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How PDB uses his Players/Dmen Zone Exit Analysis

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Old
03-04-2013, 10:27 AM
  #1
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How PDB uses his Players/Dmen Zone Exit Analysis

Great article from puck prospectus. http://puckprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1467

The idea of tracking zone exits is to measure how good a defenseman is at, well, moving the puck and creating effective transitions. There is often a misnomer that because a defenseman is pegged as a "shutdown" guy, he is automatically superior defensively than a puck-mover who might have less physicality and know how in his own end.

However, take an interesting quote by Dave Tippet:
"I'll give you an example. We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shutdown defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can't move the puck. Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn't defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he's making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he's only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman."

The writer of the PP article has done his own analysis of some 200 games, counting defensize zone exits and their success rate. Here are the worst defensemen in the analysis:

Worst zone breakout defensemen
Code:
Player	Touches	Success%
Hal Gill	136	8.8%
Kent Huskins	114	10.5%
Anton Volchkenov	142	10.6%
Jeff Schultz	135	13.3%
Randy Jones	117	13.7%
Andrew Alberts	107	14.0%
Mike Komisarek	156	14.1%
Pavel Kubina	220	14.1%
Mark Stuart	112	14.3%
Nick Schultz	124	14.5%
Bryce Salvador	157	14.6%
Scott Hannan	149	14.8%
Nicklas Grossman	121	14.9%
Rob Scuderi	190	15.3%
Andreas Lilja	156	15.4%
Mark Giordano	206	15.5%
Cam Barker	128	15.6%
Ed Jovanovski	154	15.6%
Ladislav Smid	140	15.7%
Dan Girardi	165	15.80%
Volchenkov is one of the worst defenseman in the NHL at clearing the puck out of the zone. He might be good defending his own end, but it really doesn't matter if he can't clear the puck out and is stuck in his own end all the time.

Similar case for Salvador.

Now, the best defensemen at breaking out of the zone:

Best zone breakout defensemen
Code:
Player	Touches	Success%
Erik Karlsson	258	38.0%
Keith Yandle	225	35.1%
Grant Clitsome	162	32.1%
Brian Campbell	287	31.7%
Dion Phaneuf	200	31.5%
Nick Lidstrom	211	30.8%
Brent Burns	194	30.4%
Ryan Suter	205	30.2%
Sergei Gonchar	182	30.2%
Tyler Myers	156	30.1%
Mark Fayne	147	29.9%
Joni Pitkanen	211	29.9%
Alec Martinez	124	29.8%
Jake Gardiner	196	29.6%
Toni Lydman	149	29.5%
Andrej Sekera	163	29.4%
Christian Ehrhoff	150	29.3%
Brent Seabrook	265	28.7%
PK Subban	221	28.5%
Steve Montador	229	28.4%
The list makes a good degree of sense. Nice to see Fayne so how high, which lends credence to what a lot of us think of his play.

The Devils should get real and realize that it is not necessary to ice both Volchenkov and Salvador. Put Anton in the press box and give Harrold more ice time.


Last edited by Semak: 03-06-2013 at 01:45 AM.
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03-04-2013, 10:33 AM
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Shows how underrated and important Fayne truly is to our defensive corps.

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03-04-2013, 10:34 AM
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Yeah, but what about their Corsi?

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03-04-2013, 10:35 AM
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Breaking news. Shutdown defensemen suck at clearing the zone.

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03-04-2013, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oroku Saki View Post
Breaking news. Shutdown defensemen suck at clearing the zone.
That's such BS, it's not even funny.

Mediocre blueliners can't clear the zone cause they can't play the puck. You need to be able to control the most important object in the game to be considered a top #4 d-men.

I have absolutely no problem with Volchenkov, outside of his salary and the minutes he used to get. He's now getting limited minutes, when he's not healthy scratched, and that's exactly what he should get. Limit the turnovers to a minimum and our forwards won't be chasing pucks left and right for nothing.

That 10% rating is beyond horrible



Quote:
However, take an interesting quote by Dave Tippet:
"I'll give you an example. We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shutdown defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can't move the puck. Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn't defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he's making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he's only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman."
THIS QUOTE IS GOLDEN

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03-04-2013, 10:57 AM
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Interesting quote, wonder who he was talking about?

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03-04-2013, 10:58 AM
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Interesting stats. Not surprising at all to me. Volchenkov and Salvador are difficult to watch in our zone. Im glad to see there's a stat to reflect Fayne's greatness haha. Good find.

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03-04-2013, 11:00 AM
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So a Volchenkov-Fayne pairing is in order?

Interesting read, FMASC.

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03-04-2013, 11:00 AM
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This also shows why Volch and Sal both on the PK at the same time is folly.

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03-04-2013, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oroku Saki View Post
Breaking news. Shutdown defensemen suck at clearing the zone.
Do you really need stats to prove this, it's painfully obvious.

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03-04-2013, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDevs26 View Post
This also shows why Volch and Sal both on the PK at the same time is folly.
Actually, this is probably the one time it DOES work because you don't need a breakout. You clear the zone, the opposing forwards regroup, you get a change. You don't need to make a pass or worry about icing or offsides or anthing, you just shoot down the ice. Problem is that they try to do the same thing at even strength.

Also I'm really surprised about Fayne. I remember reading the article he posted about zone exits during last year's Finals, and Fayne was the worst on the team.

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03-04-2013, 11:15 AM
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Fayne did have the wrist issue in the Finals too.

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03-04-2013, 11:19 AM
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"clearing the zone" as an attribute to an individual player is a bit ridiculous in my opinion.

Clearing the zone is very often the by product of the winger on the half-wall along with the defenseman and sometimes even the winger and center in conjunction....regardless of whether or not they touch the puck.

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03-04-2013, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KovyLove View Post
"clearing the zone" as an attribute to an individual player is a bit ridiculous in my opinion.

Clearing the zone is very often the by product of the winger on the half-wall along with the defenseman and sometimes even the winger and center in conjunction....regardless of whether or not they touch the puck.
It doesn't really matter. Over a large enough sample, defenders will get chances with good teammates, bad teammates, good opponents, bad opponents, etc. It washes out.

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03-04-2013, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KovyLove View Post
"clearing the zone" as an attribute to an individual player is a bit ridiculous in my opinion.

Clearing the zone is very often the by product of the winger on the half-wall along with the defenseman and sometimes even the winger and center in conjunction....regardless of whether or not they touch the puck.
The author of the article was tracking things like how often those passes to the half-wall winger were successful, so while a "breakout" success is definitely a sort of team metric, you can still see which individual players are contributing most to that success.

Also, it's worth noting that there are some players on the "bad" list that are still considered very valuable players. Mark Stuart, Rob Scuderi, and Dan Girardi jump out in particular to me.

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03-04-2013, 11:29 AM
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so find clitsome and trade for pitkänen and put him on albuterol. boom. done.

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03-04-2013, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJDevs26 View Post
Interesting quote, wonder who he was talking about?
Could be Derian Hatcher. Was with Tippet on the Stars in 2003, however Hatcher signed with the Wings as a FA.

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03-04-2013, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggers View Post
The author of the article was tracking things like how often those passes to the half-wall winger were successful, so while a "breakout" success is definitely a sort of team metric, you can still see which individual players are contributing most to that success.

Also, it's worth noting that there are some players on the "bad" list that are still considered very valuable players. Mark Stuart, Rob Scuderi, and Dan Girardi jump out in particular to me.
Mark Stuart sucks.

Scuderi isn't bad but I feel like he heavily leaned on Doughty last season.

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03-04-2013, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Feed Me A Stray Cat View Post
It doesn't really matter. Over a large enough sample, defenders will get chances with good teammates, bad teammates, good opponents, bad opponents, etc. It washes out.
Variance is not the issue nor is strength of teammates...The issue is defense simply is not individual.

Quote:
The process for tracking zone exits is fairly simple. I count every time a certain player touches the puck in the defensive zone while he is attempting to advance the puck forward, and note the number of times he was successfully able to do so.
This methodology is overly simplistic and rather dumb...just my opinion.

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03-04-2013, 11:35 AM
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At the very least, Mark Stuart would be better on this team than Volchenkov, and not because his breakouts are 3.7% more successful.

EDIT: Oh, oops, definitely just confused Mark Stuart and Brad Stuart.

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03-04-2013, 11:49 AM
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For reference, the average success rate I had for defensemen in this study so far is 22.5%
Also built-in bias for anyone who is on the PP unit as they get free exits out of the zone vs. people on the PK who are at a disadvantage. He should have tracked only even strength touches to get an accurate data set.

And this is only a 200 game sample so not all defense are ranked (less than 100 touches) or even being tracked. He started with the Cup Finals so do not read into the mere fact 2 Devils are listed while worse players are omitted.

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03-04-2013, 11:54 AM
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You're also actually penalizing players that dig the puck out of corners...Which are dangerous areas of the ice...So a stay at home guy who actually gains possession which should be a mark in the win column, and ends up sending the puck into a non-dangerous area of the ice, which should also go in the win column....Is being measured as a failure. It's stupid.

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03-04-2013, 12:12 PM
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There's also some confirmation bias in bringing this up to this board, and it's proving some posters' points to an extreme.

I'm not commenting on these players in particular, but I'm saying in general, you can find stats to prove what you want.

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03-04-2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richer's Ghost View Post
Also built-in bias for anyone who is on the PP unit as they get free exits out of the zone vs. people on the PK who are at a disadvantage. He should have tracked only even strength touches to get an accurate data set.

And this is only a 200 game sample so not all defense are ranked (less than 100 touches) or even being tracked. He started with the Cup Finals so do not read into the mere fact 2 Devils are listed while worse players are omitted.
I'm fairly sure this is an even strength only analysis.

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03-04-2013, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KovyLove View Post
You're also actually penalizing players that dig the puck out of corners...Which are dangerous areas of the ice...So a stay at home guy who actually gains possession which should be a mark in the win column, and ends up sending the puck into a non-dangerous area of the ice, which should also go in the win column....Is being measured as a failure. It's stupid.
Puck moving defensemen have to dig pucks out of the corners too. The difference is that they are able to effectively move it up the ice.

And when a shut down defenseman wins a puck battle in the corner, shoots it up the boards, and turns it back over to the other team, even if the puck is now in a less dangerous area of the ice, I don't like counting that as a "win". The same play will occur, with the opponent it dumping it back in, and eventually they will win that puck battle and get chances.

I'd rather have defensemen that can control the puck and advance the play into the opponent's offensize zone.

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