Lennart Petrell's Blip - Real or Illusory?

Earlier today I wrote about Lennart Petrell 's play over the last seven games and how remarkable the change has been. Frequent commenter John Chambers (not the Cisco CEO) thought part of the explanation might lie in his shiny new Young Gunz!1-heavy minutes:

Let’s not forget that Petrell spent 3 games or so alongside Nugent and Eberle. They weren’t gangbusters during that stretch, but that would certainly bump Petrell’s possession statistics over this 7-game sample.

It's a valid thought. Tom Renney put Petrell on next to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle in what seemed like a foolhardy effort to jumpstart Petrell and bring some defensive presence to the line. Does it hold up?

Prior to Anton Lander's demotion, the young Swede was Petrell's most common teammate at even strength, as the two were together for 66% of Petrell's even strength time on ice. The only Oilers who were together on the ice more frequently were Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle has been on the ice for 70% of Hopkins' even strength time on ice.

In the last seven games, Petrell played 71.3 minutes at even strength. The tables below break down his on-ice teammates:

# Teammate TOI %
4 Taylor Hall 3.5 5%
10 Shawn Horcoff 18.7 26%
14 Jordan Eberle 21.8 31%
16 Darcy Hordichuk 9 13%
20 Eric Belanger 28.3 40%
23 Linus Omark 10.7 15%
28 Ryan Jones 5.1 7%
55 Ben Eager 4.3 6%
83 Ales Hemsky 5 7%
89 Sam Gagner 3.1 4%
93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 22 31%
94 Ryan Smyth 11.6 16%

His most common non-goalie teammate was Eric Belanger with Hopkins and Eberle up next, then Horcoff.

# Teammate TOI %
5 Ladislav Smid 22.4 31%
6 Ryan Whitney 24.4 34%
13 Cam Barker 6.8 10%
15 Nick Schultz 19.2 27%
24 Theo Peckham 5.4 8%
25 Andy Sutton 14.9 21%
44 Corey Potter 26.3 37%
58 Jeff Petry 24 34%

His time on ice with the defense was spread relatively evenly amongst the full-time blueliners.

# Teammate TOI %
34 Yann Danis 3.6 5%
35 Nikolai Khabibulin 47.5 67%
40 Devan Dubnyk 19.9 28%

So Hopkins and Eberle are his second and third-most common linemates. How was his play affected?

SF SA Shots % Fenwick F Fenwick A Fenwick % Corsi F Corsi A Corsi %
Petrell 34 25 0.576 51 37 0.580 64 61 0.512
37 w/Gunz 13 11 0.542 15 18 0.455 18 24 0.429
37 w/o Gunz 21 14 0.600 36 19 0.655 46 37 0.554

His results certainly aren't being driven by Eberle and Hopkins, and he's played just 3.5 minutes with Taylor Hall, so the Young gunz!1-centric explanation doesn't hold water.

All of the caveats about sample size still apply, but Petrell's numbers are worth keeping an eye on.

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