Every game I can I track zone transitions for Oiler defencemen. The raw totals for the tracking stats and the glossary are at the end.
I’ve highlighted the better (blue) and worse (red) performances in each category. The colour coding is relative to Edmonton’s average for this season so far. All time on ice stats are from www.naturalstattrick.com . I’ve provided some commentary after each section and at the end. Feel free to fire me a question or comment if you have one about the numbers.
Opponent: Florida Computer Boys
Score: 4-3 Good Guys!
This was a below average game for zone exits by Oiler defencemen. I wouldn’t worry too much about Klefbom’s numbers there. He played a tonne, moved the puck reasonably, and fell below 50% due to some poor decisions dumping the puck late in the game with the lead when tired. Benning had a couple good exit passes early, missed a bunch of passes and then came on strong in the 3rd. Russell did quite well moving the puck out this game, especially when Sekera was injured. Some how Davidson and Gryba moved the puck out very little.
Ouch. This was a below average game, which makes three in a row starting with Chicago. The Oilers defence are having a harder job forcing dump-ins at the line. Benning particularly got destroyed at the blue line, unable to hold the line. Matt Benning has been off these last few games. In fact, every game I’ve tracked since his head injury I’ve thought he hasn’t quite been himself. It was also mentioned to me, after that, that he suffered a bit of a tumble in practice and might have been injured. If so, it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s also worth noting that he played nearly half the game, so struggling in a couple areas is reasonable for the rookie. To his credit, Russell, who usually struggles in this area, did well relative to the team.
Ouch. Klefbom and Russell struggled a bit, pulling everyone else down, when it came to recovering the puck and successfully moving it to a teammate.
Defensive Zone Passing
You might wonder what Russell’s low corsi in this game is due to and I don’t have a perfect answer other than to say that his turnovers did not help the situation. Some of his shot attempts against came after his defensive zone turnovers, which were problematic. Gryba was likewise poor. His per-60 rate wasn’t bad, but that was mostly because he rarely moved the puck. He still turned it over within the defensive zone 20% of the time he touched it. The 13% of zone exits were also all dump-outs without a clear target. He did, however, pass it up to the forwards effective in this game. He’s fine when it keeps it simple. It’s interesting to me that in a game where the Oilers played with 5 D, Gryba still only got 15 minutes.
Raw Total Tracking Stats
(click to enlarge)
This wasn’t the greatest game by the stats that I tracked. The Oilers did get ahead via the shot attempt numbers and did get some good quality scoring chances to earn their win. However, by what I tracked, the defence didn’t quite contribute their fair share when it came to zone transitions. Florida was flying in to the Oiler zone with control far more often than the Oilers usually allow. The exits were off. I think credit here is due to the forwards who looked stronger in the neutral zone. Eberle, particularly, caught my eye in regards to his neutral zone play, though I didn’t track the forwards specifically.
Hopefully Sekera isn’t out long, but one positive the imminent return of Darnell Nurse. It would have been ideal to ease him back in, but the injury situation may not allow that. IF he can pick up where he left off pre-injury, he’ll be a welcome addition on the back-end in both zone defence and zone exits. This, my friends, is why you defensive depth!
Controlled Zone Exit: Getting the puck out of the zone maintaining possession
Carry: Skating the puck out of the zone, the defenceman keeps possession himself
Pass: Passing the puck out of the zone, the team maintains possession
Uncontrolled Zone Exit: Getting the puck out of the zone but losing possession to the other team
Dump: No clear target when getting the puck out
Missed Pass: Appears to have a clear target but pass is not complete
Times Targeted: Number of times a defenceman was specifically targeted by the opposing player on a zone entry against
Denied Entry: Defenceman prevents the opposing team from entering the zone, forcing them to regroup or causing them to lose possession in the neutral zone
Controlled Entry Against: Opposing team is able to enter the zone with possession of the puck (maintained for at least one second)
Dump In Against: Opposing team is gets the puck into the zone but without possession of the puck
Untargeted: Controlled and Uncontrolled Entries against where either a defenceman was not the primary player targeted on entry OR an odd man rush not directly caused by one of the defencemen
Defensive Zone Passing
Total Touches: Number of the times the defenceman clearly has the puck on his stick in the defensive zone
To D-Partner: Successful defensive zone pass to another defenceman within the defensive zone
To Forward: Successful defensive zone pass to a forward within the defensive zone
Turnover: Other team gains possession of the puck after the defenceman clearly had possession of it
Total: Number of times the defenceman is the closest to the puck off of an uncontrolled entry to the zone
Successful: Defenceman retrieves the puck and successfully either gets it out of the zone or passes it a teammate, retaining possession
Failed: Defenceman either turns the puck over after retrieving it or the other team gets possession off the uncontrolled entry