Ducks Gameday -- Anaheim Calling joins SBN! Also, some shot analysis.

Minnesota Wild (1-3-0, 2 pts) at Anaheim Ducks (2-2-1, 5 pts), 7 pm
For a Wild time, visit Hockey Wilderness.  And for another Ducks perspective, Anaheim Calling.

That's right, SBN finally has another Ducks perspective!  Though I missed the official unveiling yesterday, Anaheim Calling successfully migrated over SB Nation, leaving the top-of-the-Pacific L.A. Kings as the only team without a "devoted" blog.  No longer will visiting Ducks visitors be force-fed my awful puns and juvenile cartoons, and finally I have a comeback for jerks wondering why the Ducks only had 1/3 a blog at SBN.  Now the question becomes: how come your team only has one?

So yes, this all is fully Sleek-endorsed, and to prove it, as an introductory ice breaker, they asked me to host an introductory Q&A for their inaugural "new site" post.  I think it turned out quite good, actually -- go check it out; make sure to join in and welcome Arthur and Daniel aboard.

Duckqa_medium
From the Q&A post -- It's not stealing if I drew it.

As for me, don't fret -- I'm not abandoning ship.  In fact, I actually put a lot of effort into today's post, number-crunching idiot that I am.  Yesterday I constructed a spreadsheet using granular shot data from the NHL play-by-play logs (here's the last one, for example).  It's pretty slow-going (I'm a dinosaur when it comes to complicated data grabbing), but I managed to pull in five games' worth of regular season data to see what was happening, shot-wise, in various game situations -- and then associate results back to individual Ducks players.

Nerdy?  You betcha!

 

Even-Strength Shot Analysis: five games of nitty-gritty

The table below shows Even-Strength Shooting Results broken down by individual player.  There are three columns listed -- Goals scored, Shots taken, and Attempts at the net (Attempts includes shots, missed shots, and blocked shots) -- all when a player is on the ice at even-strength.  I've shown each player's total across the top, but then also broken out their results according to game situation -- when the game is tied, when the Ducks are leading, and when the Ducks are trailing.  

For instance, when Ryan Getzlaf is on the ice at even-strength, the Ducks outscore their opponents 4-2, outshoot their opponents 46-42, and have 75 attempts to the opposition's 79.  When the game is tied and Getzlaf plays at even-strength, the Ducks are outscored 1-0, outshoot opponents 16-13, and are out-attempted 31-29.  And so forth.

Yes, it's overkill, especially when results only reflect five games of the season, but to tell the truth, five games is about my limit when it comes to converting hundreds of rows of play-by-play and associating results to game-score and player.  Any more than this and I'm going to need some capable help.  So yes, take with a grain of salt -- only five games.

Shotsthru5forwards_mediumTo the left I've listed out the Ducks forwards, roughly in some sort of depth order (though Carlyle stirs the pot quite a bit, especially when trailing).  I've marked in red some ratios that are especially unnerving -- guys who are getting outshot a ton.

The Getzlaf-Perry-Ryan line has kept its head above water, shots-wise, though barely -- they do attempt slightly fewer shots at the opposing net, but seem to get more of those attempts through to the goalie.  It's not a fantastic shots-for/against ratio, though, especially when you consider that they've taken five penalties and drawn only one.

Below that is where the real trouble starts, though -- the second line is getting murdered shots-wise, especially in tied games.  To be fair to Lupul, he's bounced from line to line frequently, but the Finns have had real trouble manufacturing any offense at evens -- they are somehow winning on the scoreboard, but it's tough to imagine that sustaining if they repeatedly are outshot 2-1 or worse (Selanne in a tied game is outshot nearly 4-1).  The toughest part?  That line supposedly plays against soft opposition --  you would never have guessed it from the results.

The bottom two lines are generally a wreck, too, though they've managed to avoid much impact either way on the actual scoreboard.  Some of this is to be expected -- guys like Marchant still get heavy doses of the opponent's best forwards and have never been expected to contribute heavily on the scoresheet.  But Parros and his linemates generally go against fourth lines, and the Moustache is getting creamed (even before the gloves drop).  Especially bad here is Andrew Ebbett -- the little guy has played in a couple of spots but hasn't gotten any shot luck at all.

Christensen and Nokelainen weren't included -- each has played two or fewer of the five games played, and neither has played in a game where the Ducks led.

Overall, it's tough to point fingers -- like most humans, I only have ten.  Pretty much everyone needs improvement on these charts, and it's as much a collective problem as an individual one.  Carlyle is seemingly in a tough bind -- so far he only has one line that breaks even shotwise interspersed with two or three shifts of bleeding.  With shots and shot attempts comes offensive zone time, and with offensive zone time comes power plays drawn (though for Getzlaf and Perry, more offensive zone time might mean more penalties taken, too).

* * *

Shotsthru5dmen_mediumIn this table I've listed the defensemen, somewhat according to pairing -- again Brookbank and Mikkelson were omitted for only appearing in two or less of the five games (though both played in the first game after Wisniewski's injury -- they'll qualify soon enough).

Three defensemen in particular are regularly  being outshot on their shifts -- Captain Niedermayer and his alternating partners Eminger and Sbisa.  Especially in tie-game situations, these three are showing miserable results -- $6M Scotty's getting outshot better than 3-to-1. Granted, he's babysitting two new partners, and he's still reliant a lot on forwards to ultimately generate most of the shots-on-goal, but whatever the reason -- Scotty's shifts haven't featured much counterattack.

Two guys doing comparatively well on these metrics are Ryan Whitney and Nick Boynton, in their respective (sheltered) slots.  For all his mistake-making (and G1 was a doozy), "Cotton Gin" Whitney does at least produce offense to compensate -- he's been on the ice for exactly half of Anaheim's even-strength shots on net.  And Boynton, who's generally been treated as a spare part by Carlyle, has kept his head above water also -- granted in easier minutes. 

I don't want to pinpoint Scotty or his partners here -- by eye, Niedermayer and Sbisa have both impressed with their mobility; now they just need to translate that more effectively into even-strength offense. 

* * *

Well, now that I've gone through all that, let's take a step back and take a breath.  Relax, Sleek.  Even though the Ducks have been outshot 137 to 94 and out-attempted 249 to 170 at even-strength, somehow by sheer Anaheim magic the Ducks are actually outscoring their opponents 7 to 4 in even-strength situations.  Go goalies!

But that fluky success is not going to be sustainable, and already we've seen the Ducks have three of the worst shot-producing periods I can remember from a Ducks squad -- 2 SOG in Period 2 hosting the Sharks, 2 SOG in Period 3 at the Wild, and 1 SOG in Period 1 at the Rangers.  There's hardly any pattern there, either -- one time they trailed by three goals, one time they led by three goals, and one time it was tied.  But they lost all three games -- that should be a motivating factor in avoiding awfulness.

And here's the scary thing(s) -- remove those three periods and the Ducks are STILL getting outshot and out-attempted at even-strength.  They haven't scored a first period goal this season in any manpower situation (outscored 5 - 0, outshot 69 - 33, out-attempted 131 - 67), plus Anaheim players put themselves in the box about 1.5 times more often than their opposition, and they are losing the special-teams battle by a clean 2-to-1 ratio (Ducks have scored 4 PPGs and 1 SHG; opponents have 8 and 2).  

Yup -- tons of room for improvement.  But hey, the Ducks are still somehow 2-2-1 despite playing 4 of 5 games on the road -- last year through 5 they were a horrid 1-4-0 playing only 2 on the road.  Nothing is disastrous yet -- just some quantitative signs that disaster is imminent, that's all.

Start shooting, boys.  Offense matters.

* * *

The Wild are 1-3?  God, imagine if the Ducks could have played a non-suicidal third period last week.  Shots in that 3rd period plus overtime were 15-2 Wild; shot attempts were 32-6.  Ouch.

Prediction: A "Wild" guess: Ducks get outshot every period.  Whoever Carlyle puts in the net gets to be a fucking hero.

Go Ducks.

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