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Chemistry and Splitting the Sedins


JamesB

Splitting the Sedins  

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In the first few weeks of the season, Travis Green tried a lot of line combinations in a search for "chemistry". And he did well, coming up with line combinations and D-pairings that have worked well. Even tonight (Wednesday) when the team had a disappointing loss against the Devils, they played well and deserved to win. Sometimes you run into a hot goalie and/or just don't get the bounces. 

 

However, despite the good things about the season, the PP has been a major disappointment and is currently running at 14.8%. And the Sedins are not scoring enough on the PP or 5-on-5. Henrik is really struggling, with no PP points at all so far in 12 games, no 5-on-5 goals, and three 5-on-5 assists. Daniel is doing a bit better with 5 pts in total.  If there is a place to try some changes, this is it.

 

As long as the Sedins have played on the Canucks, there have been calls to split them up, and there are many, many suggestions in various threads on CDC about splitting them up. But no coach has taken that seriously, and I think the same is true of most fans, including me. The reason is “chemistry”. However, at this stage in their careers, it might be time to re-think that strategy. Personally, I now favor splitting up the Sedins, at least on the PP and maybe at 5-on-5 as well.

 

I decided to re-think the chemistry argument and draw on what little evidence there is about chemistry.  Here is my argument.

 

1. First of all, there are two different types of chemistry and it is important not to confuse them. One type, which I will call Type 1 chemistry, is based on familiarity and on seeing the game the same way. This is the type of chemistry that is involved when we say players need to play together to "develop chemistry". When Henrik makes a no-look pass to an apparently empty seam between two defenders and Daniel arrives there just as the puck arrives to take a shot or take possession, that is Type 1 chemistry at work. Both players know what to expect from each other and both make the same reads -- seeing the same opportunity. After all, there are probably no two players in the history of the NHL who have spent more time playing together or who see the game in such a similar way. Yes the Sedins are aging and going through normal age-related decline, but maybe this Type 1 chemistry still makes the whole (both players together) more valuable than the sum of the parts.

 

2.However, there is another type of chemistry, which I will call Type 2 chemistry. This is chemistry based on complementary skills. This is the kind of chemistry that is a key feature of games like NHL 17. At its most basic the idea is that you want players with different skills that combine well together. Typically, top lines consists of a "playmaker", and a "shooter" and a third player who combines some combination of strong physical play, a strong two-way game, or maybe speed or forechecking ability. I checked out some websites that list "top lines", either all-time or at present (such as http://www.tsn.ca/how-do-the-nhl-s-no-1-lines-stack-up-1.873321). Most of these websites are long on opinion and short on data-based analysis, but almost all of them favour lines based on complementary skills and do not pay a lot of attention to Type 1 chemistry.

 

3. The Sedins no longer have much Type 2 chemistry as they have become very similar players. When they were in their prime, Henrik was the playmaker and Daniel was the "shooter". They must have worked hard to develop this specialization as they are so similar in terms of natural abilities. But the problem is that as players age, goal scoring ability usually drops off more rapidly than other abilities, possibly because it depends so much on reflex and quickness, which peak in the early 20s and decline a lot by the mid-to-late 30s. Watching Daniel this year it seems clear that he is not as quick around the net, does not get his shot off quickly enough and is no longer a genuine shooter. At this stage in his career he is probably better suited to the playmaker role, as is Henrik.

 

4. A related issue is that the Sedins have similar weaknesses and those weaknesses compound each other. In particular, they were never fast skaters but they have slowed with age and are now among the slowest forwards on the ice. This creates a lot of problems and is, in my view, the main reason they had negative plus/minus numbers last year for the first time since their rookie season.

 

5. Even their Type 1 chemistry is not as much of a benefit as it once was. Very few NHL forward combos have been scouted as much as the Sedins (partly because they have played together so successfully for so long). But this means it is very hard for them to surprise anyone anymore, especially on the PP. Splitting them up would force them to do things  a bit differently and might actually help them at this stage. 

 

6. As for evidence, if Type 1 chemistry was of paramount importance, top lines would usually consist of players who have played together a lot. But it doesn't work that way. Most of the top lines listed on various websites have been put together relatively recently. The top line in the NHL this season so far is Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Vladislav Namestnikov. They have played together before to some extent, but Stamkos missed most of the past two seasons and before that Stamkos normally had other linemates.  And it is not like they grew up playing together. 

 

Bottom line: The Sedins have become too predictable and no longer have complementary skills (Type 2 chemistry). And I think Type 2 chemistry is much more important than Type 1 chemistry. I think it is at least time to try the Sedins on different PP units, and maybe 5-on-5 as well.

 

 

 

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Love the post, +1. Personally, before the season started I thought that splitting the Sedins 5 on 5 and having them together 4 on 4 and on the PP would have been a good strategy. Right now, I think that splitting them 5 on 5 would be an appropriate option given their lack of success so far throughout the season. I agree with your concept of type 2 chemistry, and agree that their weaknesses only compound each other. I also feel that if they weren't playing 5 on 5 together, that when they did get the opportunity on the PP they would have more urgency and killer instinct, given the fact that they wouldn't have been playing together for the entire game. 

 

Although it seems that Horvat, Baertschi, and Boeser have really good chemistry, personally I feel that Daniel Sedin would be a better option than Baertschi on that line. Burmistrov centering Baertschi and Virtanen (and the Henrik playing with Gagner/Vanek) would be the other options. The Sutter line is definitely untouchable at this point. My biggest concern though is when Eriksson comes back.. I really like our forward group right now. 

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Everyone wants Danny to hit 1K. Such a unique situation(twins doing that), understandable if the team's obsessed with it. Prob influence lineup decisions/deployment.

 

I've wanted them on seperate lines for about 2 or 3 yrs. Long ago(2014 or '15?..forget), I remember making a thread suggesting we train the fwds for 8 lines( twins together, set of 4; twins apart, set of 4). I figured changing mid-game would be quite a tactical-advantage over the rival coach. Also felt twin's cycling was more potent late in periods(due to their superior cardio training). Well, that ship has sailed.

 

So yeah, split them about 75% of the time. Don't care about pp, cos' it's not working anymore, anyhow.

 

Whenever lineup's healthy?

Henrik

Vanek

Daniel

Eriksson

Gagner

 

Start rotating 1 vet out each night/rotation of 5 games. Keep'em fresh & competing for time. Play the kids more.

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This has been talked about for 20 years.

No.

The thing to happen now is for the Sedins to either retire or move on to another team.

See Jesper Bratt for New Jersey tonight? He was a fireplug for them. And this from a guy that had HALF the points Jonathan Dahlen had last year in tier 2/Sweden.

Where's Dahlen again? Oh yeah... still playing in Sweden because the geniuses here thought he wasn't close to being NHL ready.... while teams like Jersey have THREE first year kids who are making life miserable for opposition here/now. 

We need SCORERS. So .......... let's call up #ing Jayson Smegma (instead of Boucher or Goldobin who are putting up almost 1.5 ppg in Utica) because.... you know.... he can skate reel gud.... :rolleyes:

I love the direction this team is headed, but some of these personnel decisions makes me want to punch someone in the face.

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2 minutes ago, darkpoet said:

This has been talked about for 20 years.

No.

The thing to happen now is for the Sedins to either retire or move on to another team.

See Jesper Bratt for New Jersey tonight? He was a fireplug for them. And this from a guy that had HALF the points Jonathan Dahlen had last year in tier 2/Sweden.

Where's Dahlen again? Oh yeah... still playing in Sweden because the geniuses here thought he wasn't close to being NHL ready.... while teams like Jersey have THREE first year kids who are making like miserable for opposition here/now. 

We need SCORERS. So .......... let's call up #ing Jayson Smegma (instead of Boucher or Goldobin who are putting up almost 1.5 ppg in Utica) because.... you know.... he can skate reel gud.... :rolleyes:

I love the direction this team is headed, but some of these personnel decisions makes me want to punch sometime in the face.

 time to retire sedins your play is embarasssing i hope benning buys eriksson out as well its the worst contract in the nhl at moment for length and price. Let the kids play  hell even rodin    please trade vanek  guddy and bunch of vets at deadline   nhl is a youth sport these days 

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33 minutes ago, darkpoet said:

This has been talked about for 20 years.

No.

The thing to happen now is for the Sedins to either retire or move on to another team.

See Jesper Bratt for New Jersey tonight? He was a fireplug for them. And this from a guy that had HALF the points Jonathan Dahlen had last year in tier 2/Sweden.

Where's Dahlen again? Oh yeah... still playing in Sweden because the geniuses here thought he wasn't close to being NHL ready.... while teams like Jersey have THREE first year kids who are making life miserable for opposition here/now. 

We need SCORERS. So .......... let's call up #ing Jayson Smegma (instead of Boucher or Goldobin who are putting up almost 1.5 ppg in Utica) because.... you know.... he can skate reel gud.... :rolleyes:

I love the direction this team is headed, but some of these personnel decisions makes me want to punch someone in the face.

You know Dahlen went back to Sweden because had mono during the training camp and preseason right? Dahlen and the team both felt it would be best for him to play big minutes on his Allsvenskan team rather than be stuck on a very crowded Utica roster while he gets his legs back. He has an out clause in his current Allsvenskan contract allowing him to either sign with a SHL team or come to North America in December. Rumor is he'll move to a SHL team soon.

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I hope this has nothing to do with the NJ game because they were fantastic.  Controlled the puck very well and a bunch of scoring chances.  Virtanen is meshing greatly with them. 

 

No one scored vs NJ.  If we are talking chemistry I'd sit Vanek.  Again he was a momentum killer on the ice.  Burmistrov and Gagner need someone who can get to pucks and check hard to create turnovers, which Vanek just cant do.

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20 minutes ago, dank.sinatra said:

You now Dahlen went back to Sweden because had mono during the training camp and preseason right? Dahlen and the team both felt it would be best for him to play big minutes on his Allsvenskan team rather than be stuck on a very crowded Utica roster while he gets his legs back. He has an out clause in his current Allsvenskan contract allowing him to either sign with a SHL team or come to North America in December. Rumor is he'll move to a SHL team soon.

I'm aware he had mono before main camp.

My point is, there are guys like Bratt and other 1st year players who are killing it in the NHL who didn't have near the pedigree that Dahlen has. So I disagree with the decision to send him back overseas where he won't learn a damn thing about how to play a North American game, rather than cut his teeth for a few weeks in Utica (he's barely eligible to play there this year) and then try and make the main roster.

Jesper Bratt: 
last year SWE-1: 22 points in 46 games
19 years old
5' 10" 174 lbs
10 points in 11 games for the New Jersey Devils

Jonathan Dahlen:
last year SWE-1: 44 points in 45 games
19 years old
5'11" 176 lbs
still stuck in Sweden wasting his life while players not near as good as him are kicking ass in the NHL 

It's a new day. D-men and goalies can still take a while longer to develop but pure offensive forwards have proven the last few years that age and experience are not necessarily a barrier. 

Get that kid over here. 
 

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29 minutes ago, darkpoet said:

I'm aware he had mono before main camp.

My point is, there are guys like Bratt and other 1st year players who are killing it in the NHL who didn't have near the pedigree that Dahlen has. So I disagree with the decision to send him back overseas where he won't learn a damn thing about how to play a North American game, rather than cut his teeth for a few weeks in Utica (he's barely eligible to play there this year) and then try and make the main roster.

Jesper Bratt: 
last year SWE-1: 22 points in 46 games
19 years old
5' 10" 174 lbs
10 points in 11 games for the New Jersey Devils

Jonathan Dahlen:
last year SWE-1: 44 points in 45 games
19 years old
5'11" 176 lbs
still stuck in Sweden wasting his life while players not near as good as him are kicking ass in the NHL 

It's a new day. D-men and goalies can still take a while longer to develop but pure offensive forwards have proven the last few years that age is not a barrier. 

Get that kid over here. 
 

Bratt plays a different game than Dahlen and is off to a hot start, I'll be surprised if he sustains it.

 

Where exactly do you see Dahlen fitting with this team right now? There's simply no room in either Vancouver or Utica. That's probably on Benning for signing too many veterans but that's another issue.

 

I'm not sure how much you know about European leagues but I can assure you Dahlen is not "wasting his life" playing in the Allsvenskan. He's playing first line minutes and producing at an elite level against men. When he goes to the SHL he'll be playing in possibly the second best league in the world. People make way too big of a deal about playing a "North American" game, a good hockey player is a good hockey player no matter what league they're playing in. It's like the many, many players who come straight out of Europe and light up the NHL without ever hearing the phrase "AHL" are completely lost on you. Did Peter Forsberg not know how to play a North American game upon entering the NHL? He was over a point per game in his first NHL season... How about Ovechkin?

 

Have some patience and be thankful this team isn't relying on 19 year olds, it's a pretty good way to break their confidence. After spending the year in Sweden Dahlen will be much more ready to push for a NHL roster spot next season than he would if spent the season adjusting to completely new life / team and being bounced around the overcrowded Utica lineup while recovering from mono.

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1 hour ago, SILLY GOOSE said:

I hope this has nothing to do with the NJ game because they were fantastic.  Controlled the puck very well and a bunch of scoring chances.  Virtanen is meshing greatly with them. 

 

No one scored vs NJ.  If we are talking chemistry I'd sit Vanek.  Again he was a momentum killer on the ice.  Burmistrov and Gagner need someone who can get to pucks and check hard to create turnovers, which Vanek just cant do.

Yes I don't know why you got a minus for this... so here's a plus. +1

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They should maybe have split the Sedins on regular basis at least 3 years ago, but that boat has sailed now.

I much rather the youngsters and future players get accustomed to one another, than they play with the Sedins, only to find them retiring at the end of the season.

 

I do agree though that they tried to split them up during preseason in 3 on 3 and that looked really good.

 

Despite our good start to the season, this is still transitional period, so would prefer the players, that are about to be faced out, play together.

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2 hours ago, darkpoet said:



We need SCORERS. So .......... let's call up #ing Jayson Smegma (instead of Boucher or Goldobin who are putting up almost 1.5 ppg in Utica) because.... you know.... he can skate reel gud.... :rolleyes:

I love the direction this team is headed, but some of these personnel decisions makes me want to punch someone in the face.

Unless Goldobin has become Datsyuk all of a sudden he can stay in utica all year if that's what it takes to develop good habits. 

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3 hours ago, darkpoet said:

I'm aware he had mono before main camp.

My point is, there are guys like Bratt and other 1st year players who are killing it in the NHL who didn't have near the pedigree that Dahlen has. So I disagree with the decision to send him back overseas where he won't learn a damn thing about how to play a North American game, rather than cut his teeth for a few weeks in Utica (he's barely eligible to play there this year) and then try and make the main roster.

Jesper Bratt: 
last year SWE-1: 22 points in 46 games
19 years old
5' 10" 174 lbs
10 points in 11 games for the New Jersey Devils

Jonathan Dahlen:
last year SWE-1: 44 points in 45 games
19 years old
5'11" 176 lbs
still stuck in Sweden wasting his life while players not near as good as him are kicking ass in the NHL 

It's a new day. D-men and goalies can still take a while longer to develop but pure offensive forwards have proven the last few years that age and experience are not necessarily a barrier. 

Get that kid over here. 
 

Everyone matures differently, you can't just compare stats, give it a rest

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The lines can use some tweaking.  I know I am going to get flamed for this but Horvat has come down with Kesleritis, doing too much on his own and not utilizing his wingers, especially on the PP.  Unless that is the strategy and he is just doing what the coaching staff instructed I don't see him and Boeser as a good fit.  I know they scored but the bulk of those points have come on the man advantage.  I'd love to see if Gagne would benefit by playing with Boeser, Boeser needs more of a playmaker and Gagne needs something to get going.  The Sutter line I wouldn't touch but the rest could use some tweaks here and there.  I wouldn't panic, the Canucks have definitely outplayed the last two teams they just ran into stellar goaltending.

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For OT I think they should be split. I think they are too slow for 3 on 3 together. 5 on 5 maybe I'd be okay with experimenting with splitting them cause, once again, slow. I think they are better together though. I think people need to keep in mind not scoring doesn't mean liabilities out there.

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I still think that Daniel may be somewhat useful this year but Hank's play has really diminished. Splitting them up is LONG OVERDUE. Please stop treating them like they are ONE. They are two different hockey players.

Hank has 0 points in 12 games on the PP. If that was anyone else, they would be coming off the PP, but because he has "Sedin" on the back of his jersey he is exempt?

I think both Vanek and Daniel would benefit more with a different center. Although most times Bo's line does well, Baertchi's inconsistency sometimes renders that line ineffective.

Virtanen seems to be the odd guy out on the Sedin line lately. Its like he is not even there as Hank looks for Daniel and vice versa. This line would work well if they work more as a unit. The Sedins seem hell bent on setting each other up even though neither one of them hardly ever shoot on the net.

Vanek and Boeser need to be fed the puck on the PP and its not going to happen with the Sedins occupying space there. Time to explore other options.

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