Mailbag: The penalty kill, Jesper FastFebruary 20, 2016, by
Two questions for the mailbag this week. As always, submit your questions via the widget on the right, and we will answer them on a weekly basis.
Ray observes: This is more of an observation about the penalty kill than a question. So I’m going to put the full email from Ray below, it’s superb analysis.
I looked up some surprisingly hard to find numbers and did some calculations that might be of interest. I found my starting numbers on War-on-Ice. The stat is simple enough — TOI/GA (time-on-ice per goals against), so one is rating defenders by the simple metric of how well they keep the puck out of the net. High numbers are good.
I list all Rangers with at least 10 minutes of PK time and asterisk those with < 50 minutes.
For completeness, Brass and Zuc each have given up one goal and played between 7 and 10 minutes, while Yandle leads all players with zero goals against in TOI with 2 minutes 48 seconds.
My takeaways: AV has not managed the situation well. Among forwards, Stalberg has been great and yet is only fifth in ice time (and would be sixth if Stoll had not been traded). Lindberg is good but ignored (If you give Nash and Step credit for the Rangers one meager SH goal, they are comparable to Moore.)
On defense, I think six goals against is maybe enough to show McIlrath does not belong on the PK in the NHL — unless you view it as a high cost learning experience. OTOH, Staal is having a much better year than we think.
Further, Boyle has been real plus ( 3 GA in 33 minutes) and should be used more. Instinct tells us that offensive-minded defensemen like Boyle and Yandle will not be good on the PK while the more defensive McIlrath will be, but unless you actually put these guys on the ice, you just don’t know.
Of course, goals against stats don’t precisely tell us who is good and who is not. To be succinct, they don’t tell us why the PK is bad. However, they tell us exactly why the PK has had poor results this year. So McDonagh (22 GA) might be playing better than Staal (13 GA), but the reason people are despondent about the PP is because of what is happening when McDonagh is on the ice.
————– (Dave from here on)
Thanks Ray. This is good stuff. PK goals against can be affected by a number of different things, but it’s good that you accounted for those that play more on the PK by creating a rate stat instead of a counting stat. I think it’s been clear AV has mismanaged the PK, both in personnel and systems. There seems to be too much reliance on what was working then instead of what is working now. The players also need to figure it out, because they are blowing assignments left and right.
Hawkeye1214 asks: Ever since Nash went down and Zucc finally joined Kreider and Stepan, Fast has been a Top 6 Forward with a “certain role” with Brassard and Miller. In my opinion, I like Fast as a 4th liner, especially as someone who doesn’t anchor Dom Moore. I use to believe that he should be him with Moore and Stalberg/Bourque( in a dream world where Glass and Paille don’t exist in the NHL), yet ever since his recent move, he proves me wrong. Why is he performing so great, and where would you put him if you were in charge of lineups?
Fast is a very smart player with a certain set of skills that makes him able to play anywhere in the lineup. He has the IQ to play in the top-six, even if he may not have the hands to do so long term. He’s immensely versatile, something every team needs when they deal with injuries.
That said, Fast is a lot like Brian Boyle, in the sense that the Rangers will be at their best when he is on the fourth line. I compare him to Boyle because during the 2011-2012 run, Boyle was on the third line. We stated here that the Rangers are a true contender when he’s on the fourth line. Two years later, that happened, and the Rangers went to the Stanley Cup Final.
When the Rangers get Nash back, and assuming they deal for one more forward, Fast will be back on the fourth line. Preferably with Moore and Stalberg. That’s the fourth line the Rangers need in order to make a deep run again. That’s not to take anything away from Fast, who has been great for the Rangers this year. It’s just roster construction. The deeper the better.
Thanks for the good questions/observations this week."Mailbag: The penalty kill, Jesper Fast",