Data Mining the Belleville Senators

Assessing the Team

Since the AHL is living in the dark ages of tracking data, those of us interested in looking beyond the bare stats available have to do our own work. I haven’t tracked everything, just kept tabs on scoring chances and player usage on special teams.

The bare bones: after a nine-game road trip Belleville is 4-4-1, having scored 27 goals (3 per game) and allowed 31 (3.44 per game). The team is giving up an average of 36 shots against, while firing 28 themselves. Their powerplay versus shorthanded situations are almost identical (49/47), scoring 6 and giving up 8.

Carrying four goalies is a bit much, but Chris Driedger was injured for most of the month and with Marcus Hogberg sent down to the ECHL, the road was cleared for veterans Danny Taylor and Andrew Hammond. The latter has clearly outplayed the former:
Hammond 1-1-1 .929 2.69
Taylor 3-3-0 .903 3.27

The expectation was for Taylor to carry the mail, but he’s been hit and miss so far this season (3 above .900 games, 3 below). The lesser used Hammond hasn’t had a start below .921, so it will be interesting if Kleinendorst starts to play them accordingly.

Down in Brampton Hogberg has been getting his head kicked in: .863, 5.30, but before we get too alarmed the other goalies are sporting .868 (starter McNiven) and .833 save percentages, so at least some of the fault has to go to the team’s defense in front of him.

Scoring Chances
By my count the team has had 95 chances through 9 games (or 10.5 per game). Here’s the list of the players with the most scoring chances thus far (the bar set at 0.5 per game, with goals scored in brackets):
DiDomenico 2.0 (3)
Rodewald 1.6 (3)
Sexton 1.5 (2)
Chlapik 1.5 (1)
McCormick 0.85 (1)
Werek 0.83 (3)
Chabot 0.8 (1)
O’Brien, Ciampini 0.66 (1, 1)
Reinhart, Paul, Jaros 0.62 (1, 0, 1)
Gagne 0.55 (4)
Other goalscorers: Burgdoerfer (2), Sieloff (1), Randell (1, empty-net)

It’s worth noting that a number of players have elevated ratios because they’ve played fewer games.

5-on-5 Play (and OT)
The team has 6 powerplay, 1 shorthanded, and 2 empty net goals, leaving 18 scored under normal circumstances. Here are the on-ice leaders for even-strength goals:
Paul 6
Gagne 5
Chlapik, McCormick, O’Brien, Rodewald, Werek 4
Ciampini, DiDomenico, Perron, Reinhart, Sexton 3
Blunden, Dunn, Randell 1
Flanagan, Vaive 0
Burgdoerfer, Englund, Jaros, Lajoie, Sieloff 5
Chabot 4
Harpur 2
Erkamps, Murray 1

Even Strength Point Production (minus the aforementioned category goals):
Rodewald, Gagne 4
Chalpik, Jaros, Werek, Paul, Ciampini, O’Brien 3
DiDomenico, Burgdoerfer, Sexton, Reinhart, Sieloff, Englund 2
McCormick, Perron, Lajoie, Murray, Blunden, Dunn 1
Chabot, Randell, Erkamps, Vaive, Flanagan, Harpur 0

Keep in mind the small sample size for players with fewer games played (the fact Chabot has been on-ice for 4 even strength goals should alleviate any concerns about his zero on that front).

Breaking Down Special Teams

I’ve done my best to track both line combinations and shifts for the PK and PP. Currently the team is 6-49 on the PP (12.2%, 21st in the league), and 39-47 on the PK (83%, 16th in the league)–for reference last season the team was 15% on the PP and 79% on the PK. So, who is being used in each situation?

The Powerplay (6-49, 12.2%)
The simplest thing first, powerplay points:
Chabot 1-2-3
Werek 2-0-2
Jaros 1-1-2
DiDomenico 1-1-2
Burgdoerfer 1-1-2
Chlapik 0-2-2
Lajoie 0-2-2
Paul 0-1-1
Perron 0-1-1

So what about on-ice for a PP goal?
Chabot, Chlapik, Jaros, Lajoie, Sexton, Paul, Burgdoerfer 3
DiDomenico, Rodewald, Werek 2
Reinhart, Perron, O’Brien 1

Conspicuously absent from the above are the heavily played McCormick and Blunden. The two receive a tremendous amount of ice time with the man advantage, but their lines do not score. This isn’t to say they can’t produce on special teams, just that they’ve been overplayed in that role thus far.

Player usage is the most interesting thing here–who is or isn’t playing and what is or isn’t successful. By my count there have been 27 different powerplay formations already, but some are certainly more common than others and certain players are regularly deployed. In terms of pure, raw usage (as in, shifts), the top six forwards are Chlapik, Paul, Rodewald, McCormick, DiDomenico, and Werek. The top four defensemen are Jaros, Lajoie, Chabot, and Burgdoerfer.

Raw shifts isn’t as telling as opportunities versus games played (keeping in mind the exigences of officiating, ie, how many penalties are called when you happen to be playing), so with that metric with the same two categories it’s:
DiDomenico 5.25
Rodewald 5.2
Chlapik 4.5
Sexton 3.75
Paul 3.75
McCormick 3.57
Blunden 3.25
Werek 3.16
Reinhart 2.12
Perron 1.42
Randell 1.0
Chabot  6.2
Jaros 4.5
Murray 4.0
Lajoie 3.77
Burgdoerfer 3.11
Harpur 2.0

Conspicuously absent is leading goal-scorer Gagne, who has barely been used (0.85).

What about line combinations? Here are the most used forward combinations:
Sexton-Chlapik-DiDomenico (2 goals)
Werek-Paul-Rodewald (1 goal)
McCormick-Chlapik-DiDomenico (no goals)
Perron-Paul-Rodewald (1 goal)
McCormick-Reinhart-Blunden (no goals)

The same division but with defensemen:
Chabot-Jaros (2 goals)
Lajoie-Jaros (1 goal)
Lajoie-Burgdoerfer (2 goals)
Chabot-Burgdoerfer (1 goal)

These four defensemen account for 87% of the ice time given on the blueline, which is a far cry from the chaos in the forward ranks (the above lines constitute 44% of usage).

Penalty Kill (39-47, 83%; two goals were via 5-on-3’s)
What about the penalty kill? Going by shifts per game, here are all the forwards who average more than one per game (with how many goals they’ve been on-ice for noted):
Rodewald 4.2 (1)
Paul 4.12 (2)
Sexton 4.0 (1)
McCormick 3.85 (5)
O’Brien 3.66 (3)
Blunden 3.5 (0)
Perron 1.57 (0)
Randell 1.11 (0)
The defensemen:
Englund 5.55 (3)
Sieloff 5.44 (3)
Erkamps 4.5 (1)
Burgdoefer 4.11 (3)
Harpur 3.5 (1)
Jaros 3.0 (3)
Chabot 2.8 (2)

I’d again keep in mind that some players haven’t played that many games. The most common combinations (minimum one shift per game):
Paul-Rodewald (1 goal against)
McCormick-Paul (1)
McCormick-Sexton (2)
O’Brien-Blunden (0)
Sexton-O’Brien (0)
McCormick-O’Brien (1)
Sieloff-Burgdoerfer (2)
Englund-Erkamps (0)
Englund-Burgdoerfer (1)
Sieloff-Jaros (0)
Englund-Sieloff (0)
Sieloff-Harpur (1)

Once again there’s greater stability amongst defenders (77% of the shifts are via the above combos) than forwards (54%).

Thus far the team has scored one shorthanded goal (unassisted by McCormick).

Games Missed
Colin White 9 (now healthy), Chris Driedger (healthy)/Kyle Flanagan 7 (concussion), Ben Sexton 5, Mike Blunden 4 (and counting), Francis Perron/Jack Rodewald/Thomas Chabot/Macoy Erkamps* 2, Nick Paul/Paul Reinhart 1
*I’m assuming he’s hurt
Ben Harpur 7, Chris DiDomenico 5, Jack Rodewald & Thomas Chabot 2, Filip Chlapik, Max McCormick, & Christian Jaros 1
Blunden, McCormick, & Vincent Dunn 1
Healthy Scratch*
Jordan Murray/Dunn 4, Cody Donaghey 2, Erkamps 1
*ignoring goaltenders

Breakdowns for skaters (forwards and defense) will arrive in a follow-up article.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)