Belleville Senators: Assessing the Team (November)

This is the second part of my look at how the BSens performed in November (you can see the same thoughts for October here). This isn’t so much how individual players performed, but rather about the team. The basics first: the BSens were 6-6-1 for the month, which is an exact continuation from October (4-4-1). They only scored 36 goals (2.77), while allowing 46 (3.53), which is a 0.23 drop on the former and a 0.09 increase on the latter. The team is giving up an average of 35.4 shots against (roughly the same as in October), while firing 28.3 themselves (again, roughly the same). So the same number of shots, but fewer goals–this tells you the wrong people are getting more shots. As for powerplay and shorthanded situations, they were 6-48, or 12.5%, and 41-54, or 75.9%. These are both atrocious numbers giving them the worst PP in the league and the 27th PK in the league–you ask what areas coaches impact most and this is it.

Scoring Chances
By my count the team had 130 chances throughout the month (or 10 per game), which is very similar to what they produced in October. Here’s the list of the players who had the most chances per game with goals scored in brackets (minus empty-netters; minimum of 0.5 per game):
O’Brien 1.45 (6)
Gagne 1.3 (5)
Rodewald 1.14 (2)
McCormick/White 1.0 (1/3)
Reinhart 0.84 (4)
Paul 0.83 (0)
Werek 0.69 (3)
Perron 0.53 (2)
Murray/Ciampini 0.5 (3/1)

The prevailing theory when it comes to scoring chances is that players will ultimately produce at their normal level so long as they keep getting chances–so despite how atrociously McCormick has been when it comes to goal-scoring, if he continues to get chances he should finish within his usual parameters (0.14 currently, very close to his rookie average, versus 0.31 last season). You worry when a player stops getting chances and the biggest drop comes from Filip Chlapik, who went from 1.5 per game in October to 0.46, much of which is related to ice time (playing less on scoring lines and getting dropped to the second PP unit).

Breaking Down Special Teams

Both have been absolute garbage this month, so let’s look first at the players given the most prominent roles and then look at combinations (only those who played a minimum of 5 games are considered); it’s organised by shifts-per-game with their on-ice for a goal noted as well as the number of points; I’ve divided it between forwards and defensemen.

Powerplay
White 3.84 (3/0)
Rodewald 3.14 (2/0)
Chlapik 3.07 (3/2)
Gagne 3.00 (2/2)
Paul 3.00 (1/0)
McCormick 2.84 (3/3)
O’Brien 2.54 (3/2)
Perron 2.46 (1/1)
Reinhart 2.38 (1/1)
Werek 0.92 (0/0)

Chabot 4.5 (2/2)
Jaros 3.16 (0/0)
Murray 2.5 (2/0)
Burgdoerfer 1.84 (2/0)

This doesn’t differentiate between first and second unit usage (each scored 3 goals), so what about units? What were the common combinations? Here are the most frequent by shifts (minimum of five shifts together) with goals scored in brackets and an indication if it was a first or second unit:
McCormick-Reinhart-O’Brien 15 (1) 1st
Gagne-Chlapik-Perron 13 (1) 2nd
Gagne-Chlapik-Rodewald 7 (1) 2nd
McCormick-O’Brien-Rodewald 7 (1) 1st
Chlapik-White-Sexton 6 (1) 2nd
Paul-White-Sexton 5 (0) 1st
Werek-Reinhart-Rodewald 5 (0) 2nd

Here are the defense pairings with the same organisational model:
Chabot-White 20 (1) 1st
Murray-Burgdoerfer 9 (1) 2nd
Murray-Perron 7 (0) 2nd
Murray-Jaros 6 (0) 2nd
Chabot-Perron 5 (1) 1st

The odd insistence on putting O’Brien, McCormick, and sometimes Reinhart on the first PP unit has resulted in a major throttling of offense.

Penalty Kill
Beginning with individual players, here’s who has played on the PK the most (again going by shifts with goals against noted–minimum of five games played):
McCormick 3.53 (5)
O’Brien 3.3 (2)
Paul 2.83 (1)
White 2.76 (4)
Rodewald 2.71 (4)
Perron 2.46 (6)
Randell 1.27 (1)

Sieloff 3.76 (4)
Englund 3.61 (5)
Burgdoerfer 3.07 (5)
Jaros 3.0 (5)
Murray 1.41 (3)

Both Perron and Murray standout as being victimized proportionally (albeit via a small sample size). There’s a lot more consistency in the pairings (as you’d expect), organised by shifts (goals against).

McCormick-O’Brien 23 (1)
Perron-White 15 (1)
McCormick-Sexton 11 (0)
Paul-O’Brien 9 (0)
McCormick-White 8 (1)
Perron-O’Brien 5 (1)
Paul-Sexton 5 (2)

On defense:

Sieloff-Burgdoerfer 24 (3)
Englund-Sieloff 20 (1)
Englund-Burgdoerfer 16 (1)
Englund-Jaros 9 (2)
Sieloff-Jaros 6 (1)
Englund-Murray 6 (2)
Sieloff-Harpur 5 (0)
Murray-Jaros 5 (1)

The top-four forward combinations listed have all been very good, as have the top-three defense combinations. The coaching staff’s experimentation seems like a mix of attempting to develop prospects (particularly Perron and Jaros) and rewarding favourites (Randell, whose combinations don’t make this list).

Since I posted an article on lines recently, I’ll simply say November was a frustrating month for ideal usage.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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