Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Beau Bennett Trade Tree

I have a feeling that the Beau Bennett trade tree will be a short one. In 47 games in the OHL, Hall has an average of .19 points per game.

Given that most of the good defensemen in the NHL were racking up points in junior and college, that’s not a good sign:

This is what the Penguins Inside Scoop had to say about Hall:

* While Hall is from Kitchener, Ontario – where he plays major junior for his hometown Rangers – he actually grew up a big fan of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.

“I enjoyed watching them through the whole playoffs and really cheered them on,” said Hall, who attended a couple of games at Mellon Arena when he was young. “Just overall, just love the city of Pittsburgh and really excited to join the Penguins organization.”

It helps that his current Ontario Hockey League head coach is Jay McKee, who spent his final NHL season in Pittsburgh back in 2009-10.

“He played for the Penguins a while back. He had a fun time there,” Hall smiled.

* Being such a fan of the team, it was surreal for Hall to hear his name called by the Pens and put on the brand-new Pittsburgh Gold jersey. He joked that his new sweater would fit right into the décor of his room at home.

“It’s an unbelievable experience,” he said. “Everyone always says that you never forget these moments and to be drafted by the Stanley Cup champions, it’s really a dream come true.”

It’s even sweeter after the season that he had, where Hall played just three games in the first half because of a 10-game suspension and a broken jaw sustained in a fight.

Ryan Wilson wrote a good post comparing this draft class to some recent Penguin defensemen . I took his idea and ran with it:

Click to see larger image. Source: http://www.eliteprospects.com/

Now, maybe Hall will turn on the offense after dealing with a jaw injury. Maybe not. I’m always hopeful that the Penguins find a diamond in the rough, but in this case, I’m skeptical.

Updated: I added a graph that shows only the player’s first season in their respective youth league.

defensemeny1

Stanley Cup Parade Pictures

I had the good fortune to attend the Stanley Cup parade on Wednesday. I took some pictures. Enjoy!

Changes Part II: Players

*All metrics below are 5v5 score-adjusted*

Following my last post, I wanted to take a look at how the coaching change in Pittsburgh impacted individual players.

First, let’s look at shot generation: Forwards.corsi.for The first line of Kunitz-Crosby-Hornqvist is the biggest beneficiary of the coaching change. The second line increased slightly, while the rest of the players experienced middling results.

Defense.corsi.for The defense experienced improvement across the board, Letang most significantly.

The forwards experienced similar positive changes in scoring chance generation.

Forwards.chances.for The defense followed the same path.

Defense.chances.for In terms of individual shot generation, Patric Hornqvist experienced the largest increase among forwards.

Forwards.iCF60 The second pairing of Dumoulin-Lovejoy increased their individual shot generation the most.

Defense.iCF60 The changes in individual scoring chances followed the same pattern. Again, Hornqvist improved the most.

Forwards.iSC60

Defense.iSC60

Now, let’s review shot and scoring chance suppression.

Most of the forwards had a distinct drop in shots against.

Forwards.corsi.against

The defense also improved in shot suppression.

Defense.corsi.against

In scoring chances against, the same general pattern held for the forwards and defense. Curiously, Kunitz is the only member of the first line to have an increase in scoring chances against.

Forwards.chances.against Defense:

Defense.chances.against

Finally, let’s look at primary point production.

Crosby is the obvious standout here. I wouldn’t read too much into the other results because players go into slumps all the time for reasons we aren’t privy to.

Forwards.PP60 Letang is the other standout in point production. Again, I wouldn’t read into the other players too heavily.

Defense.PP60

The main takeaway here is that Sullivan’s system is designed to let the top players be top players. Crosby, Malkin, and Letang are driving play at a much improved rate. Crosby’s current point streak indicates that his slump at the beginning of the year is over with. More importantly (for some), Sullivan’s Penguins are a lot more fun to watch.

Changes

* All metrics shown below are 5v5 score-adjusted*

Mike Johnston struggled to keep the Penguins above water in 2015-2016. Johnston was handed a deficient defensive corps and radically changed his system to shield the defense that he clearly had no confidence in. It appeared that Johnston would rather keep the game close instead of taking risks and giving the top talent a chance to make a difference. This resulted in a drop in shot generation and suppression.

mikejohnston

Note that the team generated approximately the same amount of scoring chances, but began leaking shots and scoring changes against at an untenable rate.

Johnston’s change in strategy is even more pronounced when you review the data historically.

Pittsburgh Penguins Line Chart

Rutherford eventually made some changes to try to steer the ship away from the iceberg. Out goes Johnston. In comes Sullivan. Adam Gretz noted that Rutherford also made significant roster moves:

Replacing Rob Scuderi with Trevor Daley has worked out so far. Pascal Dupuis, whose career ended unfortunately, was under-performing in his role. Carl Hagelin, traded for Perron and Clendening, looks capable of filling in the role of a realistically 3rd line player that is fast enough to keep up with Crosby or Malkin. Rust, Sheary, and Wilson will hopefully solidify the 3rd and 4th lines, while Pouliot could make a push into the top-4.

Head coach Mike Sullivan has unleashed the hounds. Judging by the style of play, he’s more comfortable .

Johnston:

Sullivan:

Examining how the change in coaching staff has impacted the Penguins’ metrics:
Between Sullivan and the roster changes, the Penguins have markedly improved all of their shot metrics.  I’m dubious that the dip in shooting % can be strongly explained by any change in strategy or personnel. The most straightforward explanation for the dip in save % is Marc-Andre Fleury’s injury and Jeff Zatkoff’s subsequent rise in playing time.

Mike Sullivan has the team headed in the right direction. Whether they have enough time to make up lost ground is a different question.