Whenever I post the team’s scoring chance numbers at the end of the month, it is important to remember that those are raw numbers and every player is used in different situations. For that reason, I make sure to include their offensive zone start percentage to give some context for their situation. For instance, Brandon Sutter and Patrick Dwyer are constantly sent out in the defensive zone and their raw numbers are always around .450-.460 as a result. Those numbers look pretty brutal at first glance but it’s important to remember that they are playing with the least favorable conditions on the team so they are actually doing a lot better than their raw scoring chance number indicate.
Players like Sutter and Dwyer are the reason why we need to adjust scoring chance numbers for zone starts, because that will give us more context on the situations that these players are being used in. Thanks to George Ays of Blue Shirt Banter, we can do this. He came up with an equation which determined that an offensive zone start is worth approximately .425 in scoring chances and we can use that formula to see how Carolina’s players have been performing. It will be nice to know how guys like Sutter, Gleason & Allen are doing relative to their situations and we will look at those numbers after the jump
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- Chad LaRose does not deserve your criticism. He is doing a terrific job at creating scoring chances for the Canes despite starting in his own zone more than 50% of the time. Whenever he is on the ice, he is getting play moving in the right direction and is a valuable asset for a team to have. Whether or not he finishes those chances is another story, which is why he is more suited for the third line than anything else.
- As I expect, Sutter and Dwyer look a lot better when adjusting their numbers for zone starts. They aren’t blowing away their competition but they are staying above water and are doing better than some of their comparable players. This is why I think Sutter should be an untouchable piece for this organization. Just imagine how good he would be with some easier ice time and when he matures.
- It appears that Tuomo Ruutu isn’t performing as well as he should be when you factor in how many times he starts his shifts in the offensive zone. He has also been facing some of the weakest competition among Carolina forwards. He isn’t getting killed but he could be doing a lot better.
- I suppose you can say the same thing for Jeff Skinner & Jussi Jokinen even though both are positively rated. They are still winning the battle at even strength and are playing their roles well but I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that they could be doing better territorially. If you can believe it, Skinner’s actually outplaying his competition at a higher rate than he was last year. The concussion and some tough luck in February will probably mean that his counting stats will end up being lower than last year, though.
- Eric Staal is playing slightly tougher minutes than Ruutu, Skinner & Jokinen and is outplaying his competition at the same rate.
- I’m done trying to explain any of Anthony Stewart’s underlying numbers.
- Drayson Bowman has been very good but it’s worth mentioning that his numbers are a little skewed here because he’s played in fewer games than most of the forwards.
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- When only two of your team’s defenseman have a positive rating, that isn’t a good sign. Although, some of these players are getting softer minutes compared to Bryan Allen & Tim Gleason and players who aren’t blowing away their opponents and getting >50% of their starts in the offensive zone are rated unfavorably through this stat. Still, I don’t disagree with much of the results here.
- Allen has been phenomenal. Only Gleason is facing tougher competition and zone starts and he leads the team defense in adjusted scoring chances by a longshot. This is with him spending most of the year on the top pairing, too. It’s one of the reasons why I think Jim Rutherford should look into signing him for another year.
- As for Gleason, he has been good but not outstanding. Still, it’s good to know that he’s slightly outperforming his peers when zone starts are factored in because he has been a workhorse on defense.
- Here is one of the reasons why that I’m hesitant to give Justin Faulk the Calder. He is playing against the third toughest competition of the team but he is still getting outchanced even when we adjust for zone starts. Part of the reason for that is due to Kirk Muller utilizing in the offensive zone more times than not. Faulk’s a great player and miles ahead of where I expected him to be but his defensive game needs some work.
- Jay Harrison is about the same as Faulk since the two have been used on the same pairing for about two months. He’s having a great season offensively but he sure is giving a lot back in his own end.
- McBain also falls under the “good offensive player, but play in own end needs help” category, only not as extreme. If Muller continues to utlize him in an offensive role then I think we should see his numbers improve a little bit more.
- Spacek’s numbers look a little better here than I thought they would, given he is playing the easiest minutes among the defense corps but he appears to be doing his job as a third pairing defenseman just fine.