A guy could almost make a hobby of defending Jeff Petry.
What caught my Petry eye, again, was a heated argument that unfolded on twitter yesterday. It all started with Ray Ferraro stating in a radio spot that if Kevin Shattenkirk should shake free (due to the Blues’ playoff ousting) the Oilers should come a calling. One commenter on Twitter immediately had this to say…
It is what an Oiler fan would call a bold statement, to say the least.
One problem with Twitter is that it can be difficult to follow conversations that you are not a part of. That’s why I’m going to take the initiative of leading you through the numbers pointing to why Woodguy may not be that far off with his assessment.
That tweet started a barrage of replies that began with this…
I’m sure most of your eyes are bulging (Shawn) at the audacity(!) of that first statement. But when you start to dig deeper and give it some context, you may just come around to the idea and see that Woodguy made a pretty good point.
(Before I go any further I’ll say that some of the numbers I post from this point forward were tweeted in some form or another by Woodguy. I’ve pulled mine from BTN and Extra Skater. Like I said though, Twitter doesn’t exactly lend itself to easy conversation tracking, hence this post.)
The big gap between Shattenkirk and Petry is powerplay time and powerplay ability. It effects the boxcars in a big way. Here are the numbers.
|TOI per game|
|EV||PP||Total PP TOI||SH||Total|
|Points and Fancy Stats|
|Corsi Rel QoC||Cor Rel QoT||EV O/D st%||Prim. EV Pts||Prim. PP Pts|
|Shattenkirk||-0.196 (151th toughest)||0.266 (116th best)||57.4||7||13|
|Petry||0.824 (50th toughest)||1.481 (37th Best)||47.2||8||nil|
So there you have it. Shattenkirk is kicking out the jams on the power play.
5.8 P/60 is really, really, good. It is pretty safe to say that, at this point of his career, Jeff Petry is not heading in a trajectory that will lead to achieving that kind of power play success. 5.8 P/60 puts Shattenkirk 4th in the league among defensemen. He should be applauded for it. But after that things get a little dicey in the ‘Shattenkirk is better than Petry’ department. The big thing to look at when comparing two players is how are they being used. Context.
Here are a few highlights from the numbers above…
- When looking through the relative Corsi lens, Jeff Petry makes his living against players who face the top pairing of a team’s defense. I’m not saying he is a true top pairing D man, but he’s deployed like one.
- Shattenkirk is a faces the 151st toughest competition. Solidly in a 3rd paring role.
- Shattenkirk gets a nice cushy zone start and plays on the same team as Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester who eat the tough even strength minutes.
- Petry? Not so much.
- Petry is the Oilers’ #1 PK d-man
- Shattenkirk is a PK afterthought in St. Louis.
- Shattenkirk gets over 3 minutes per game of 1st unit PP on a top ten PP team.
- Petry get less than a minute per game of 2nd unit PP on a bottom ten team.
I’m not going to say that Jeff Petry could do Kevin Shattenkirk’s job the same way K.S. does it. He’s a proven PP performer. But if you look at it from the opposite direction what do you see?
Go back a few years and you’ll find that Shattenkirk is a one dimension player. He has never been tasked with even strength responsibility greater than 3rd pairing duties. He is an undersized, offensive defenceman that succeeds at putting up points on the PP. Jeff Petry on the other hand is undoubtedly someone who is trusted by his coaches to do a thankless job. Defend against the best and while not getting any cherry time on the 1st unit PP to pad the boxcars. Petry may not be able to do Shattenkirk’s job but the reverse may be even more true.
Points are not the greatest judge of an effective defender. Petry doesn’t put up big numbers or smash skulls and many fans don’t like him because of those reasons. But the numbers complete the story. Petry is a bonafide, tough minutes, NHL D-man. Get him some help, ease his assignment and the rest of you may just see that.
Thanks for reading.
In fairness to honesty (and @madi39), the numbers presented about Shattenkirk may be slightly misleading. He was the #3 EV minutes d-man for the Blues this year. Although his Rel QoC is low, Hitchcock clearly trusted him enough to run him out with Barret Jackman (0.034 Rel QoC, 3rd toughest on Blues) 64.1% of the time.
Feel free to share some banter with me on Twitter, @borisnikov, be it hockey or otherwise.