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Canuck PK as the Tochett Era Starts

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JamesB
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So far this year the Canucks have the worst PK in the NHL as measured by Goals Against per 60 minutes. They are also on track to have the worst penalty kill in franchise history as measured by the penalty kill success rate (which is not a great measure but is all we have for the full time period).

 

Here are some comments.

.

1. There are 4 reasons a team can have a bad penalty kill:

 

a. Poor Goaltending

b. Poor PK Personnel

c. Poor Systems

d. Bad Luck

 

2. The coach responsible for the PK is Mike Yeo. I don't see how he still has a job. Possibly Aquilini did not want to pay another guy not to coach and JR has to choose between dropping Yeo and dropping Cull (responsible for defence) and chose to drop Cull. It will be interesting to see how handles the PK going forward. Losing Brad Shaw as the PK coach really hurt the team. Losing Walker also hurt.

 

3. However, in explaining the poor PK, probably the most important factor is goaltending. If we look at expected goals against per 60 instead of actual goals against per 60, the Canucks are not that bad -- about 10th from last and not even in the bottom quarter. That means that Canuck goalies have let in a lot more goals on the PK than you would expect given the location of the shots taken.

 

4. But individual penalty killers have not been great.  I thought I would review PK  performance by individual penalty killers. PK performance is a relatively "clean" aspect of performance to evaluate. The only real issue is sample size so it is not clear whether actual goals against per 60 or expected goals against per 60 is a better measure. They give similar results in any case. Here are the numbers. I have ordered the players from best to worst using the expected goals metric (XGA per 60) from Natural Stat Trick. I required at least 20 minutes of PK time to be on the list. There are some surprises.

 

OEL 5.4
BUrroughs 5.7
Aman 5.8
Stillman 7.4
NHL Average 7.6
Miller 8
Bear 8.2
Mikheyev 8.3
Myers 8.4
Schenn 9.1
Petey 9.2
Horvat 9.2
Lazar 9.6
Hughes 10.9

 

This list does not fit the "narrative" very well. Yes, OEL is not having a good season overall and is significantly worse than he was last year. But his PK performance is the best on the team and in the top echelon in the league overall, despite playing in front of below-par goaltending. At the other end, Hughes has the worst XGA per 60 on the team. As Tochett says, he is being overplayed overall and overplayed on the PK in particular. 

 

Also, Lazar and Mikheyev were signed with the expectation that they would be good penalty killers. I like Lazar and I want him to do well, but he has been a disappointment in pretty much all areas this season, including the PK. It has been known for a long time that Horvat is not a great penalty killer but it is surprising that Petey has regressed. Tochett is probably right that he has been overplayed.  Miller is not too bad, which also does not fit the narrative.

 

Joshua has not played enough on the PK to be on the list but in the time has played he has the best (lowest) rate on the team.

 

5.Tochett is probably right. Hughes and Petey should not be on the PK. Probably Miller should come off as well. Horvat plays in part because he is the best face-off guy on the team, so he is usually the first guy over the boards on the PK. But, aside from that, he should come off the ice as soon as possible and stay off unless there is another faceoff.

 

6. The Canucks have been playing a fairly aggressive system on the PK which seems to result in overloading one area of the ice (or the dreaded "i formation") and giving up a high grade scoring chance in an open area. They might be better off with a more traditional more conservative "box" approach. However, when Petey is on the PK he generates a remarkable number of good chances the other way.  (Not shown in the above table.) But with anyone else an aggressive PK does not seem worthwhile.

 

7. I am not a Tochett fan but I think the PK will improve with him as head coach. I just don't want too much improvement this year as we should be tanking at this stage.

   
   
   
 

 

 

 

   
   
   
 
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I like that they brought in Gonchar and Foote to teach/mentor the D and with different personnel on the PK, I believe they'll be much better. Of course, an NHL goalie would help, but Demko should be back after the all-star break.

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7 minutes ago, NUCKER67 said:

I like that they brought in Gonchar and Foote to teach/mentor the D and with different personnel on the PK, I believe they'll be much better. Of course, an NHL goalie would help, but Demko should be back after the all-star break.

They played in a different era, that's my only worry.  I like the hires of Gonchar and Foote though.  Tocchet not so much, but we shall see.

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12 minutes ago, NUCKER67 said:

I like that they brought in Gonchar and Foote to teach/mentor the D and with different personnel on the PK, I believe they'll be much better. Of course, an NHL goalie would help, but Demko should be back after the all-star break.

Yeah IMO a good move to bring  in some vet D'men in a teaching role. We are unable to find quality D so the next best thing is to concentrate on making the current bunch better

Edited by Fred65
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When evaluating PK stats, I've noticed that 2nd unit players seem to have much better numbers than you might expect, leading me to believe there is a factor not being considered. I suspect the numbers themselves probably skew unrealistically in favour of those who player fewer minutes, perhaps due to timings of unit changes within the 2 minute PP or some other factor.

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13 minutes ago, Crabcakes said:

Tocchet doesn't want to be relying on top 6 / top 4 players on the PK.  So until he figures out that other coaches have tried this and failed, the PK will be worse

let's hope that's not true because Petey is a great pk'er

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16 minutes ago, stawns said:

Yeo wasn't/isn't responsible for the pk.  He is responsible for deploying the system and players that BB and now RT want for the pk.

hmmm maybe that is part of the problem

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21 minutes ago, -AJ- said:

When evaluating PK stats, I've noticed that 2nd unit players seem to have much better numbers than you might expect, leading me to believe there is a factor not being considered. I suspect the numbers themselves probably skew unrealistically in favour of those who player fewer minutes, perhaps due to timings of unit changes within the 2 minute PP or some other factor.

1.5 minutes against the best players in the league

vs

26 seconds against the 2nd unit starting in their own zone,

then getting scored on after the pk is done, affecting +/- but not pk stats

Edited by lmm
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59 minutes ago, JamesB said:

So far this year the Canucks have the worst PK in the NHL as measured by Goals Against per 60 minutes. They are also on track to have the worst penalty kill in franchise history as measured by the penalty kill success rate (which is not a great measure but is all we have for the full time period).

 

Here are some comments.

.

1. There are 4 reasons a team can have a bad penalty kill:

 

a. Poor Goaltending

b. Poor PK Personnel

c. Poor Systems

d. Bad Luck

 

2. The coach responsible for the PK is Mike Yeo. I don't see how he still has a job. Possibly Aquilini did not want to pay another guy not to coach and JR has to choose between dropping Yeo and dropping Cull (responsible for defence) and chose to drop Cull. It will be interesting to see how handles the PK going forward. Losing Brad Shaw as the PK coach really hurt the team. Losing Walker also hurt.

 

3. However, in explaining the poor PK, probably the most important factor is goaltending. If we look at expected goals against per 60 instead of actual goals against per 60, the Canucks are not that bad -- about 10th from last and not even in the bottom quarter. That means that Canuck goalies have let in a lot more goals on the PK than you would expect given the location of the shots taken.

 

4. But individual penalty killers have not been great.  I thought I would review PK  performance by individual penalty killers. PK performance is a relatively "clean" aspect of performance to evaluate. The only real issue is sample size so it is not clear whether actual goals against per 60 or expected goals against per 60 is a better measure. They give similar results in any case. Here are the numbers. I have ordered the players from best to worst using the expected goals metric (XGA per 60) from Natural Stat Trick. I required at least 20 minutes of PK time to be on the list. There are some surprises.

 

OEL 5.4
BUrroughs 5.7
Aman 5.8
Stillman 7.4
NHL Average 7.6
Miller 8
Bear 8.2
Mikheyev 8.3
Myers 8.4
Schenn 9.1
Petey 9.2
Horvat 9.2
Lazar 9.6
Hughes 10.9

 

This list does not fit the "narrative" very well. Yes, OEL is not having a good season overall and is significantly worse than he was last year. But his PK performance is the best on the team and in the top echelon in the league overall, despite playing in front of below-par goaltending. At the other end, Hughes has the worst XGA per 60 on the team. As Tochett says, he is being overplayed overall and overplayed on the PK in particular. 

 

Also, Lazar and Mikheyev were signed with the expectation that they would be good penalty killers. I like Lazar and I want him to do well, but he has been a disappointment in pretty much all areas this season, including the PK. It has been known for a long time that Horvat is not a great penalty killer but it is surprising that Petey has regressed. Tochett is probably right that he has been overplayed.  Miller is not too bad, which also does not fit the narrative.

 

Joshua has not played enough on the PK to be on the list but in the time has played he has the best (lowest) rate on the team.

 

5.Tochett is probably right. Hughes and Petey should not be on the PK. Probably Miller should come off as well. Horvat plays in part because he is the best face-off guy on the team, so he is usually the first guy over the boards on the PK. But, aside from that, he should come off the ice as soon as possible and stay off unless there is another faceoff.

 

6. The Canucks have been playing a fairly aggressive system on the PK which seems to result in overloading one area of the ice (or the dreaded "i formation") and giving up a high grade scoring chance in an open area. They might be better off with a more traditional more conservative "box" approach. However, when Petey is on the PK he generates a remarkable number of good chances the other way.  (Not shown in the above table.) But with anyone else an aggressive PK does not seem worthwhile.

 

7. I am not a Tochett fan but I think the PK will improve with him as head coach. I just don't want too much improvement this year as we should be tanking at this stage.

   
   
   
 

 

 

 

   
   
   
 
  1.  
   
   
   
   
   
   

it would be nice to see toi and shift length attached to the list

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I also wonder about goals scored directly off of a face off win, which affects the #1 unit, likely Horvat/Petey /Schenn/ Hughes /Myers

without stats evidence, but I recall some very fast goals, like 5-8 seconds, which will really hurt the top units #s

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1 hour ago, JamesB said:
OEL 5.4
BUrroughs 5.7
Aman 5.8
Stillman 7.4
NHL Average 7.6
Miller 8
Bear 8.2
Mikheyev 8.3
Myers 8.4
Schenn 9.1
Petey 9.2
Horvat 9.2
Lazar 9.6
Hughes 10.9

 

This list does not fit the "narrative" very well. Yes, OEL is not having a good season overall and is significantly worse than he was last year. But his PK performance is the best on the team and in the top echelon in the league overall, despite playing in front of below-par goaltending. At the other end, Hughes has the worst XGA per 60 on the team. As Tochett says, he is being overplayed overall and overplayed on the PK in particular. 

 

Also, Lazar and Mikheyev were signed with the expectation that they would be good penalty killers. I like Lazar and I want him to do well, but he has been a disappointment in pretty much all areas this season, including the PK. It has been known for a long time that Horvat is not a great penalty killer but it is sur

   
   

Very interesting analysis James!  

 

I have really liked Aman on the PK all year long, despite the bad results of our team overall.  Not surprised to see him and OEL near the top.  

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56 minutes ago, -AJ- said:

When evaluating PK stats, I've noticed that 2nd unit players seem to have much better numbers than you might expect, leading me to believe there is a factor not being considered. I suspect the numbers themselves probably skew unrealistically in favour of those who player fewer minutes, perhaps due to timings of unit changes within the 2 minute PP or some other factor.

This is a very good point. I noticed the same thing. However, when I have done this in the past that effect was less obvious. For example, during the peak years of 2009-2012, Burrows and Kesler had lights out PK numbers even though they were always "first over the boards".

 

But probably quality of competition is having some effect. Horvat and Petey have usually been going out first, along with Schenn and Hughes, so they play against the first unit PP on the other team.

 

However, usually the penalty killers change up faster than the PP so the secondary PK unit gets some time against the top PP unit. And even the second unit PP is pretty good.

Still, I think you are right that quality of competition has some effect that helps the second PK unit. What makes it worse is that the Canuck first unit PK has often gotten trapped on the ice and unable to make a quick line change.

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39 minutes ago, lmm said:

it would be nice to see toi and shift length attached to the list

 

26 minutes ago, lmm said:

I also wonder about goals scored directly off of a face off win, which affects the #1 unit, likely Horvat/Petey /Schenn/ Hughes /Myers

without stats evidence, but I recall some very fast goals, like 5-8 seconds, which will really hurt the top units #s

You are right that this would be useful information. I think shift length is especially important. I should have added shift length and toi to the table but I have to apologize for being too lazy to do it now.

 

However, these numbers seem more out of whack that what I recall from the past which makes me think that there was a coaching problem in terms of personnel assignment -- and that is mainly on Yeo.

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