Flyers Zone Entry Data: Games 1-20

Last week we took a look at the Flyers zone exit data from the first twenty games of the season. This week we’ll take a look at their zone entry numbers.

THE DEFENSE

First we’ll take a look how the defense did at defending the blue line.

D - targeted defense

D - defending entries

The first table is sorted by opponent carry percentage. This shows how often opposing players are carrying the puck in against each defenseman. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises here. Schenn and Grossmann lack foot speed, which makes them an easy target for opponents looking to gain the zone with possession. Nick Schultz’s numbers are likely a product of playing with Coburn. Coburn is very good at challenging opponents who try to carry the puck into the zone but we’ll take a look at that later. Now that Andrew MacDonald is healthy we are certain to see his opponent carry percentage skyrocket. You can expect him to end near the top of the list at the some point in the season. He is just really horrible at defending the blue line.

The second table is sorted by the percentage of failed entries by opponents. Braydon Coburn’s numbers may be a little skewed considering he has only played eight games. Coburn was very good at breaking up entries last year. Even though we’re working with a small sample size, his success shouldn’t be disregarded. Some people out there might be thinking that MacDonald’s numbers may also be skewed due to a relatively small sample size. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. MacDonald constantly concedes the blue line far too easily. It’s no surprise to see him ranked so low on this list. Oh hey, look at that, Michael Del Zotto is second among regular defensemen at breaking up entries. We’ll just add this to the list of reasons why Michael Del Zotto should not be a healthy scratch. Next we’ll take a look at how the defense did entering the zone.

D - controlled entry

The above table is sorted by controlled entry percentage. As the season progresses, Coburn’s numbers will more than likely drop off a bit. We may see him hover around the top three spots since the team lacks puck movers on the back end, but I don’t expect him to continue to lead the team in controlled entries. Again, there aren’t many surprises here. Mark Streit and Michael Del Zotto are rounding out the top three in controlled entry percentage, as expected. It is a bit concerning that Streit’s controlled entries aren’t producing a lot of shots. Hopefully we’ll see a bump in his shots per carry in as the season progresses. Finally, please start putting Michael Del Zotto in the lineup Berube. How many more times do I have to ask dude? Entering the zone with possession was one of the few areas MacDonald actually succeed last year. If he continues to stay healthy, his numbers should improve as the season goes on.

THE FORWARDS

F - defending entries

The table above is sorted by the percentage of failed entries by opponents. Obviously the defense is going to see the most work against opponents entering the zone. For the most part when forwards are defending entries they are covering for the defense after a bad pinch, joining the rush, etc. So far, Couturier and Voracek have had to defend the most entries of the forward group. Just a little more evidence that Voracek isn’t a one-Czech pony, right Randy. There’s not a whole lot to analyze here so we’ll move on and see how successful the forwards were at entering the zone.

F - controlled entry

F - failed entries

The first table is sorted by controlled entry percentage. Jake Voracek continues to hold the top spot, as he did last year. Voracek is just ridiculously good at carrying the puck into the zone and it’s an aspect of his game that should be appreciate more. The biggest surprise so far goes to Mr. Sean Couturier. Couturier often elected to dump the puck into the zone in the past. I’m not sure if he did it because of a lack of confidence, or a coaching decision. Whatever the reason, his past controlled entry numbers were underwhelming. Last year Matt Read was really the driving force behind that line in terms of controlled entries. It’s great to see Couturier taking a step forward and carrying the puck more. Matt Read’s entry numbers have been fairly disappointing in the first quarter of the season. Since it came out that Read had been playing through an injury, I wouldn’t be alarmed by his numbers. He was great at entering the zone with possession last year and now that he’s healthy we can probably expect him to carry the puck more. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see Scott Laughton’s numbers at the midpoint of the season. He has been a carry in machine as the season has progressed.

The second table is sorted by failed entry percentage. Hmmm good job, good effort Blair Jones. Have we talked about how amazing Jake Voracek is? I don’t think we talk enough about how awesome he is. It was disappointing for me seeing Bellemare at the top of the failed entry list. He is a guy who is always looking to carry the puck and maintain possession, which is something I always appreciate. Brayden Schenn being so high on the list is a bit of a problem. Failed entries are categorized as either offsides, broken up, or turnovers. The biggest problem with his failed entries are that a majority of them are turnovers. I think we can all agree that the last thing the Flyers need to be doing is defending against odd man rushes, or being forced to defend at all.

Next week we’ll take a look at the transition game and see which players’ exits helped produce entries.

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