Rangers Analysis: The Defensemen Rumors

Editors Note:  Kaberle came off the market today, to the Bruins for Joe Colborne, Boston's 1st rounder, and a conditional pick.  Use this thread to discuss that trade as well.

 

Rumors are abound stating GM Glen Sather is looking to upgrade the back end of the defense.  There have been many names linked to the New York Rangers, most recently Filip Kuba.  With so many players, I thought it would be good idea to line them up side by side and get a better feel for how they are performing this year.  Thanks to the venerable, terrifying Gabe Desjardins and his behindthenet.ca site, findind the data to do so is snap.

We'll start with their usage at 5v5.  For comparison, I've included the 3 Rangers defenseman who could be replaced.

NAME TEAM TOI% TOI Rank CORSI Rel QoC Qoc Rank CORSI Rel QoT QoT Rank Ozone% Ozone Rank
BRYAN MCCABE FLA 33.52% 5 of 7 -0.287 7 of 7 0.982 1 of 7 56.2% 1 of 6
JONI PITKANEN CAR 40.53% 1 of 6 0.383 3 of 6 2.136 1 of 6 53.5% 1 of 6
TOMAS KABERLE TOR 36.38% 3 of 5 0.311 3 of 5 1.560 2 of 5 54.9% 1 of 5
FILIP KUBA OTT 30.73% 5 of 6 0.335 3 of 6 1.091 2 of 6 56.2% 1 of 6
MATT CARKNER OTT 27.12% 6 of 6 -1.127 6 of 6 1.705 1 of 6 51.2% 5 of 6
SERGEI GONCHAR OTT 36.19% 2 of 6 0.294 4 of 6 -0.750 4 of 6 52.3% 3 of 6
ERIC BREWER STL 37.58% 1 of 6 0.734 3 of 6 -0.264 6 of 6 48.1% 5 of 6
FEDOR TYUTIN CBJ 34.24% 2 of 6 0.044 4 of 6 0.193 4 of 6 51.3% 4 of 6
STEVE EMINGER NYR 29.75% 5 of 6 -0.584 5 of 6 0.921 2 of 6 52.1% 3 of 6
MICHAEL DEL ZOTTO NYR 32.03% 3 of 6 0.146 3 of 6 -0.092 4 of 6 51.4% 4 of 6
MATT GILROY NYR 26.74% 6 of 6 -1.015 6 of 6 0.992 1 of 6 62.3% 1 of 6

*Ranks are based on players with minimum 30 games played.

A quick guide here, Corsi is the all shots directed at net for, minus all shots directed at net against.  Relative Corsi is your Corsi relative to your teammates.  If the team is +5 while you're on the ice, and -5 when you're not, your Relative Corsi would be +10.   Corsi Rel QoC/QoT is the quality of competition based on the relative Corsi rating for all of their opponents/teammates.  If you take a shift against a +5, +5, 1, -5, -5, your QoC (5+5+1-5-5), or 1/5 or 0.200.  Ozone% is the ratio of offensive zone starts to offensive + defensive zone starts.

Looking at the list, the first thing that stands out is that none of these players are being trusted with 1st pairing competition, but many are getting 1st pairing teammates.  Combined with the fact all but Eric Brewer are starting more in the offensive zone than not, we can see a grouping of players that are not considered by their coaching staffs to be reliable defensive defenseman, or at least considered less reliable than other players on their team.  This is no different than how our 3rd pairing is used, so from a usage stand point, no one would be seeing much of a role change if they were to get to the Rangers.

NAME PTS/60 PTS GFON PTS% 3 YR PTS% SPCT GFON/60 SFON/60 ADJ GF ADJ Pts Change
BRYANMCCABE 1.309 15 34 44.12% 30.34% 8.99 2.97 30 30 9 -6
JONIPITKANEN 0.893 14 42 33.33% 31.61% 8.4 2.68 29.2 40 13 -1
TOMASKABERLE 0.961 16 42 38.10% 32.32% 7.97 2.52 29.1 42 14 -2
FILIPKUBA 0.313 3 15 20.00% 31.08% 5.3 1.56 27.9 23 7 4
MATTCARKNER 0.414 4 18 22.22% 23.40% 6.5 1.87 26.8 22 5 1
SERGEIGONCHAR 0.244 4 34 11.76% 30.77% 7.04 2.07 27.4 39 12 8
ERICBREWER 0.874 14 42 33.33% 24.24% 8.92 2.62 26.8 38 9 -5
FEDORTYUTIN 0.685 10 34 29.41% 24.52% 7.91 2.33 27.1 34 8 -2
STEVEEMINGER 0.255 3 23 13.04% 30.21% 7.26 1.95 25 25 8 5
MICHAELDEL ZOTTO 0.379 4 29 13.79% 30.61% 8.66 2.75 29 27 8 4
MATTGILROY 1.021 9 23 39.13% 35.30% 7.99 2.61 30.1 23 8 -1

 

Some clarification again.  PTS% is simply the number of points divided by the number of goals scored while the player is on the ice.  3 yr is the totals for the player from 2007-2009.  SPCT is the shooting percentage while the team is on the ice.   SFON is saves, not shot for while on the ice.  To obtain SOG on, you must add the GF and SF numbers.  Adjusted GF is the number of goals scored if they got league average shooting (8.0%).  Adjusted points is if the player got their 3yr average percentage of points on the adjusted goals.  Change is the difference between points and adjusted points.

From an offensive standpoint, you see that the players on this are fairly similar in the amount of points they produce, roughly 30% of all goals that are on the ice.  This is a bit above the 3 year average of 28.8%, that Scott Reynolds at Copper and Blue compiled last year.  What you also see in Scott's data is wild fluctuations from year to year for certain players.  In this list, two players noticably stand out, McCabe and Sergei Gonchar.  Based on their last few years, McCabe should have 6 fewer points, Gonchar should have 8 more.  The other player being hurt by percentages is in fact Kuba, who has a terrible 5.3 team shooting% while he's on the ice.  Combined with a below average p%, he's a player that presents a potential buy low case, at least offensively. 

Moving to the defensive numbers:

 

NAME CORSI Rel QoC Qoc Rank GAON CORSI REL CORSI/60 SVPCT GAON/60 SAON/60 ADJ GA ADJ GAON Change
BRYANMCCABE -0.287 7 of 7 25 1.3 1.400 93.4% 2.18 30.7 30 2.630 -0.450
JONIPITKANEN 0.383 3 of 6 45 5.1 0.770 91.3% 2.87 30 41 2.630 0.240
TOMASKABERLE 0.311 3 of 5 39 6.1 2.280 92.4% 2.34 28.7 41 2.483 -0.143
FILIPKUBA 0.335 3 of 6 37 -3.3 0.000 86.4% 3.86 24.5 22 2.269 1.591
MATTCARKNER -1.127 6 of 6 21 5.6 5.280 91.6% 2.18 23.6 20 2.062 0.118
SERGEIGONCHAR 0.294 4 of 6 48 -3.3 -0.180 90.1% 2.93 26.6 39 2.362 0.568
ERICBREWER 0.734 3 of 6 42 -2.4 4.120 90.9% 2.62 26.2 37 2.306 0.314
FEDORTYUTIN 0.044 4 of 6 34 10.4 8.150 90.8% 2.33 23 30 2.026 0.304
STEVEEMINGER -0.584 5 of 6 29 -1.9 -4.160 91.3% 2.46 26 27 2.277 0.183
MICHAELDEL ZOTTO 0.146 3 of 6 35 5.0 0.000 89.0% 3.32 26.9 26 2.418 0.902
MATTGILROY -1.015 6 of 6 18 6.0 4.760 92.6% 2.04 25.6 19 2.211 -0.171

 

Fairly straight forward here.  SVPCT is the team save percentage when the player is on the ice.  Adj GA is if the player got league average (92%) goaltending.

Filip Kuba steps to the forefront again.  He's getting ECHL level goaltending this year, which explains a good chunk of his -25 while on the ice.  With league average goaltending, his GA would be one of the best of the group. Only one player is getting a notable boost from his goalies, and not surprisingly it's Bryan McCabe, with Tomas Vokoun behind him.  FLA is known to inflate shot counts for their goaltenders, so it is to be expected that McCabe might have a higher than normal sv%. The best player on his list might just be Fedor Tyutin, who leads all in Corsi and shots against, and adjusted GAON.

You also see that Michael Del Zotto, for all his shortcomings, has not been done any favors by our goaltending.  While some will blame MDZ for the bad save% because he allows 'higher quality' chances against, it should be noted that for the season, Girardi, not MDZ, has been on ice for the most scoring chances each month.  Yet Girardi is still getting 91.1% from Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron, so MDZ is certainly getting unlucky on top of everything else this year.

Finally, we'll look at what everyone really cares about, the power play:

NAME TEAM GP TOI/60 SPCT GFON/60 SFON/60 PTS/60 PTS PT% 3 YR% ADJ GFON ADJ PTS Change
BRYANMCCABE FLA 43 3.23 6.6 3.03 42.8 1.73 4 57.14% 55.56% 6.095 8 4
JONIPITKANEN CAR 50 3.8 14.58 6.63 38.8 2.53 8 38.10% 44.58% 6.042 8 0
TOMASKABERLE TOR 58 4.17 12.38 6.45 45.6 4.22 17 65.38% 59.62% 6.923 17 0
FILIPKUBA OTT 39 1.69 8 3.64 41.9 1.82 2 50.00% 47.78% 6.057 3 1
SERGEIGONCHAR OTT 57 3.96 12.02 5.85 42.8 3.99 15 68.18% 66.96% 6.470 16 1
ERICBREWER STL 54 0.61 5.56 1.83 31.2 0 0 0.00% 59.26% 4.393 1 1
FEDORTYUTIN CBJ 55 2.53 9.17 4.73 46.9 3.87 9 81.82% 51.39% 6.867 8 -1
STEVEEMINGER NYR 50 0.29 25 4.07 12.2 4.07 1 100.00% 51.85% 2.164 1 0
MICHAELDEL ZOTTO NYR 43 3.87 9.93 5.05 45.8 1.8 5 35.71% 58.82% 6.763 11 6
MATTGILROY NYR 43 1.46 8 3.83 44 0 0 0.00% 33.33% 6.361 2 2

 

Here, adj GFON is the amount of goals that would be scored with post-lockout, league average shooting (13.3%) on the power play, and adjusted points again based on the 3 year average for each player.  Matt Carkner has been ignored, since he has almost no PP ice time in his career.  Data is only 5v4 power plays.

As you see, most of the options that fans have called for or rumored have very similar production on the powerplay, generating points on about 50% of the goals scored, except for Gonchar who has always been a step above the class.  For the most part, they all are performing at about their career levels, but all except Pitkanen are running units that have shot below average for the season. (Kaberle is close to this year's average)

We addressed earlier that McCabe has been mostly lucky with his 5v5 production to date, but the opposite is true on the power play.  Florida's abysmal power play has signicantly hurt his production, costing him at least 4 points, and probably more considering the low shot totals being generated by the play on top of it.  The only other player that appears to be hurt is Michael Del Zotto, but his 3 year average is really a 1 year average, so it's less reliable due to the small sampling of minutes.

With all of that data, what conclusions do we have?

Bryan McCabe - He's been given heavily sheltered minutes at even strength, and if not for some luck, his +9 at 5v5 could easily be a 0.  He's running an abysmal PP unit, but producing at normal levels for him, so in that aspect he'd fit right in here.  He'll get a boost from a better PP on the Rangers, but he's a 3rd liner for us.  He's an option, but the Rangers should not pay alot to acquire him.

Joni Pitkanen - We can question his availability to begin with, because he eats alot of minutes for Carolina's defense, mostly against 2nd pair competition, and keeps them in the game while he's doing it.  His PP production is fairly steady, and would give a big boost to the defense with his ability.  He's not great for our deadline needs, but he's a great player to target in the offseason, if his current cost ($4m) stays the same.

Tomas Kaberle - Obviously one of the best PP players available, he basically presents as the same player as Pitkanen, with much more PP ability.  We didn't need a long winded, stats-laden post to know he's the best player potentially available.  The only problem with Kaberle will be the cost of acquiring him.   At the rate today is going, he might not even be an option by the time this posts.

Filip Kuba - Many scoffed at the idea of adding a player with a -25, but if you adjust out how absolutely abysmal Ottawa has played around him, he actually becomes a plus!  He can contribute to the PP, but he's not a better option than any of the players we have on the roster.  He's a great 'buy low' candidate for some, but he's not an upgrade for us.

Matt Carkner - Really I just added him to show that toughness does not equal defense.  He too has been hurt by the terribleness of Ottawa, but with no PP time and the worst competition of the group, he's certainly not an improvement, and likely hurts the roster.

Sergei Gonchar - He's the ultimate PP producer here, but he gives up as much on the back end as he gives you on offense.  Essentially, he's Michael Del Zotto, but 15 years older and 6 times more expensive.  I'm not sure why he's rumored, but because of his contract, he's probably the worst option on the list, if I hadn't added Carkner.

Eric Brewer - He's the only true defensive defenseman of the group, but he does have a history of PP production, even if he's not showing it this year.  Without McDonagh or Sauer running around, he'd be a great fit to take some of the pressure off Staal-Girardi.   Instead, McDonagh and Sauer are running around, so Brewer does not really fit unless we can start declining penalties.

Fedor Tyutin -  Tyutin is a fine player, who is beating up weaker competition without getting much help.  He's probably had the best season of the group aside from Kaberle, and does in fact present a cheap(er) option to maybe kick start the 3rd pairing and the power play.

Add it all up, and if the Rangers were going to make a deal, Tyutin would be my target.

Let the debate continue....

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