Archive for Defense

brendan smith

Note: Big welcome to Chris (@yolo_pinyato), the newest writer at BSB. Chris has put together some phenomenal work at HockeyGraphs, and has present at the RIT Hockey Analytics Conference. We are all stoked to have him on board. Give him a follow on Twitter and check out his work, it’s great stuff.

With the Rangers season already perilously close to teetering off the edge of contention, I wanted to take a quick look at the Ranger’s big offseason acquisition, Kevin Shattenkirk.

First a quick breakdown of the data:

When looking at Shattenkirk’s shot impacts last year at 5v5, we can see that relative to competition, he was by far the best player of the Rangers’ current set of defensemen. The shot impacts are weighted meaning that if two players had the same Corsi For% but different levels of competition, the player with the stronger competition would be higher on the y-axis.

Read More→

Comments (33)
Oct
16

The Rangers have a deployment problem

Posted by: | Comments (35)

ryan mcdonagh

The Rangers have had a myriad of problems to start the season. Jeff Gorton put together a flawed roster that was weak up front. Alain Vigneault isn’t doing anything to minimize those issues. The players have been inconsistent and not scoring. They’ve been a rare combination of bad and unlucky.

There is more to the issue though. As AV continues to tinker with his lineup choices, his in-game deployment strategy suffers mightily. For better or for worse, AV relies on one defense pairing to shoulder the load of defensive zone starts, giving his offensive guys more opportunities to put points on the board. This year, though, he hasn’t identified who his shutdown pair is and who is offensive pair is, and that’s a problem.

Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Defense
Comments (35)

anthony deangelo

The preseason has wrapped up, and the regular season is just around the corner, which means it’s time to speculate about the way this lineup is going to shake out. Now, even though I personally enjoy wild speculation, as it happens corsica.hockey, the premier online stats database is back online after a summer hiatus, so we’ll be making somewhat educated guesses today. As an aside, I highly suggest you play around with Corsica, as I’ve learned a ton just exploring the numbers on there. What I’m interested in exploring today is something a little less sexy than how Filip Chytil will do, or who’s going to lead the team in points – what we’re going to be talking about today is how well Anthony DeAngelo might play with Marc Staal.

The top two pairings for the Rangers this season are pretty much set, with McDonagh/Shattenkirk and Smith/Skjei being more or less guaranteed at this point, although maybe there’s a little variation within that set of four players depending on the scenario or how AV is feeling. That leaves Anthony DeAngelo, who had a standout showing in preseason, to be paired most likely with Marc Staal. In a perfect world he’d be with someone like Pionk, but given that one of Staal or Holden is likely to play (I’d imagine hell freezes over before AV sits BOTH of them in the press box) and given that Staal is much more likely to play than Holden for a host of reasons, it’s looking like DeAngelo is going to be paired with Staal. So how will he fare?

Read More→

Categories : Defense
Comments (15)
Sep
22

Making sense of the defensive options

Posted by: | Comments (46)

SNY.com

So far in this young training camp, Rangers fans a have been treated to a new-look defense.  Youth and mobility have been the themes of these new additions, but there are still a few hold over veterans who aren’t an obvious fit for the roster and some question marks about some of the younger guys the organization has brought in.

Just to qualify this discussion, it has been two pre-season games.  At least for the young guys, the sample size is far too small to draw any reliable conclusions about their effectiveness or ability to thrive against full-time NHL competition.  We haven’t even seen Alexei Bereglazov yet.

Read More→

Categories : Defense
Comments (46)

nick holden

Jeff Gorton’s main focus this offseason was retooling the blue line. He did so with what amounted to a major overhaul. Dan Girardi was bought out and essentially replaced with Kevin Shattenkirk. Anthony DeAngelo was brought in as a result of the blockbuster trade involving Derek Stepan. Kevin Klein retired. Brendan Smith was re-signed. And the Rangers inked two solid undrafted free agents in Alexei Bereglazov and Nick Pionk. All in all, the Rangers will have a vastly improved blue line this season.

However there are still many questions on the blue line. As we all pencil in Shattenkirk alongside Ryan McDonagh, some of us are left to wonder if that is truly the top pairing. As Brady Skjei is penciled into the 2LD spot, some wonder if that is still Marc Staal’s spot to lose. Many of these questions are aimed at the coaching staff, as Gorton has certainly done his job.

Read More→

Categories : Defense
Comments (65)

kevin shattenkirk

Last summer Jeff Gorton made the Rangers into one of the most dynamic scoring machines in the league. The forwards were vastly improved and they could seemingly score at will. But that dried up against the good teams in the playofs because the defense simply couldn’t keep up. That made Gorton’s for this summer goal clear: Fix the defense.

By buying out Dan Girardi, essentially replacing him with Kevin Shattenkirk, and re-signing Brendan Smith, the Rangers have what could potentially be the best top-four in the Metro Division. A potential pairing of Shattenkirk with Ryan McDonagh also gives the Rangers what could be a top pairing that is top-five in the league. No hyperbole.

Read More→

Categories : Defense
Comments (83)

nick holden

The performance of the Rangers’ defensive pairs has been a pain point for many this playoff season. Most Ranger fans agree that the Nick Holden/Marc Staal pair has been awful (I’ve written many words about them). That the Brendan Smith/Brady Skjei pair has been solid (and them). That Dan Girardi, while not exactly amazing, has had a better playoffs than anticipated. And Ryan McDonagh is awesome.

But is that really true?

The playoffs are a whole difference animal, where PDO has a huge impact on how we perceive performance. In the playoffs, which are essentially four mini seasons of seven games, you’re better off being lucky than good. Poor results overshadow great process. And great results overshadow poor process. There simply isn’t enough time for the numbers to correct themselves. It skews how we view success, and it’s completely expected.

Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Defense, Playoffs
Comments (27)
ryan mcdonagh

Photo: Winslow Townson/AP

The final preview piece for the first round is one that is sure to decide the series, and that is the blue line. The Rangers have had issues with their defensive units all year long, but added Brendan Smith at the deadline. The Habs, who did not have such issues,  added Nikita Nesterov and Jordie Benn at the deadline, moves which improved their depth.

The Habs are projected to have the following pairs for the playoffs:

Shea Weber-Andrei Markov
Alexei Emelin-Jeff Petry
Jordie Benn-Nathan Beaulieu

Read More→

Categories : Defense, Playoffs
Comments (12)
Mar
24

Dan Girardi back in lineup, on top pair

Posted by: | Comments (11)

Per Larry Brooks, Dan Girardi is back in the lineup. He is practicing on the top pair with Ryan McDonagh. Marc Staal and Nick Holden are back together. Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith are the third pair. Adam Clendening and Steve Kampfer are the scratches.

This is what we expected from Alain Vigneault, as disappointing as it is. At this point it’s beyond the players, it’s on the coach. These are not the optimal pairs for a team that wants to succeed in the playoffs.

Who knows? Maybe this is just a one game thing before AV tinkers more. But I’m not optimistic. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Categories : Defense
Comments (11)

Ryan McDonagh has regained his status as one of the league’s elite defensemen

In hindsight, the 7-6 circus loss to the Dallas Stars on January 17 might have been the low-water mark of the 2016-2017 season for the Rangers. That marked the third time in 11 games the club yielded as many as seven goals and the Blueshirts were mired in a stretch of atrocious defensive play that made playoff contention seem comical.

But since that night, New York has given up four goals or more only six times in 27 games, and just twice surrendered as many as five.

In fact, the Rangers have allowed just 64 goals over that timeframe – a stingy 2.37 goals-against per game, which would rank fourth in the league if it were the team’s season-long rate.

Read More→

Categories : Defense
Comments (28)