I was discussing Patrick O'Sullivan with a Blueshirts fan friend of mine yesterday when the subject turned to on-ice save and shooting percentages. I immediately leapt to the conclusion that O'Sullivan would be lagging in both categories, as his performance early in the year was poor. So I began digging into the numbers using Vic's always amazing timeonice tool. I was sure that it was going to tell me that O'Sullivan was poor, and that J.F. Jacques was an anchor. What I found is that Shawn Horcoff is in the midst of a brutal stretch of luck, and that luck combined with J.F. Jacques' unique ability to get outshot 3-2 consistently makes Horcoff's numbers look far, far worse than they should be. But I also found that O'Sullivan's numbers aren't as bad as everyone thinks, he's just being hauled down by Horcoff's bad luck and J.F. Jacques. Below the break, I take a more detailed look at the numbers.
The chart below shows the even strength statistics for the three players mentioned above. All of these stats are on ice stats, meaning they are a sum total of the events happening for both teams while those players are on the ice. Some key numbers to keep in mind: O'Sullivan has been outscored 19 GF - 32 GA at even strength this year. He's been outshot 257-317. Horcoff has been outscored 18 GF - 32 GA at even strength this year. He's barely been outshot, 250-266. Take a look at some of the combinations:
||Shots For ||Sh. Pct. ||Shots Against
|Jacques - Horcoff -O'Sullivan
|Horcoff & Jacques
|O'Sullivan & Jacques
|Horcoff & O'Sullivan
|Horcoff & O'Sullivan w/o Jacques
|Jacques w/o Horcoff||8
|O'Sullivan w/o Horcoff
|Horcoff w/o O'Sullivan
J.F. Jacques is outshot 2-1 without Horcoff. When paired together, Horcoff is able to stop some of the bleeding as they are outshot 4-3. Without Jacques, Horcoff is actually outshooting this year at 169-154. O'Sullivan is able to do much of the same as the two are outshot at around 4-3. Away from Jacques, O'Sullivan is being outshot 5-4.5, which is impressive on this team. As a threesome, they've been outshot by slightly more, but they've been absolutely doomed by their goaltenders putting up Bantams replacement goalie-like .780 save percentage. Stop a puck already, won't ya?
Look at the numbers for Horcoff and O'Sullivan without Jacques. They manage to outshoot, 55-52, but are outscored 1 GF - 7 GA. They are brutalized by a .865 save percentage behind them and an abysmally poor 1.8% shooting percentage.
Turn your attention to the bottom two rows. O'Sullivan without Horcoff and Horcoff without O'Sullivan. Horcoff is close to even in shots, and goal differential. O'Sullivan is even in goal differential, but he's getting outshot 4-3. More noticeable is that Horcoff's even strength save percentage is .907, well-ahead of previously mentioned percentages. Pull them apart and the bad luck doesn't happen.
Since Dustin Penner is the only reliable forward on the team, I also looked at Horcoff and O'Sullivan with Penner to see if Penner has had an effect on their stat lines. Penner has outscored 35 GF - 24 GA at even strength this year and has outshot 319-294. He's done that with an even strength shooting percentage of 11.0% and a save percentage of .912. O'Sullivan and Penner have been outshot 32-45, but have some bounces as they've outscored 5 GF - 3 GA with a 13.9% shooting percentage and a .938 save percentage. Horcoff's bad luck affects even Penner. They've outshot their opponents 71-51, but have been outscored 7 GF - 8 GA. They've seen a relatively normal 9.0% shooting percentage, but have been backstopped by a .864 save percentage. The Penner effect is slightly more evident with O'Sullivan, but not enough to say that he's playing poorly overall and being dragged around by Penner.
For Horcoff this year, it's come down to some freakishly bad goaltending while he's on the ice with Patrick O'Sullivan and having to make up for Jacques being on his line. I looked at Jacques recently and found that he wants in all areas of hockey metrics and shouldn't be in the top twelve, maybe even the NHL. I'm going to disagree with my colleague, Bruce, and say that take away the bad juju and J.F. Jacques and O'Sullivan isn't half bad. Going forward, unless the Oilers are ready to sacrifice a chicken, or get Jobu a bottle of his own rum, Pat Quinn should keep Horcoff and O'Sullivan far, far away from each other.