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Adam Larsson Against Different Levels of Competition

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Using the WoodMoney data to look into how Adam Larsson did against different levels of competition in 2015/16.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I looked into the performance of the Oilers depth forwards and defence core against different levels of competition using the WoodMoney metric. What we can do using this data is parse out how individual players did against three categories of forwards, and add another level of information to our analysis. The full rationale for the metric, the methodology to classify players and the complete data-set can be found at Because Oilers.

Here's a quick breakdown of the different competition groupings.

Elite: at least one elite player must be on the ice. No Gritensity players may be on the ice.

Middle: Elite + Gritensity on the ice, or 3 mudddles

Gritensity: Any time a gritensity player is on the ice except when with an Elite.

I received a couple of requests to look into how Adam Larsson did last season as a New Jersey Devil using the WoodMoney data. What we know from some of the more established metrics available at Corsica Hockey and Hockey Analysis is that Larsson played predominantly with Andy Greene, starting a significant number of shifts in his own zone and actually fared pretty well when it came to limiting shot attempts, scoring chances and goals. We also know that when it came to offence, Larsson is a bit of a black hole as the team didn't generate a whole lot with him on the ice.

Using the WoodMoney data, we can look into how Larsson did against the different levels of competition, including his proportion of ice, shot attempts against and Dangerous Fenwicks against.

Please note that WoodMoney is still being refined based on further data analysis and testing, so you may see these numbers, and possibly the rationale for categories, change over time. It's a new metric, one that has been very transparent when it comes to methodology and raw data, and remains open to feedback.

Proportion of Time on Ice

Below is a graph showing the proportion of 5v5 ice time each Devils defencemen played against the three levels of competition in 2015/16. Larsson played 42% of his total 5v5 ice time against the Elite category of forwards, which is when there was at least one Elite player on the ice and no Gritensity players. Larsson and Greene were clearly being trusted with the heavy minutes, with no other Devils defenceman playing more than 28% of their ice time against the Elite category.

Shot Attempts Against

Next, I looked into how each Devils defenceman did when it came to the rate of shot attempts against (i.e., Corsi Against/60) against the different levels of competition when they were on the ice. Please note that the defencemen are sorted by their proportion of ice time against the Elite category.

Here we see that Larsson was tied with Greene for the lowest shot attempts against/60 versus the Elite category with 52.2, only behind Merrill, who spent the second lowest proportion of ice time against the Elites. Relative to his teammates (against the same level of competition), Larsson was a -2.3 shot attempts against/60, which was tied with Greene for first among the Devils defence core. A similar trend was found for the Middle category, as the Devils did very well limiting shot attempts against, relative to teammates, when Larsson and Grenee were on the ice.

Among all NHL defencemen who played at least 195 minutes against the Elite category at 5v5 last season, and who played at least 40% of their total ice time against the Elite category, Larsson's shot attempts against/60 relative to teammates ranked him 18th among 35 players. Please refer to Appendix A for the complete list of comparable players.

Dangerous Fenwick Against

The WoodMoney dataset includes the Dangerous Fenwick metric, developed by G-Money of Oilers Nerd Alert, to give us an idea of the quality of shots for and against when a player is on the ice. Below is how each Devils defenceman did when it came to the rate of Dangerous Fenwicks against (DFA) this past season when playing against the different levels of competition.

Again, we see Larsson doing very well against the Elite category, which he spent the majority of his time playing against last season. The team allowed a rate of 37.3 Dangeros Fenwicks against versus the Elite category when he was on the ice, which was the best on the team. This was -3.7 relative to his teammates against the Elites, which was best on the team, and ranked him 13th among the 35 comparable defencemen. Against the Middle category, Larsson was even better, with a -6.0 relative to teammates against the same category, which would rank him near the top of the league among comparable defencemen (in terms of total ice time and the proportion of ice time).

Offence

Just to confirm his lack of offence, I looked into the Devils Shot Attempts For/60 and Dangerous Fenwicks For/60 (i.e., quality shot attempts). What we see below is that the Devils did not generate much of either when Larsson was on the ice. The team's rate of shot attempts when up against the Elite category dropped by 6.3 when Larsson was on the ice, and their quality shot attempts for took a hit as well (-4.7). Among his comparables, Larsson was dead last when it came to shot attempts for/60 relative to teammates, and 32nd when it came to Dangerous Fenwicks for/60.

Key takeaway

Based on the WoodMoney data, Larsson is solid when it comes to limiting shot attempts and quality shots against when playing the league's best. But the team struggles to generate any offence when he's on the ice. It'll be interesting to see how McLellan will deploy Larsson, as he typically balances out the offensive and non-offensive zone starts for defencemen and avoids burying individuals with heavy minutes.

Appendix A: NHL Defencemen who played at least 150 minutes against the Elite category, and whose proportion of ice time against the Elite category was above 40%. (35 total)

Player CF% CF%Rel CF/60 CF60Rel CA/60 CA60Rel DFF% DFF%Rel DFF/60 DFF60Rel DFA/60 DFA60Rel
Ryan McDonagh-NYR (L) 44.80% 0.70% 47.4 -1.6 58.4 -3.7 49.30% 3.20% 37.8 -1.5 38.9 -7.0
Justin Braun-SJS (R) 52.70% 2.20% 51.0 -3.7 45.9 -7.6 55.80% 3.80% 36.2 -2.2 28.7 -6.7
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-SJS (L) 52.30% 2.60% 52.0 -1.9 47.5 -7.0 53.80% 3.00% 34.7 -2.6 29.8 -6.4
Oscar Klefbom-EDM (L) 46.00% 2.00% 51.0 2.5 59.7 -1.9 47.90% 5.00% 37.7 2.2 41.0 -6.1
Niklas Hjalmarsson-CHI (L) 47.90% 0.80% 48.5 -4.1 52.7 -6.3 47.60% 1.80% 33.6 -2.7 36.9 -6.0
Mark Giordano-CGY (L) 48.80% 3.50% 50.3 0.7 52.6 -7.2 50.30% 3.10% 35.7 -0.3 35.2 -5.1
Brian Dumoulin-PIT (L) 50.40% 1.40% 53.7 -0.9 52.8 -4.1 53.30% 3.60% 40.0 0.6 35.0 -4.9
Ben Lovejoy-PIT (R) 48.90% 1.00% 52.1 -1.8 54.4 -4.2 51.60% 3.90% 39.3 1.8 36.8 -4.4
Zdeno Chara-BOS (L) 49.50% 1.20% 53.5 -1.2 54.5 -4.0 47.10% 1.30% 31.0 -1.8 34.8 -4.0
Ron Hainsey-CAR (L) 48.00% 1.30% 50.8 -1.0 55.1 -4.0 44.60% 0.50% 35.4 -2.4 44.0 -4.0
TJ Brodie-CGY (L) 47.50% 2.20% 49.7 -0.5 54.9 -5.6 50.60% 2.80% 37.4 0.5 36.5 -3.9
Karl Alzner-WSH (L) 47.50% -0.50% 51.4 -4.1 56.7 -3.5 49.20% -1.10% 32.4 -5.4 33.5 -3.8
Adam Larsson-NJD (R) 38.90% -3.20% 33.3 -6.3 52.2 -2.3 40.40% -1.80% 25.3 -4.7 37.3 -3.7
Matt Niskanen-WSH (R) 47.90% -0.10% 51.6 -3.9 56.1 -4.1 48.90% -1.40% 32.5 -5.3 33.9 -3.4
Francois Beauchemin-COL (L) 40.90% -0.70% 44.5 -2.7 64.4 -1.9 41.60% -1.60% 28.7 -4.6 40.3 -3.4
Toby Enstrom-WPG (L) 50.30% 1.70% 52.4 -1.0 51.8 -4.7 50.60% 2.50% 39.0 0.6 38.2 -3.3
Andy Greene-NJD (L) 39.30% -2.80% 33.7 -5.9 52.2 -2.3 40.00% -2.20% 25.3 -4.7 37.9 -3.1
Danny DeKeyser-DET (L) 46.90% -1.70% 45.3 -4.6 51.3 -1.6 49.30% 1.00% 37.8 -1.1 38.8 -2.9
Shea Weber-NSH (R) 51.30% 0.30% 57.3 1.0 54.3 0.2 56.30% 1.70% 40.5 -0.7 31.4 -2.8
Duncan Keith-CHI (L) 48.80% 2.20% 50.3 -0.9 52.7 -6.1 47.10% 1.70% 35.6 0.1 40.0 -2.7
Erik Johnson-COL (R) 41.70% 0.20% 46.1 -0.4 64.5 -0.9 42.10% -1.40% 29.0 -3.9 39.9 -2.7
Morgan Rielly-TOR (L) 45.60% -0.90% 50.2 -3.9 59.9 -2.3 45.80% -0.80% 33.4 -3.2 39.4 -2.5
Jaccob Slavin-CAR (L) 44.60% -1.20% 48.4 -3.0 60.0 -0.8 43.20% 0.10% 36.4 -1.8 48.0 -2.5
Jared Spurgeon-MIN (R) 47.50% 2.00% 53.0 1.8 58.5 -2.7 48.80% 0.60% 33.7 -1.3 35.3 -2.3
Matt Hunwick-TOR (L) 43.80% -2.30% 48.2 -5.8 61.8 -1.4 45.20% -2.20% 34.2 -4.8 41.5 -1.7
Josh Gorges-BUF (L) 43.10% -1.40% 46.0 -2.8 60.6 -0.3 41.60% -2.90% 27.4 -4.3 38.4 -1.2
Roman Josi-NSH (L) 50.40% -0.30% 57.2 1.1 56.4 1.9 54.00% -0.20% 39.7 -1.4 33.8 -0.9
Rasmus Ristolainen-BUF (R) 44.00% -0.60% 47.8 -1.2 60.7 -0.2 43.70% -0.70% 30.2 -1.4 38.9 -0.8
Jay Bouwmeester-STL (L) 47.80% -0.50% 49.8 -3.4 54.5 -2.5 47.90% 0.40% 38.2 0.3 41.6 -0.2
Alex Pietrangelo-STL (R) 48.40% 0.90% 52.2 -0.2 55.7 -2.4 48.00% 1.40% 39.8 2.0 43.1 -0.2
Connor Murphy-ARI (R) 44.10% -0.90% 48.2 -1.8 61.0 -0.3 45.20% 0.90% 35.3 1.6 42.8 0.5
Justin Faulk-CAR (R) 48.60% 1.80% 53.8 2.0 57.0 -1.9 42.50% -0.90% 36.3 -0.7 49.0 0.6
Willie Mitchell-FLA (L) 40.00% -4.00% 38.4 -4.8 57.5 2.6 42.00% -1.30% 29.6 -0.9 40.8 0.9
Kyle Quincey-DET (L) 47.30% -3.40% 48.6 -4.6 54.2 2.6 47.50% -1.40% 39.2 -1.2 43.4 1.2
Erik Gudbranson-FLA (R) 45.40% -0.40% 45.4 -0.4 54.7 0.5 44.10% -1.80% 32.3 -1.1 40.9 1.4