Posts Tagged ‘zach parise’

The Minnesota Wild have had a crazy couple of months—despite playing pretty terrible in terms of puck possession, they have found ways to win games. In the span of a couple weeks, the team lost their two best forwards, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu to injury. Add onto that the injury to Jared Spurgeon and the condition of Josh Harding, and the Wild found themselves in the midst of a whole heap of adversity. Read on…

I’ve been meaning to dust off a couple of stats I toyed around with recently–neither was developed by me but I think they’re interesting and informative. And as is the case with most statistical studies, the results may surprise you.

The first stat is a “Puck Hog” metric that was introduced last year by Ben Wendorf on the NHL Numbers website (folow Ben on Twitter, he’s a good Wisconsin boy!) The stat is very straightforward, and is simply the proportion of Fenwick events for which a player is responsible out of the total number of Fenwick events that occur when he is on the ice. The simple equation is this:

ASR formula

I previously checked out how the Wild players stacked up almost a year ago to the day (freaky.) The first thing I notice about that list when I look at it today is that most of the names are no longer with the team. I included a fair bit more information in my previous post but today I’ll just get right to it. Here are the top 5 Wild forwards in terms of their “Puck Hog” tendencies. For a variety of reasons, defensemen have very low ratios so we’ll just focus on forwards. All stats 5v5, data from extraskater.com Read on…


Today we celebrate my becoming an uncle by cracking some Surly anniversary brew and some double-oaked bourbon and talk about the Wild’s new jerseys, their offseason moves, and fantasy hockey.

Despite notching an assist on the Wild’s only goal of the game last night, the 20-year old Finn who was styled a Wunderkind entering this year has generally looked like he could not shoot his way out of a paper bag. Mikael Granlund has 16 shots on goal in 12 games this year, just 1.33 per game, while his CorsiOn is a capital-D Dreadful -28.60, which ranks ninth-lowest in the league among forwards with more than five games played. While he has looked better the last couple games and might finally be developing some chemistry with fellow member of the -20 corsi club, Devin Setoguchi, Granlund has just looked overmatched and overwhelmed to me this year.

Meanwhile, fellow rookie Charlie Coyle has found himself in the enviable position of skating alongside Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise beginning with just the second game of his career. Coyle has not dented the scoresheet yet and actually has less shots per game than Granlund, just 6 SOG in 5 GP (1.2 shots per game.) Coyle is one of just five Wild forwards with a positive CorsiOn this year (Koivu, Parise, Coyle, Brodziak, Clutterbuck.) Both are getting difficult minutes, with Coyle’s QoC number at a hefty 1.15 and Granlund’s at 0.80. But one thing Coyle is doing better than Granlund is drawing penalties: 3.1 drawn per 60 minutes vs 1.0 taken for Charlie, 0.4 drawn, 0.8 taken per 60 for Mikael.

Like a lot of folks, coming into this season I thought Granlund wouldn’t have much trouble adapting to the NHL game–he had played at a high level in one of the toughest European leagues for several years, and showed promise in the AHL before getting injured. Now I’m wondering what factors may be contributing to his poor start to his Minnesota career. The rinks are a different size in the SM-liiga, bigger than the NHL but smaller than Olympic size if my research is correct…but Granlund played a number of games with Houston during the lockout so that’s probably not it. I’m starting to wonder if his role as a playmaker and his lack of size and defensive skill aren’t a great match in Mike Yeo’s system. While Coyle gets to skate with All-Stars and his direction is pretty much, “hey kid, shoot the puck when they pass it to you,” Granlund is responsible for setting up guys and creating chances, and thinking three moves ahead in the NHL chess game has got to be tougher than the AHL or the liiga. Plus, Coyle has gotten his assignment and stuck with it, while Granlund has skated a few games with Cullen, a couple with Bouchard, and even one with Konopka. The constant for 64 has been Setoguchi, who has had an equally dreadful season start though he has shown signs of life lately. I don’t really want to get into a chicken v. egg argument, but Granlund and Setoguchi have been tied together for the first quarter of the season and one figures that if Yeo was going to split them up, he would have done so by now.

I feel like I’ve written a lot about line combos the last few weeks, and my reaction has been…alright yeah, I guess I like that. Sure, that could work too. At the risk of being a broken record, I do like the newest iteration of the Wild’s second line with Dany Heatley rejoining Setoguchi with Granlund as the pivot. Heatley and Gooch played together in San Jose, and again last year on the Wild’s top line. They do seem to have some good chemistry, and let’s face it, Heatley hasn’t resembled a first-liner for three years. I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that his place on the team is on the second unit for a while, so we’ll see how he reacts.

I am trying to remain patient with this team, and Setoguchi in particular, but one can only watch so many games where the team goes 10-minutes at a stretch without putting a shot on goal before wondering when it’s time to give guys like Jason Zucker a shot. We may already be seeing signs of this, as Bouchard and his expiring contract were a healthy scratch last night against the Canucks…you can only roll the dice so many times before you have to get new dice.

Shake ‘em up, shake ‘em up, shake ‘em up, shake ‘em. Mike Yeo is playing the lineup card like Ice Cube plays craps. He put Mikael Granlund and Devin Setoguchi on the fourth line with Zenon Konopka earlier this week at Phoenix, and while they seemed to respond to his “message,” the team still lost. Now, Yeo is moving Dany Heatley off the top line, to the second line with Bouchard and Matt Cullen, while Charlie Coyle will get time with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise versus the Canucks. I think this is less of story than it seems to be on its face…Heatley has not played like a top-liner in years, and if Coyle is the guy they want to see next to Koivu and Parise, might as well get him started earlier. The team is floundering so there’s not a lot to lose. Between the line changes and the trade with the Rangers, I like the club’s approach that the status is definitely not quo–they signed Parise and Suter to build a playoff-worthy team and if players aren’t producing, they need to know that their lineup spot is not safe (unless your name is Matt Cullen…)

  •  Cue the sad trombone…the team’s only two players with a positive CorsiOn are Cal Clutterbuck (9.02) and Kyle Brodziak (2.56), and their on-ice Sh% are sub-4%. Womp womp. I honestly think that if Brodziak was having a better year, he may get a look at the 2C spot, but his numbers from the last half-dozen games have been capital-t Terrible.
  •  I do like what my eye has seen from Jonas Brodin so far, and he’s been playing well enough to keep his top-line assignment. Yeo trusts him enough to send him out for DZ-faceoffs (56.9% of the time he’s been deployed in the Wild zone.) He’s also been logging the sheer quantity of minutes that will help him develop, and even a couple on the man advantage.
  •  Mikael Granlund is just lost out there. I can’t really figure it out, he played against top competition in the SM-liiga and tore it up over there, and then looked fine in the AHL during the lockout. Granlund’s CorsiRelQoC is still just a shade under 1.0, so he is getting tested, but he is flunking that test. Mike Russo has written that Granlund may be the “odd man out” with the new line combos, so we might see him as a healthy scratch in the near future. Which would be a shame, but perhaps the kid just needs a little time to get himself together. But he won’t benefit from playing bottom-six minutes alongside Konopka or Rupp, and sending him back to Houston may be the wrong move too, so I sure hope he gets it figured out.
  •  I wonder if Ryan Suter and Shea Weber call each other late at night after practice, “No I miss YOU more,” …”No I miss YOU more,” “No I miss YOU more.”

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It’s a rainy day in Southern California–a perfect time to stay inside and look at some early returns from the Minnesota Wild’s first three games. I’m having trouble navigating the behindthenet.ca site, so for now I’ll have to settle with just a basic look at Corsi-related stats. Once I figure out what I’m doing wrong over there I’ll be able to dig deeper and get into some more thorough analysis. All numbers posted below are even-strength.

Top Line: Parise-Koivu-Heatley

The first thing I see is that Mike Yeo has been capitalizing on the club’s three straight home games and using the top line in an opportune way. All three skaters have been started heavily in the offensive zone (65.2% for Parise and Heatley, 62.5% for Koivu) and all have faced soft competition (CorsiRel QoC of around -2.0 to -2.1 for Parise and Heatley and -1.9 for Koivu.) The skaters have jumped on the opportunity and directed pucks on net–Corsi On right around 7 for the wingers and an astounding 19.05 for Koivu. Obviously the sample is small that that’s impressive. The line has looked very good to my eyes, but I see that they haven’t had great puck luck, the three have on ice Sh% just over 4. This line is absolutely driving the Wild offense right now with CorsiRel of 14.5-14.7 for Heatley and Parise, and 31.4 (!!) for Koivu. We’ll see how the coach continues to use the top line on the road, but if the team wants to make the playoffs, they’ll need to get some offense out of the rest of the roster, which brings us to…

Second Line: Cullen-Granlund-Setoguchi

I wrote earlier this week about how I don’t particularly like Cullen on this line, but I see why Yeo has him paired with Granlund. I hope Yeo mixes up the pairings as the season goes on so for now I’ll hold my tongue. This line has been getting the tough competition–CorsiRel QoC of 2.8 for Cullen, 3.0 for Seto, and 3.3 for Granlund! Their possession numbers are paying the price for it, Granlund has a CorsiOn of -4.5 but Cullen (-10.8) and Setoguchi (-13.9) are seeing the ice tilted against them quite severely. Mike Yeo seems to be sheltering Granlund (OZ Start 60%) for sure and Setoguchi a bit (54.5%) with Cullen getting the nod defensively (45.5%). Granlund and Setoguchi have had a bit better luck, but their on ice Sh% are still pretty low (5.88 Setoguchi, 6.667 Granlund, and a big fat goose egg for Cullen.) I’m sure these usage numbers will change as the sample gets larger but I’m surprised to see this line get the brunt of the tough minutes when I thought they would go to better-established two-way players like

Third Line: Bouchard-Brodziak-Clutterbuck

Brodziak and Clutterbuck have a rep for playing solid 200-ft games, so I’m a little surprised to see their middling competition numbers–Bouchard has 0.5 CorsiRelQoC and the others actually negative, though just barely. Bouchard and Clutterbuck have a CorsiOn just over 5 right now while Brodziak is seeing a lot of rubber flying his way, with a -13.3. All three have OZ Start% north of 50 (56.5 Brodziak, 59.1 Clutterbuck, and 61.9 Bouchard) but they are winding up at the other end of the ice–OZ finsih% approaching 40. No es bueno. I like the composition of this line with the three bringing different playstyles to the table, so perhaps they need some more time to gel, but I’ll be keeping an eye on this line because these early numbers point to them being somewhat of a liability.

I don’t really want to get into the fourth line of Powe-Mitchell-Konopka, but the only number I’ll point out is their on ice Sv% of .909 (TM, ZK) and .917 (DP). Ouch.

Blue Line

The Wild blue line is hurting right now, but Jonas Brodin is slated to get the start tonight against Detroit. Scandella is down in Houston but I liked what I saw from him last year so I hope they bring him up soon. Dumba has been practicing with the team but hasn’t seen game action yet–I’d bet the money in my wallet that they don’t burn a year of his ELC but I sure want to see him get a couple games.

Spurgeon and Suter have seen the toughest competition of the defensemen, though their CorsiRelQoC are only about 0.7 to 0.8. Their CorsiOn is not great though, -9.5 for Spurgeon and -16 for Suter. The goalies haven’t helped either, as Suter has an on ice Sv% at .900 and Spurgeon .889. It looks like Spurgeon has drawn a couple penalties, which is good to see, but until the blue line gets a little clearer I don’t think there’s too much to squeeze out of these numbers.

I’m gearing up for continuing my podcast this weekend, should have it ready by Monday–if you have fantasy hockey questions, send them to hashtaghockey [at] gee mail dot com or tweet me @Hashtag_Hockey. Thanks for reading!

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