentially above water (at least relative to team). Damn fine job. And if the RD depth improved and he’s asked to do less this coming season he should perform better. I think the same could be said about every other Oilers top 4 D.

Munny

McDavid’s GF/60 was higher with Bear than without too.

Well, if it wasn’t it would pretty much have to mean Larsson and Benning are better offensive Dmen than Bear.

I think to make your argument, you would have to show the next-most-used D pair achieving similar results. And of course Klef and Larsson are materially better w.r.t. GA, yet essentially playing with the same forwards. Noise, or not?

If not then there is something up with regards to the Nurse-Bear pairing, and it likely was the rookie. No shame in it. He had a fine season.

jp

McDavid and Draisaitl’s GF, GA, GF% with the Oilers top 4D.

McDavid with:
Nurse — 3.70GF 3.50GA 51.4GF%
Bear —- 3.79GF 3.49GA 52.1GF%
Klefbom 3.79GF 3.06GA 54.6GF%
Larsson 3.17GF 3.17GA 50.0GF%

Draisaitl with:
Nurse — 3.80GF 3.45GA 52.4GF%
Bear —- 4.00GF 3.76GA 51.6GF%
Klefbom 2.42GF 3.79GA 39.0GF%
Larsson 2.37GF 3.56GA 40.0GF%

What do you make of that? I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t see anything to suggest something was up with Nurse-Bear. Much less to suggest Bear should feel shame.

It all looks like it’s in the noise to me. And if we were to pick something out of the noise Bear’s GA/60 wouldn’t be the first thing I’d pick.

I’ve really just been pushing back on the idea that Bear should be singled out as a problem. I don’t believe there’s any strong evidence that he was a problem.

Munny

I’m not going to apply WOWYs to GA numbers. It makes no sense to shrink an already small sample.

I have Bear’s GA/60 at 3.24, Larsson at 2.62 and Klefbom at 2.77, all numbers courtesy of PuckIQ.

You can’t make the case these are similar numbers. There’s something going on and likely that something was one of these players is a rookie.

Last edited 19 days ago by Munny
jp

What were you asking for then with “I think to make your argument, you would have to show the next-most-used D pair achieving similar results.”
?

And yes, we can’t argue the GA rates for Bear are higher than for Klefbom/Larsson. They are.

But I feel like this conversation is getting dangerously close to RTB territory.

Are we going to put the GA number on Bear (and yes, it could be because he was a rookie) while not giving him any credit for the GF number (also because he’s a rookie?)?

Bear’s GF% (as a rookie) was substantially better than Klefbom or Larsson’s (and marginally better than Nurse’s). Every underlying % metric (at NST) also favours Bear over the other top 4 D. For me those are the more important numbers, and they don’t suggest Bear was a problem (even if he might benefit from easier/less minutes).

George even told us that GF and GA rates for defenseman aren’t reproducible year over year, then proceeded to pick out the GA rate (unfavourable for Bear) from almost every other metric that shows Bear in a positive light.

It’s possible there’s something going on. IMO that something is as likely to be positive as negative. And far more likely (IMO) there isn’t actually anything going on beyond noise. But who knows.

Ryan

JP. I don’t have time right now to post the actual data.

I had taken a quick look.

Bear got torched for Ga/60 at the beginning of the season when Larsson was out.

It was Bear / sheltered Persson / and Benning as RHD.

Carrying the right side alone was too much at the beginning of the season.

For the back half of the season, and probably once Larsson returned, his GA/60 was well under 3.

jp

Thanks Ryan, that’s helpful information.

Turns out in the last 30 games (post McDavid/Draisaitl split; a new era in Oilers hockey, hopefully):
Klefbom 2.76 GA/60 55.6%GF 48.8%SF
Larsson 2.59 GA/60 52.1%GF 47.9%SF
Nurse — 2.55 GA/60 49.0%GF 48.4%SF
Bear —- 2.48 GA/60 52.9%GF 49.1%SF
Jones — 2.30 GA/60 61.8%GF 50.0%SF (included because he played the 5th most, including some top 4 minutes)

Bear was still playing 19+ minutes 5v5 and was up over 23 minutes overall (he played more despite the better D depth around him, vs the first part of the season).

I guess we can see this as a positive sign that some development may have happened through the season.

Munny

To clarify, JP, I personally don’t look at Bear in anything other than a positive light. I think Georges likes the player too.

But I think his defensive numbers indicate he was a rookie playing in his first season. Hockeydb confirms the same. Hopefully the number improves. In fact, hopefully everyone’s GA/60 number improves.

What were you asking for then with “I think to make your argument, you would have to show the next-most-used D pair achieving similar results.”

I was pointing out that the data did not back your argument. D2 has clearly better results, not similar ones.

Last edited 19 days ago by Munny
jp

D2 clearly has better GA results. They do not have better goal differential results (well the do actually with McDavid, but it’s skewed very heavily to Bear for Draisaitl).

And overall Bear had better goal differential results.

I’m still having a tough time taking a very successful season (the best by any of the Oilers top 4 D by goal differential and other underlying metrics) and then pulling out the GA/60 rate and attributing it to being a rookie.

Georgexs

Bear’s GA60 away from CMD and Leon was 3.17. You take those two players away, his GA doesn’t budge. The WOWY is interesting.

Why put it on Bear and not Nurse? Because it’s Bear’s second year. You don’t expect second year D to have it all figured out, do you? Unless you think Bear is a savant. Nurse, with many more years under his belt, still has a lot to learn. Still, it’s one thing to ask Nurse to play big minutes, another thing altogether to ask the same of Bear. It’s very atypical.

I’m not going to try to keep arguing that Bear doesn’t positively impact offense. We can all see the kid has good hands and is capable of making plays with the puck. I’m happy to walk that back.

I respect you think he did well.

I think Tippett should play Bear less.

Last edited 20 days ago by Georgexs
jp

The WOWYs are interesting, it’s true. Bear did the worst in GA/60 and GF% but none of Nurse/Bear/Klefbom/Larsson were better than 43%GF without McDavid/Draisaitl.

And Bear had the worst SA/60 but also the best SF/60 (tied with Nurse) and a better SF% than Klefbom or Larsson. And the worst PDO.

I don’t disagree that Bear is likely to have better results if his minutes/role are reduced. I expect that’s highly to happen likely given that Holland replaced Klefbom with a 22 minute a night RD.

I still don’t see though how anyone would pick Bear out of a lineup based on his results, aside from ‘age’.

Georgexs

That’s a big reason to pick him out. And experience. Very few defensemen got called on to play Bear level minutes in their second season. Bear fared the worst on GA, whether you factor in CMD or not. It was relatively easy for the other team to score when Bear was on the ice.

jp

If GA/60, age and experience are your metrics of choice then I can’t argue.

I see a player who was 1st among the top 4 Oilers D in CF%, FF%, SF%, GF%, xGF%, SCF% and HDCF%.

I note that said player was also the youngest and least experienced of the Oilers top 4 D and am impressed.

If you want to see an issue there then be my guest.

Last edited 20 days ago by jp
Georgexs

No issue. Lot to like about Bear.

I think the on-ice results strongly suggest play him fewer minutes.

You may not.

Cool.

jp

Yeah i guess I don’t. Picking out one aspect of an overall very successful season and saying rookie, too many minutes, something needs to be changed.

I don’t see the clear correlation between those things, while agreeing fewer minutes would surely also be good.

Georgexs

Also, take a look at the GA when our defensemen played without both Drai and CMD. Only Nurse and Bear stay high. Then check Nurse without those two from last year. The new variable for Nurse this year is Bear.

jp

Klefbom and Larsson got killed in GF% and PDO last season.

Nurse last year had a much worse SF% but a better GF% than Klefbom/Larsson.

As I said to Munny, I think all of this is in the noise. My only issue is singling Bear out as a/the problem.

Georgexs

Overall, the Oilers defensive play hasn’t been very good. I think we’ve better than league average once in the last 10 years. Singling out Bear last season is unfair, I agree. There’s a lot to question about our overall defensive play. There’s a lot to like about the player.

Over those 10 years, the Oilers have had a tendency to play promising young defensemen in high minutes roles early in their careers. Schultz, Klefbom, Nurse. Schultz was traded to a team that found a more suitable role for him. Klef and Nurse saw their TOI/GP dialed back. I think Bear would benefit from the same approach.

I’m still not sure where to rank Klef and Nurse in terms of top-4 NHL defensemen. I know we use them as top-2 types. Just don’t know if they are top-2 types.

I’m also not sure our defensive play this year is going to get better. We have the same goalie tandem and we added a defensemen that doesn’t seem to be his HC’s choice for playing defense against the opposing team’s top offensive threats.

If the answer is to lean heavily on a Nurse-Bear combination again… I guess we’ll see. Maybe icing a competitive 3rd line (possibly 4th line) will improve everything.

jp

I agree with most of that for sure.

The Oilers have leaned too heavily on young D in the past. I’ll say that in terms of GF% (GF% rel also I think) Bear’s season this year was among the most successful of the examples you give.

At the same time I do agree a slightly lesser role would be a good thing for Bear (potentially you could say that about the rest of the Oilers top 4 as well). And I do think having 3 top 4 RHD on the roster is all but guaranteed to reduce Bear’s minutes and what he’s expected to do.

Whether that’s necessary, well we’ll probably never get a clear answer. I expect the team 5v5 goal differential to improve, if not the GA part of the ledger (with the new 3rd line and McDavid/Draisaitl winning 15+ 5v5 minutes a night).

Ryan

Georgexs

Reply to Ryan

November 7, 2020 5:17 pm

1. “Acquiesced” doesn’t quite capture it. The year-over-year correlations of GF60, GA60, GF%, sh% and sv% for defensemen are usually close to 0, occasionally registering in the 0.2 to 0.3 range. How defensemen do in one year on these stats tells us very little about how they’ll do in the next.

But I believe the reason for this is part randomness and part adjustments made by teams between seasons. Teams that had bad results in particular facets of the game (special teams, 3rd line, goaltending, too many goals allowed, too few goals scored) are going to take steps to address those issues in the off season. And the front office, coaching staff, and players will put particular emphasis on improving in these particular areas. There’s a special effort taken by teams to decorrelate results.

I think this effort along with randomness explain the low correlation in counting stats for defensemen who, by the nature of their position, are already difficult to assess using counting stats because they rarely produce strong effects.

Bear’s single season on-ice GA60 result isn’t statistically significant (not enough data for that) but it’s on the way there. The Oilers need to take steps to prevent it from getting there by deploying him differently than they did in the past season.

2. You missed something.

Goalie, 5v5 sv% w/Bear, 5v5 sv% wo/Bear, Overall

Smith, .896, .902, .900

Koskinen, .908, .934, .924

Koskinen seemed to do a fair bit worse with Bear.

In the playoffs, Koskinen had a sv% of .864. With Bear, it was .778. There was no CMD effect either because Koskinen had a .920 sv% with CMD on the ice. Instead, the poor results seemed to come with Drai (.737) and KY (.783). No RNH, no winning for those two.

I find your “dissonance” here somewhat surprising and challenging for me to reconcile.

You’re a math guy and at the same time you’re parsing on ice save percentage for Oilers goalies with and without Ethan Bear on the ice… and sort of drawing conclusions.

With that, you are tacitly taking the stance that not only do defensemen own their on ice SV%, but that they have a measurable effect on a goalie’s on ice SV%. In this process, you’re also ignoring confounding variables and sample size issues…

For the playoffs, I would suggest that the sample size is too small that it doesn’t even bear looking at.

I’m sure you’ve read this already.

I think you’re on shaky ground with this type of analysis.

I would suggest that you look at the overall context.

Ethan Bear was a 22-year-old rookie defensemen in the NHL last season.

The Oilers were a team structurally weak on the RHS d side with Larsson missing 22 of the 71 games.

Tippett did not trust Matt Benning.

Larsson, while very good at defending is a limited player in terms of creating offense.

I too like TOI for defensemen.

With Tippett, their were certain games in which a limited group of players saw massive spikes in TOI that isn’t entirely captured by average TOI.

Bear was in that group of players. Spikes in TOI while chasing a lead could also be one factor leading to more goals against.

Last edited 20 days ago by Ryan
Georgexs

Ooof.

You said:

Bear had an on ice SV% of .896 with Smith and .908 with Koskinen. League median was .918

Either Bear was playing goal or he was playing defense, you can’t have it both ways with that.

You bring up the sv% of Smith and Koskinen and cite the below league median results with Bear on the ice, suggesting, I suppose, that Bear was dealt a losing hand. I try and show that both of those goalies had weaker sv% with Bear on the ice, with Koskinen’s results being well above league median away from Bear. You dig up the defensemen don’t own their sv% chestnut.

Groovy.

You also say “a goalie’s on-ice sv%”… Do you believe goalies own their sv%?

Harpers Hair

Russia goes undefeated to win the Karbala Cup in Finland.
it was a controversial tournament because the Russians sent their U20 (WJHC) team to play in a men’s tournament and the Finns in particular weren’t amused.
The Russian kids were captained by Vasily Podkhlozin who tallied 5 points in 4 games.