With the trade deadline coming up, I thought it'd be worth looking at how the different combination of forwards and defencemen have done this season when it comes to Corsi at even-strength (5v5). I focused on the seven regular defencemen, who have played at least 30 games, and the forwards who have played at least 300 minutes. I also included Kassian who has only played 160 minutes, but is active on the roster. Got this idea for a high level analysis from Travis Yost who continues to do some great work for TSN.
Below is a table of the different combinations and their Corsi For% at even-strength. The team Corsi For% is 48.9%, good for 18th in the league. So if a combinations' Corsi For% was above that I colored it blue. And if it was below, it's orange (Source: Hockey Analysis).
- First thing that jumps out is just how good the top line of Hall, Draisaitl and Purcell has been this season. They've been very productive regardless of which defenceman is on the ice with them, with Hall especially playing at an elite level. Losing Purcell will be tough, but there's a big opportunity for either Kassian or Yakupov to fill in and have their point totals take a jump. The remaining 29 games will be a good way to assess whether one or both of those wingers have a future with the club.
- Worth noting that Sekera is posting some low numbers, but this shouldn't be cause for concern. It most likely has to do with his deployment as he typically faces the toughest match-ups every night (Source: Behind the Net) and doesn't start nearly as often in the offensive zone compared to his teammates (Source: War on Ice).
- Schultz is gone now, but his legacy will always remain. Despite getting a lot of favorable zone starts and match-ups, he could not contribute to the team when it came to shot attempts and scoring chances this season. The coaching staff tried with a number of partners, and scaled back his proportion of ice time at different score situations, but nothing helped.
- Nurse has been pretty bad this season, and really should've been developing in Bakersfield. There's plenty of time for him to become a top pairing defenceman and the sky really is the limit for the prospect. But the team has got to add a few defencemen by next season to push Nurse down the depth chart and ensure he's brought along at the right pace. He's clearly not a driver at this point, but he'll need to be in a few years for this team to have success.
- Based on this table, it looks like guys like Gryba, Davidson and Fayne are just fine when it comes to shot shares. And it's interesting how they ALL struggle when sharing ice time with the bottom six. Which takes me to my next point....
- If there's any more moves before the deadline, I hope it's something to shore up the bottom six. Chiarelli acquired both Korpikoski and Letestu last summer to provide depth, but the two have been complete anchors. Both forwards are signed on for next season, but I'd be curious to see if a buyout is used on Korpikoski, who has had a history of dragging down linemates. Letestu has had some success on the powerplay and is relied upon for key faceoffs, so he could potentially serve as a fourth line center/winger next season. And as much as I like Matt Hendricks, I think he should be shopped at the deadline by the Oilers as he can provide value to a playoff bound team. This season has been one of his best, but it's obvious that he's nearing the end of his career. He has one more year on his contract, worth $1.85 million, and will be 35 next season.
- Lastly, I'd love to see Lander back next season as the fourth center, but it doesn't appear that he has the coaching staff's confidence. The team gets a better proportion of shot attempts when he's on the ice compared to the rest of the bottom six forwards, but it hasn't resulted in any points. It would not surprise me to see Lander sent away on Monday or later this summer.