I mentioned in the Tampa Bay preview that one of the reasons that I’m looking forward to this homestand is because Paul Maurice will be able to match lines easier and be able to use his players more effectively. Carolina has played eight of their first 11 games on the road so Maurice hasn’t gotten the luxury of having the last change for most of this season and it’s had a slight effect on some players zone starts. I wanted to see just how much Maurice is using the last change to his advantage this season and how it compares to how players were used on the road. To do this, I took each player’s offensive zone start rate from Carolina’s home and away games and did some simple math to figure out the difference. The trade-off some players had were pretty ridiculous.
More after the jump
If you’re having some difficulty reading that, here’s the raw data:
Timmy Brent and Anthony Stewart are being heavily sheltered at home but are getting shelled with defensive zone starts on the road. Brent, in particular, has started only seven shifts in the offensive zone on the road. Also take note of how McBain and Pitkanen have been getting more favorable zone starts at home compared to away game. This could explain why it looks like they’ve been put up against tougher competition. Tlusty is another player who will be enjoying these next three home games because it means a lot more favorable starts for him.
Then you have players like Allen, Gleason, Dwyer, Sutter and Ponikarovsky who have been getting seeing tons of defensive zone starts no matter what. It’s not surprise that those three compose the team’s shutdown pair and main defensive line. Skinner and LaRose are an interesting case as they’ve had tougher zone starts at home than on the road. I don’t know what’s going on there but it illustrates my belief that Skinner is being used in the exact opposite way that I expected him to this season.
I will be interested to see how these numbers look after another month when the Canes have more than four home games under their belt and I’ll be paying extra attention to this during tonight’s game.