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Diamonds

Does Size Still Matter? Playoff Team D-corps Analysis

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There has been a lot of talk about the NHL transitioning to more of a speed and skill league. We have seen this take place in the disappearance of the goon and the reduced role of a 4th-line enforcer. The assumption I have been consistently hearing has been that transitioning away from the more bruising style also means that the NHL is getting smaller, but is that true? We have seen teams like Tampa Bay start to have success with a smaller forward group, so maybe. The question I asked is, is the decrease in size limited to forwards or are D-corps also getting smaller?

 

I decided to analyze the height and weight of the D-corps for the 8 teams remaining in the playoffs as compared to the teams' overall height and weight averages and compared to the league averages. I only included defensemen who played more than 10 games for All dmen. Any defenseman who played at least 1 game in the first round was considered a Playoff dman.

 

NHL 2017-18 Season

Avg Height: 6'1.1"

Avg Weight: 200.7lbs

 

Tampa Bay
Avg Height

Team: 6'0.5"
All dmen(9total): 6'3.1"
Playoff dmen: 6'2.6"

 

Avg Weight

Team: 193.3lbs
All dmen: 211.5lbs
Playoff dmen: 213lbs

 

Playoff dmen under 6': 0

 

Pittsburgh
Avg Height

Team: 6'0.7"
All dmen (7total): 6'1.9"
Playoff dmen: 6'2.3"

 

Avg Weight

Team: 199.7lbs

All dmen: 208.3lbs
Playoff dmen: 209.5lbs

Dmen under 6': 1 (Ruhwedel)

 

Winnipeg
Avg Height

Team: 6'2.1"
All dmen(9total): 6'2.2"
Playoff dmen: 6'3.1"

 

Avg Weight

Team: 204.8lbs
All dmen: 211.6lbs
Playoff dmen: 216.8lbs

 

Playoff dmen under 6': 0

 

Vegas
Avg Height

Team: 6'0.9"
All dmen(8total): 6'1.4"
Playoff dmen: 6'2"

 

Avg Weight

Team: 199.5lbs
All dmen: 200.5lbs
Playoff dmen: 201.3lbs

 

Playoff men under 6': 0

 

Nashville
Avg Height

Team: 6'0.7"
All dmen (8total): 6'0.6"
Playoff dmen: 6'0.8"

 

Avg Weight

Team: 202lbs
All dmen: 205.6lbs
Playoff dmen: 205.8lbs

 

Playoff dmen under 6': 1 (Ellis)

 

San Jose
Avg Height

Team: 6'0.9"
All dmen(8total): 6'1.6"
Playoff dmen: 6'2.3"

 

Avg Weight

Team: 201.7lbs
All dmen: 204.1lbs
Playoff dmen: 210.5lbs

 

Playoff dmen under 6': 0

 

Boston
Avg Height

Team: 6'0.5"
All dmen (9total): 6'2.3"
Playoff dmen: 6'1.9"

 

Avg Weight

Team: 198.0lbs
All dmen: 205.2lbs
Playoff dmen:207.1lbs

 

Playoff dmen under 6': 2 (Krug and Grzelcyk)

 

Washington
Avg Height

Team: 6'1.4"
All dmen (8total): 6'0.5"
Playoff dmen: 6'0.4"

 

Avg Weight

Team: 205.1lbs

All dmen: 200.8lbs
Playoff dmen: 201.7lbs

 

Playoff dmen under 6': 2 (Orlov and Jerabek)

 

For comparisons sake, here is Vancouver this year:

Vancouver
Avg height all dmen (8total): 6'1"

Avg weight all dmen: 202.5lbs

dmen under 6': 2 (Stecher and Biega)

 

Conclusions

For the most part I want to let people do their own interpretations, but these are some things I noticed and thought were interesting:

   - Playoff D-corps are still big. All are over 6' and 200lbs, most are over 6'2" and 205lbs, and half are over 209.5lbs.

   - Playoff dmen under 6' are still rare

   - In general, teams D-corps' are bigger (height and weight) than their forwards (bigger than team averages)

        - The one notable exception being Washington who are one of the bigger teams overall in the NHL this season but have a relatively small D-corps

   - Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, two teams at the forefront of the speed and skill movement, have hulking playoff D-corps (6'2.6" 213lbs and 6'2.3" 209.5lbs respectively)

   - Winnipeg's playoff D-corps are monsters

   - Boston, despite having two dmen at 5'9", are still very large on defense. 4 of their dmen are over 6'4"

 

 

Team and league stats taken from: https://theathletic.com/210035/2018/01/12/sizing-up-the-nhl-2017-18-nhl-teams-by-age-height-and-weight/

Player heights and weights used for D-corps calculations taken from player pages on Elite Prospects

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Posted (edited)

Here are two inferences I've made that are separate from the pure analysis.

   - Size still matters. The NHL may be transitioning to more speed and skill but this doesn't mean smaller.

   - Teams are starting to ice smaller defenseman, but they do so with insulation. In the case of Boston, the 4 defenseman they have who are over 6'4" likely provide the sense of security needed for their two 5'9" defensemen to do their thing. Or in the case of Washington, a large Forward corps takes pressure off of needing a large D-corps.

Edited by Diamonds
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Tampa's big D men are going to be the difference against B, and they are younger and hungrier. They'll also be better in transition out of the zone. (And a little less banged up)

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Aaaaaand here we go.....

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15 minutes ago, Fanuck said:

Aaaaaand here we go.....

the joker GIF

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You cant hit what you can't catch Quinn Hughes over Dobson or Bouchard.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Diamonds said:

Here are two inferences I've made that are separate from the pure analysis.

   - Size still matters. The NHL may be transitioning to more speed and skill but this doesn't mean smaller.

   - Teams are starting to ice smaller defenseman, but they do so with insulation. In the case of Boston, the 4 defenseman they have who are over 6'4" likely provide the sense of security needed for their two 5'9" defensemen to do their thing. Or in the case of Washington, a large Forward corps takes pressure off of needing a large D-corps.

Exactly, agreed with these.  

 

Thing is, when you're in an enclosed space (rink) where small, quick guys are trying to dart around you and there's also bigger guys who are trying to plow to the net, having a wall of a man there to stop them both would be effective.  The reason in my opinion why small forwards work well is if there's collective speed - the Knights for instance were able to capitalize on rushes against LA precisely because guys like Karlsson, Marchessault and Smith have speed as a unit.  If they collectively drive play with speed then it's good luck to the defense to try and slow them down with size when they're elusive and can dart around the slower guys, but the value of a bigger guy is that if they pick their spot right there's simply nowhere to go (say with bigger guys clogging up lanes or hemming guys in along the boards) then that's also equally effective.  At the end having both fast forwards and big D-men make for a good combo though, and definitely agree with the small D-men point as they can add to the collective speed and cohesiveness of the 5-man unit.    

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if there big with some what speed and can play D, im all for it, but you usually got draft em.

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Does Size Still Matter?

uh.....for a moment, I thought I entered the wrong forum.:P

 

What is something Alf will never ask as Melmacians are known for having really large hands.:ph34r:

 

At this point for the Canucks, I'll settle for skill first.  Once we have that, then you can worry about size.

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 you want to go after the jets model of big fast mean  we dont need more softies like tanev or hutton  or stecher. I want a dcorp with bite and offense dahlin would help 

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While I have watched the smaller d help with offence so have I watched them struggle around their own crease....so does the offence out weigh the risk in front of the net or in the dzone?

 

ryan Ellis had a good series point wise but eye test saw him struggling to handle mackinnon and landeskog when it mattered.

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10 hours ago, Diamonds said:

   - Teams are starting to ice smaller defenseman, but they do so with insulation.

This. There is certainly a preference to size but I think pairing a smaller guy with a bigger guy makes a lot of sense.  Stecher and Tryamkin - yup, that works.

 

Given the option of size or no size, obviously you want the size.  It's still a physical game and always will be - especially in they playoffs where winning the size game will wear the other team down. But the game is becoming positioned such that if you're small but smart and speedy there can still be a place for you.  This is something that was exceptionally difficult back in the day with only a very small amount of ... umm... very small players.

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Size ALWAYS matters when it comes to D.

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On 4/26/2018 at 2:20 AM, NewbieCanuckFan said:

uh.....for a moment, I thought I entered the wrong forum.:P

 

What is something Alf will never ask as Melmacians are known for having really large hands.:ph34r:

 

At this point for the Canucks, I'll settle for skill first.  Once we have that, then you can worry about size.

tell that to montreal lol

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You need some size in your dcorps. Absolutely. If you don't have a Norris guy take a look at the Vegas dcorps. Nice mix of different skill sets there. 

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