© 2013 Michael Parkatti BOTB10-3

“Low Event” NHL Defencemen

In my article on Mark Fistric, one thing that jumped out at me was how little scoring went on while he was on the ice, both for his team and against his team, the Dallas Stars.  I termed him a ‘low event’ defenceman in a loose fashion — let’s explore what that concept entails and who fits the definition.

Let’s define a low event defenceman as someone who is a black hole of offense for the game of hockey, where fun and exciting play goes to die.  He’s like everyone’s parent on the ice telling them to stop having fun and finish their vegetables.  To get at this concept numerically, I decided to simply sum their ‘goals for their team while on-ice per 60 minutes of ES ice-time’ metric and their ‘goals against their team while on-ice per 60 minutes of ES ice-time’.  Basically, a rate of how many goals that are being scored by either team while they’re on the ice.  I’ll term it, “Goals on-ice / 60”

Here’s a top 10 for lowest goals on-ice/60 in the NHL last year among defencemen with more than 40 games played:

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Well have a look at this.  Out of 198 players who qualified, Mark Fistric was the 3rd lowest-event defenceman in the league — when he was on the ice, only 3.41 goals were scored every 60 minutes of even-strength ice-time.  And check out our boy Nick Schultz, certified the lowest of low-event defencemen in the entire NHL!  I’m not really surprised at this list, as these players are the very definition of boring — Douglas Murray, Regehr, Jackman.  They don’t allow many goals…. as long as you’re ok with not scoring any either.

What about the opposite — the fun, HIGH-event players?  Well, I simply sorted for the highest goals on-ice / 60 mins and got the following top 10:

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Some of these names aren’t really that surprising either.  Letang, Big Bugg, Bergeron, and Erik Karlsson are all run and gun type of defenceman — not exactly the shut-down types.  More interesting to me are the inclusion of the Keith/Seabrook pairing here — sure they create offense, but I’m surprised at their high rate of allowing goals as well.

An obvious area of improvement would be to normalize the data for competition factors, but I think this is kind of fun on its own.

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