Monday, August 1, 2011

Eastern Conference Top-Six Reliance

After seeing this post on the Western Conference Teams, I decided to do the same exercise for the East. Here are the results, sorted by most reliance on top-6 (by TOI...yes, that is a bit of circular reasoning) forwards:

The overtimes mess it up a bit for the teams with shorter postseasons. I added up the TOI of the playoff goalies as an approximation for the team's total TOI and created the adjustment factor listed to the far right. I multiplied each TOI cell by the adjustment factor for each team and got the following:

I highlighted Eastern Conference teams in green and Western Conference Teams in orange. Based on the incredibly small sample of 16 teams in one playoff season, the West appears to have slightly more balanced playoff TOI, a little more at evens than in total.

The gap between the Rangers' leading total and the Caps at 3rd is just a minute smaller than the difference between the Caps' total and Vancouver's 14th-ranked total. Yeah, I think John Tortorella is really happy he has a shiny new Ranger toy, plus some others that are getting better (keep an eye on Artem Anisimov). Only the top two teams and bottom two teams really stand out here. I wouldn't mind seeing the Caps' ES rank rise a few minutes into the top-5 from 10th, though.

Nashville is well, well behind in Adj PPTOI. No surprise, given how their TOI distribution favors (relatively speaking) defensive players. I'm a little surprised that Detroit lags so far behind in PKTOI, given that Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen are the three best two-way players on the team, the first two Selke-caliber year-after-year. I guess Mike Babcock is managing minutes for the aging Datsyuk (as he's done for Lidstrom) and is cautious about the somewhat fragile Zetterberg and Franzen being put into dangerous positions. He wasn't during the Red Wings' two recent Finals runs.

Interesting to see that the Caps are 2nd in the adjusted PKTOI metric, largely on the backs of Brooks Laich and Nicklas Backstrom (but no Alexander Semin, Bruce Boudreau?). I expect that to decrease this year as Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward should be able to eat some of their shorthanded minutes.

Similarly, Tampa ranks 5th entirely thanks to Nate Thompson and Dominic Moore (who beat out Malone, the other regular with Lecavalier or Stamkos, by two seconds; remember that Tampa rode 7D and 11F). Although Tampa would be a bit higher in ESTOI if I used their top-6 by ESTOI as opposed to total TOI (replacing Thompson with Malone), it's not a significant enough difference to gain rank (a little under 2 minutes), while losing about four minutes in PKTOI (dropping them to 15th) and gaining two minutes in PPTOI (putting them 4th). I guess Guy Boucher didn't really run his top-6 any harder despite playing 11 up front--he just trotted out his reliable depth forwards out there more and more. That's something to watch for in the coming years, as Lecavalier and St. Louis age and Stamkos (who, for a guy tossed in there with Crosby and Ovechkin, really didn't log a lot of TOI) comes into his prime.

I don't think there are any conclusions to draw here. Just ride your good players while playing the bottom of your lineup as much as you can without getting burned, I guess.

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