Goal production and prevention: Pronger and Niedermayer

In my last post about correlated ice time, I showed how tracking ‘plus-minus’ events by ice time can show how players benefit by playing with certain teammates, using even-strength stats for Teemu Selanne and Joffrey Lupul as examples. Note that all numbers cited are provided courtesy of JavaGeek and his wizard machinery.

Now it’s time to turn our gaze to that $13 million duo on the blueline, Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. This time, rather than use individual player performances, I’m just going to look at how each team fared with or without their key Norris guy. To do this, I looked at the collective experience of the netminders, which has a slight wrinkle in that it includes empty-net goals for and excludes empty-net goals against (I think). Whatever, shouldn’t be that distortive.
EVEN STRENGTH:
-Chris Pronger played 36% of Edmonton’s ES minutes, where the Oilers got 33% of their ES goals-for and 28% of their ES goals-against.
-Scott Niedermayer played 34% of Anaheim’s ES minutes, where the Mighty Ducks got 40% of their ES goals-for and 38% of their ES goals-against.
Pronger, surprisingly enough, was not a strong goal producer at even-strength. In fact, the Oilers scored even-strength goals at a higher rate when Pronger was off the ice than when he was on. However, he was a big factor in preventing even-strength goals-against. The combination of these effects is that he was a low-event even-strength player, sort of a wet blanket.

Scott Niedermayer, on the other hand, appears to be much more of a high-event even-strength player. Anaheim’s goals-for and goals-against had higher rates while the captain was on the ice.

Note that none of these percentage-stats inherently indicate that either of these players have positive ‘plus-minus’ numbers (though they both did); they are merely metrics relative to the performance of the entire team.

I find it highly interesting that Pronger was not a strong goal-producer and Niedermayer was not a strong goal-preventer, though both affected results on the opposite end of the ice to compensate. I wonder what the result will be when paired up this coming year.
SHORTHANDED:
-Chris Pronger played 54% of Edmonton’s SH minutes, where the Oilers allowed 48% of their PPG against.
-Scott Niedermayer played 41% of Anaheim’s SH minutes, where the Mighty Ducks allowed 45% of their PPG against.
This sort of re-emphasizes the fact that Pronger is strong defensively while Niedermayer is not. Goal production is not considered here, but I’m not sure that would help Scotty out too much.
POWER PLAY:
-Chris Pronger played 67% of Edmonton’s PP minutes, where the Oilers scored 81% of their PPG.
-Scott Niedermayer played 69% of Anaheim’s PP minutes, where the Mighty Ducks scored 82% of their PPG.
Both show really strong numbers here. Though this somewhat is an indication of being put out on the ice with the best players, at least this shows the ability to put the puck in the net when called upon.

BOTTOM LINE:

I don’t know. There’s no good way to combine these numbers to get a sense how they would play together, but the numbers do suggest that Carlyle should lean more on Pronger for the PK and leave Scott’s high-event hijinks for ES and PP situations. (That’s probably the intuitive answer anyway.)

Still, I look very forward to seeing how the combined ice time of these two Norris guys will pan out this coming year (which is probably dependent on JG’s continued stat-reporting or my suddenly-improved query skills).

How often will they pair up, and how will the combination produce (and prevent)? Will those moments be worth $13 M?

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