In Praise of the Defense

Image courtesy of Amy Irvin - 38Photography

Image courtesy of Amy Irvin – 38Photography

Earlier this week, Bob Roberts pointed out Luke Schenn’s skills. Roberts wrote a terrific piece full of data collected from a variety of sites and broke down the upside of Schenn using advanced statistics in an easily readable fashion. This is not that sort of article.

In this piece, I would simply like to point out the value the defense has provided to the offense using pretty simple numbers.

Let’s start with the obvious: Mark Streit has been good. Through 13 games, Streit has two goals and eight assists for 10 total points. That is good enough to rank him third on the team in points (behind only Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux), eighth on the team in assists and second in goals. Among all defensemen in the NHL, Streit ranks fifth in points and sixth in assists. Streit is also tied for first on the team in power play points (5) and fifth in the league.

Michael Del Zotto started the season strong and only continues to get better. He was named the second star in Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers and was named CSN’s Player of the Game after playing yet another strong game and notching his first goal as a Flyer and continuing to earn more time on ice. As Roberts humorously put it:

Through the first 13 games of the season, Del Zotto has one goal, six assists and seven points. That puts him sixth on the team in points, fifth in assists and second in game winning goals. He is tied for 19th in assists among defensemen in the league and is in terrific company (Erik Karlsson, P.K. Subban, Mike Green, Niklas Kronwall, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan Ellis, Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian and Alexei Emelin).

Nick Schultz is also making a strong case for himself, notching three assists in 12 games, which is good for 12th on the team in points and 9th in assists. Albeit a poor indicator, he is also a plus six, putting him second on the team and 14th in the league.

Carlo Colaiacovo has one point in two games but is quickly forming a solid pairing with Luke Schenn.

Since the team lost Andrew MacDonald to injury, the rest of the defensemen have really stepped up their game and the team has played better as a whole. Interpret that however you would like.

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