Friday, February 15, 2008

A Rod Langway Award update

Here's a statistical look, based on the method used here, at who the best defensive defencemen in the NHL have been this season.

Players have to be among the top 90 blueliners in even strength ice time and have played at least two minutes on the penalty kill per game:

NAME TM QUAL COMP 5-on-5 GAON/60 4-on-5 GAON/60
1 HENRIK TALLINDER BUF 0.14 1.65 4.55
2 NICKLAS LIDSTROM DET 0.16 1.58 4.96
3 ADAM FOOTE CBJ 0.15 2.30 3.80
4 CHRIS PRONGER ANA 0.11 1.83 4.61
5 DEREK MORRIS PHX 0.19 2.03 5.57
6 JAN HEJDA CBJ 0.14 2.30 4.51
7 SEAN O'DONNELL ANA 0.12 1.55 5.64
8 KEITH BALLARD PHX 0.19 2.19 5.43
9 TONI LYDMAN BUF 0.12 1.94 5.26
10 BRENDAN WITT NYI 0.11 2.32 4.23
11 DENNIS WIDEMAN BOS 0.02 1.84 4.21
12 WILLIE MITCHELL VAN 0.15 1.88 6.66
13 CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF S.J 0.04 2.12 4.23
14 GREG DE VRIES NSH 0.11 2.19 5.08
15 DANIEL GIRARDI NYR 0.04 2.30 3.81
16 BRENT BURNS MIN 0.06 2.18 4.81
17 KIM JOHNSSON MIN 0.11 2.60 4.21
18 ZDENO CHARA BOS 0.08 2.31 4.92
19 NICK SCHULTZ MIN 0.15 2.45 5.51
20 MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC S.J 0.02 1.97 4.92

Some familiar names at the top end, that's for sure. I'd actually be interested to see other bloggers put together their own lists of top defensive defenders this season, as it can be a very difficult thing to nail down.

Both Columbus and Phoenix have had much better defensive performances this season, led by their leading blueliners, while the Wild always have leaders in this thing.

The worst ranked players (out of the 77 who meet the ice time thresholds) are: Brad Stuart, Tom Poti, Ryan Whitney, Dion Phaneuf, Roman Hamrlik, Garnet Exelby, Jaroslav Modry, Andrej Meszaros, Tim Gleason and Francois Beauchemin.

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At 2:37 a.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Heather B. said...

Oh, Hank Tallinder, you are the cat's pajamas :-D

At 3:44 a.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Loxy said...

Sigh. Jan Hejda.

At 7:00 a.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger voxel said...

Yep, Beauchemin's been garbage this year without Scotty. Beyond awful is proper term.

At 7:59 a.m., February 15, 2008, Anonymous greg said...

Hamrlik is having a good year though. His impact on the habs defence has been great so far. His absence was really felt the last few games.

At 9:45 a.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Hooks Orpik said...

If I were Columbus' GM, I'd print this report and send it to every rival that inquires about Foote.

At 9:56 a.m., February 15, 2008, Anonymous vadim sharifijanov said...

buffalo is a terrible defensive team and campbell gets the points and all the attention, but where would they be without tallinder? he's got to be the most underrated player in the league.

At 10:04 a.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Kevin said...

I'm not sure how Buffalo can be considered a "terrible defensive team", considering they are 4th in the East in goals against.

At 10:44 a.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

I'm sorry, but any metric that has Dennis Wideman near the top of a 'defensive' measure has to be seriously flawed.

Also, as much as I love Jan Hejda, he's not the 6th best defensive d-man in the game.

There has got to be a better way to smush together the defensive stats to get a truer read on defensive ability. It looks like a few d-men are being rewarded for playing in front of great goalies (Thomas, Leclaire)

At 10:45 a.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Heather B. said...

vadim, I wouldn't say Buffalo is a terrible defensive team - the reason for their recent turnaround in play has largely been improved team defense and even when they were losing their GAA was fairly low - but we can agree that Tallinder is vastly underrated especially in comparison to Campbell who is, IMO, a bit overrated.

At 11:23 a.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

There has got to be a better way to smush together the defensive stats to get a truer read on defensive ability. It looks like a few d-men are being rewarded for playing in front of great goalies (Thomas, Leclaire)

Looking at the shot quality numbers, you can make a very strong argument that Leclaire's benefited heavily from Hitchcock's system and how his defence has played — not the other way around.

And Wideman's had a terrific year; he generally gets paired with a top shutdown guy like Chara or Alberts and doesn't face the other teams' top lines, however (something that's reflected here, I think).

At 11:53 a.m., February 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the top nine there are two guys each from BUF, PHX, ANA, and CBJ. Are we supposed to believe that these four teams each just conicidentally have two top ten defensemen each? Doesn't it seem likely that there is some reinforcement going on here? Some Quality of Linemates that needs to be considered?

At 11:56 a.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Those are defence partners, and since many of these pairings play the entire game together, it's nearly impossible to separate their contributions.

So, yes, someone like O'Donnell definitely benefits from being paired with Pronger.

At 12:47 p.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Dear Lord Stanley said...

Are there any Avalanche players on the list and where do they rank?

I'm surprised Scott Hannan isn't down at the bottom with Phadouche.

At 2:22 p.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Hannan's 11th worst, right after Beauchemin. Brett Clark's in the middle somewhere.

At 3:05 p.m., February 15, 2008, Anonymous vadim sharijanov said...

re: buffalo being terrible defensively, i was going by ryan miller's GAA. obviously, it's very good now that they've been on this great run, but it was over 3.00 for most of the season. but as heather b. said, their recent turnaround has definitely been a result of their vastly improved defence. why did it take so long for ruff to realise that they could no longer just outscore their opponents after losing their top two centers?

At 3:24 p.m., February 15, 2008, Blogger Meg said...

Vadim, I think Ruff realized the Sabres needed to play much better defensively going into the year. It's something he talked about before the season even started. But it takes time for the players to adapt to that and grow into new roles. He couldn't just snap his fingers and make that happen.

At 12:48 a.m., February 16, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

James, I wonder if you could provide some details about Phaneuf being ranked fourth WORST among blueliners. He's at the wrong end of the list for a guy who just signed for ~$40 million. Or maybe they're paying him for his good looks?

At 9:45 a.m., February 17, 2008, Blogger Eric McErlain said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:39 a.m., February 17, 2008, Blogger Marchantfan said...

Bruce: or his knowledge of 80s popular culture.


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