Over the past two weeks we took a look at zone exit and entry data. We’ve reached that wonderful time where we link it all together.
Data sorted by % Successful Entries from Exits
Once again, there are no changes in which defensemen have been the best at transitioning from defense to offense. What’s most alarming, is the noticeable drop-off between the top three most successful defensemen and the rest. With Braydon Coburn off soaking up the sun in Tampa, someone from this defensive corps is going to have to step up and help transition to create offense if this team is going to have success. Carlo Colaiacovo may be their best bet but there is no way he stays in the lineup once Michael Del Zotto gets back from injury and everyone is healthy.
I’d like to say that I’m not concerned about the decrease in the overall success at transitioning for Mark Streit and Del Zotto over these past few months. However, Streit’s percentage of exits carried has fallen nearly 4%; Coburn’s fell by roughly 5%. This seems to coincide with Berube’s comments about not wanting the defense to lead the rush. Del Zotto’s percentage of exits carried actually did see an increase but the last transition post included the stretch of December games where he spent most of the month in the press box. More data during this quarter most likely accounts for that positive effect on his numbers. It is hard to ignore the fact that it is becoming more noticeable that the defense is making every attempt not to carry the puck out of the zone, even if they have the chance. It’s really frustrating to watch, and track. I understand that the current defense corps is less than desirable and Berube is most likely trying to compensate for this. The problem is it’s starting to have an impact on your defensemen who can actually carry the puck out of trouble and help generate offense. I’m sure it’s been a hard adjustment for some of the defense to make. Ok, that statement might only really apply to Streit and Del Zotto.
Data sorted by % of successful entries from exits.
So far I have been pleasantly surprised by Ryan White. We’re only dealing with a fairly limited sample size here but his results have been promising. I’ve tracked some more data since this post and it seems like he will be able to maintain this success. He appears to be fairly capable in the defensive zone. At least he is trying to maintain control of the puck as he exits the zone and looks for a good option that will help lead to offense. Speaking of fourth line players, I’m was very happy to see the Flyers re-sign Bellemare to a two year extension. He’s been a valuable asset to the team this year and it’s been a pleasure to track him. He’s a guy who is always looking to maintain possession, whether in the defensive zone or offensive zone. It has a tendency to lead to trouble at times, but overall he has had a lot of success.
There have still been discussions about Couturier’s lack of finishing ability as he squandered another opportunity for a goal the other night. Just looking at some basic stats, he is fifth on the team in goals scored. The players ahead of him in that category are Simmonds, Voracek, Giroux, and Raffl. Three of those four players have had half of their goal production occur on the power play; most of whom play on the first unit of the power play. He’s still doing a lot of good things that will help the team in the long term. His continued success at exiting the zone and turning that into offense is so important to the process. If people are going to base his season on this current stretch of games, of course you are going to come away disappointed. However, he has made great strides in his development this year. There have been glimpses of the offensive abilities that he does have. Controlling play through the neutral zone and setting up chances are valuable assets. I know this recent stretch has been frustrating and you want him to finish those chances but there is still a lot to like about what he has managed to accomplish this year.
*Corsi percentages provided by war-on-ice*