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Pre-Season Production: Daring Defensemen

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Our final foray into the advanced metrics during the Pittsburgh Penguins 2014-15 pre-season takes a look at the blue liners.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Training Camp is nearly over, the Pittsburgh Penguins have a scheduled day off today and then must submit their final rosters by 5pm tomorrow evening. A lot still hinges on whether or not Maatta and Malkin will be ready to play at the start of the regular season, but the final decisions are looming. In addition, the Wheeling Nailers begin their Training Camp on Tuesday, so they are awaiting the trickle down as Pittsburgh cuts their final players, which in turn results in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins making their roster cuts in anticipation of the start of the AHL season this weekend.

Last week we took a look at the team totals during the pre-season, and then that of the forward options. So today we will finish it up by taking a look at the defensemen.

Player Usage

Before we get bogged down in production we should take a look at how they were used during their games. There were 12 different D that played at some point during the pre-season, so let's start by looking at their 5-on-5 TOI per game.

The highest 5-on-5 TOI was skewed due to playing a single game, as Ruopp 18.0 led the way. However, after that we see a solid assortment of Top 4 options: Ehrhoff 16.9, Letang 16.5, Dumoulin 15.8, Scuderi 15.5, and Martin 15.1. The rest were further down in the 3rd pairing minutes or lower: Harrington 14.6, Bortuzzo 14.5, Despres 13.9, Samuelsson 13.6, Chorney 13.3, and single use McNeill 12.2.

The other thing we can examine is Zone Starts, so we have a bubble chart featuring O-Zone percent on the X-axis, D-Zone percent on the Y-axis, and ZS% for the bubble size, all represented as relative values. White bubbles represent negative values, and players whose names are in red have already been cut. I created the chart prior to Dumoulin being cut, so his name would be in red now.

I centered the chart to focus on those player who are still on the roster, but added arrows pointing out the general direction where the cut players would appear had that not been so far off the chart. Players in the bottom right quadrant are the most sheltered, as they saw both more O-zone time and less D-zone time than their teamates. Players in the top left quadrant were used as stay at home shutdown options, seeing more D-zone time and less O-zone time than their teammates. Players in the top right quadrant are two-way players that see significant time in both zones. Then lastly players in the bottom left quadrant are somewhat sheltered, they tend to either get less O-zone time because they are less effective scorers, or less D-zone time because they are less effective defenders.

Goal Scoring

There was not enough 5-on-5 scoring to really read too much into, so we have very few D that were involved in point production.

At 5-on-5 we had just Ehrhoff, Scuderi, Despres, and Chorney with 1 Assist each.

On-ice Goals For then we have Despres leading the way with 2 GF, followed by Ehrhoff, Scuderi, Chorney, Martin, Harrington, Bortuzzo, Samuelsson, and McNeill with 1 each.

On-ice Goals Against the ones that allowed the most were Dumoulin, Harrington, and Chorney with 2 GA, then Martin and Ruopp allowed 1 each.

Fenwick

First we have a bubble chart with Fenwick For per 20 on the X-axis, Fenwick Against per 20 on the Y-axis, and bubbles based on FF%, once again all represented by relative values.

Just like we had above with Zone Starts, white bubble represent negative values and red names are players that have already been cut. The chart is centered on those that are still on the roster, with arrows pointing out where cut players would be somewhere off the chart. Players in the bottom right quadrant were the most effective, shooting more often and allowing the opponent less chances. Players in the top left quadrant were the least effective, not only did they not generate much of their own but they also got peppered by shots from the opponent. The bottom left quadrant was more effective defensively but lacked any offensive impact.

Next we have a chart examining individual player contributions to their team's possession numbers. The X-axis is unblocked shot attempts per 20, the Y-axis is the percentage of the on-ice Fenwick events that came from the player's own stick, and the size of the bubbles are the on-ice FF20 relative to league median.

The axes cross at the league wide median for all skaters, with an additional set of blue axes representing the median for forwards and a set of red axes representing the median for defensemen. Players further up and higher right are more likely to be driving possession while they are on the ice, whereas those towards the lower left are more likely to be passengers that rely on their linemates production.

Corsi

The bubble charts here are the same setup as we had for Fenwick, with CF20 on the X-axis, CA20 on the Y-axis, and CF% for the bubble size, all using relative values.

Once again we see the same thing, white bubble represent negative values and red names are players that have already been cut. The chart is centered on those that are still on the roster, with arrows pointing out where cut players would be somewhere off the chart. Players in the bottom right quadrant were the most effective, shooting more often and allowing the opponent less chances. Players in the top left quadrant were the least effective, not only did they not generate much of their own but they also got peppered by shots from the opponent. Then the top right quadrant was more effective offensively whereas the bottom left quadrant was more effective defensively.

Then we do the same thing to look at individual player contributions to their team's possession numbers. The X-axis is shot attempts per 20, the Y-axis is the percentage of the on-ice Corsi events that came from the player's own stick, and the size of the bubbles are the on-ice CF20 relative to league median.

The axes cross at the league wide median for all skaters, with an additional set of blue axes representing the median for forwards and a set of red axes representing the median for defensemen. Players further up and higher right are more likely to be driving possession while they are on the ice, whereas those towards the lower left are more likely to be passengers that rely on their linemates production.