Faceoff Numbers: Things Worth Shouting From Rooftops

So, yesterday, I made a point of mentioning some of the useful/cutting edge stuff that Vic Ferrari's doing over at Irreverent Oiler Fans. Today, he topped all of it, providing a bunch of data about where players were taking faceoffs, data that I've been wondering about for a long time. He broke down where draws occured, awarding a +1 for a defensive end draw, and a -1 for an offensive end draw. On his blog he looks at how this affected defensemen, and gave us this list:

Greene: -14
Roy: -9
Souray: 11
Rourke: 15
Grebeshkov: 17
Tarnstrom: 33
Pitkanen: 40
Gilbert: 50
Smid: 56
Staios: 117

See anything interesting there? Because I do. Ferrari points out that Matt Greene (allegedly a shutdown defender) does badly by this metric, although he neglects to point out that with all that offensive zone start-time Greene was getting, he sure wasn't adding much in the way of offense, so he was depriving a player who could actually help score a goal of ice-time on the right side of the redline. He also points to the ridiculous number of draws Staios took- if there were any question about which of that group MacTavish/Huddy trust in their own end, it should be gone. And those who ripped on Staios this season should take a look at that number.

Beyond that, I think these numbers show some nice things about Smid and especially Gilbert going forward, and help temper the excitement about Denis Grebeshkov (at least a little bit).

For some reason, though, Ferrari didn't do a similar chart up for forwards. Let me give some highlights in this area now, from the data he provided a link to on his website:

Nilsson: -24
Gagner: -22
Penner: -19
Glencross: -18
Cogliano: -11
Hemsky: -11
Stortini: 11
Brodziak: 21
Torres: 35
Horcoff: 43
Pisani: 45
Reasoner: 141
Stoll: 181

What do we notice? For starters, the kids, Penner, Hemsky and Glencross were put into offensive situations, and for the most part succeeded. Beyond that, the two centres who recieved a ton of criticism this year, were "human sacrifices" (I can't remember who said it first, but it was a good line) to keep the kids from getting torched.

Stoll and Reasoner's numbers stand out for two reasons; the first being that their numbers this year (and this includes errors, Mr. Staples) were influenced in a huge way by the position they were placed in, a position to fail. The second thing is that somebody has to take all those draws this year; Horcoff's going to be spread awfully thin, and I think one of the kids (probably Brodziak, maybe Pouliot) is going to get tossed into this position and just killed.

It might not be a bad idea, from a development standpoint, to pick up a Chris Gratton or Brian Smolinski, to keep kids with relatively fragile confidence from having it destroyed. I know I've been against a Smolinski signing previously, based on his footspeed, but that shouldn't be a huge problem if he's the guy always deployed in the defensive end.

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