Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at the Flyers’ zone exit, entry, and transition data for the 2014-2015 season. For those that are interested, I plan on tracking this data again next year as well. There will probably be a few changes made to exit tracking so we can try to capture a better picture of what’s going on in the defensive zone. I’m open to any ideas and suggestions you might have. With all of that being said, let’s dig into the data.
The large disparity between years for Braydon Coburn, Andrew MacDonald, and Chris Vandevelde are a product of games played. MacDonald and Vandevelde only played a handful of games last year for the Flyers. Coburn has spent most of the season fighting injures and we only have 39 games worth of data to compare to his 82 game stint last year. The “under pressure” category was something new that I incorporated into this years data so unfortunately we can’t compare it to last years data.
There weren’t many changes from last time we checked in on the defense’s numbers at the 60 game mark. Most of the defense is maintaining relatively the same success, or failure, as they had before. Colaiacovo’s bump is most likely a product of becoming more of mainstay in the lineup after the trade deadline and injuries. I will say that I do like him as a player. I think he move the puck well, which is something the Flyers are lacking on the back end. He did struggle a bit down the stretch while on a pair with Brandon Manning. He was turning the puck over a lot more and I think he had trouble handling the task of being paired with a rookie defender.
Nick Schultz’s overall success took a fairly minor hit but I think it speaks to what the Flyers can expect moving forward next year. Schultz had the benefit of playing the most of the season alongside Mark Streit and Braydon Coburn. After injuries came about near the end of the season he found himself on a pairing with Del Zotto, which I wouldn’t exactly call a success. They didn’t look good together. Both players were caught out of position on numerous occasions and were stuck chasing the puck around in their own end. That’s not to say Mark Streit doesn’t have his moments of being caught out of position, they just seemed to happen much less frequently when they were a pair.
Again, not a lot of surprising disparities from last quarter. The one thing I was disappointed in here was Luke Schenn’s numbers regarding exiting the zone with possession under pressure. Overall, I think he does a really good job at making clean outlet passes. He can do it when facing pressure as well. It might be a case of bad luck or problems adapting to a new defense partner. That may very well be one cause of his failure in this area during the last quarter of the season. He did spend some time playing on a pairing with Grossmann. Grossmann does have a tendency to put his defensive partner in a tough position with either a bad pass or decision.
Jake Voracek continued to be wonderful. A lot of the same again here. White saw a fairly large increase in overall success at exiting the zone. However, he wasn’t able to continue his success exiting the zone with possession. He’s done a fairly decent job since recovering from injury and joining the Flyers. I’m not overly thrilled with the idea of possibly re-signing him. If they do re-sign him with the intention of using him as a Rinaldo replacement than I say go for it. I’m becoming more and more interested in the idea of playing Brayden Schenn on a line with Couturier and Read. He’s fairly good at exiting the zone and doing so with possession.
Next week we’ll take a look at the Flyers’ zone entry numbers.