Belleville’s Special Teams

STATS

I’ve been working on a detailed breakdown of the BSens PK (similar to what I did on the powerplay a month ago), but while that’s in progress I thought I’d go over the team’s player usage vs success on both special teams up to this point (if coaches are going to have any impact on a team, this is one of the most noticeable places for it–for the difficulty in understanding the impact of coaching see here).

I thought the easiest way to break the data into manageable chunks was to look at team performance month-to-month, noting the top used players (front and back) for that period and then tally it all up at the end (fewer games played skews the numbers, so I’ve put the cut off at around 45% of games played per month–a minimum of 4 in October, 6 in November, 5 in December, and 4 in January; games played is less relevant on the PK, so I’ve focused on the shift-count since it better represents actual TOI).

October (PP 4-49 (8.1), PK 39-47 (82.9))
Powerplay (by usage; games, points, on-ice for goals)
Forwards
DiDomenico 4-1-1-2 (2)
Rodewald 5-0-0-0 (2)
Chlapik 8-0-2-2 (3)
Sexton 4-0-0-0 (3)
Paul 8-0-1-1 (3)
McCormick 7-0-0-0 (0)
Defense
Chabot 5-1-2-3 (3)
Jaros, 8-1-1 (3)
Lajoie 9-0-2-2 (3)
Burgdoerfer 9-1-1-2 (3)

Also getting points were Werek (two goals as the eighth most common forward) and Perron (one assist as the tenth most common forward).

Penalty Kill (on-ice for goals against)
Forwards (by usage)
Rodewald 21/5 (1)
Paul 33/8 (2)
Sexton 16/4 (1)
McCormick 27/7 (5)
O’Brien 33/9 (3)
Blunden 14/4 (0)
Defense
Englund 50/9 (3)
Sieloff 49/9 (3)
Erkamps 18/4 (1)
Burgdoerfer 37/9 (3)

Harpur didn’t play enough games to make the cut; both Jaros and Chabot also received semi-regular PK rotation

November (PP 6-50 (12.0), PK 41-54 (75.9))
Powerplay
Forwards
White 13-0-0-0 (3)
Rodewald 7-0-0-0 (2)
Chlapik 13-1-2-3 (3)
Gagne 13-2-0-2 (2)
Paul 6-0-0-0 (1)
McCormick 13-0-3-3 (3)
Defense
Chabot 8-0-2-2 (2)
Jaros 6-0-0-0 (0)
Murray 12-0-0-0 (2)
Burgdoerfer 13-0-0-0 (2)

Other players with points are: O’Brien with two (both goals) as the eighth most used forward, Perron (an assist) as the ninth, Reinhart (a goal) as the tenth, and Lajoie (an assist), who would be the second most used, but only played three games.

Penalty Kill
Forwards
McCormick 46/13 (5)
O’Brien 43/13 (2)
Paul 17/6 (1)
White 36/13 (4)
Rodewald 19/7 (4)
Perron 32/13 (6)
Defense
Sieloff 49/13 (4)
Englund 47/13 (5)
Burgdoerfer 40/13 (5)
Jaros 18/6 (5)

Kelly was also a regular forward, but didn’t hit the game threshold; no other defenseman approached the rotation frequency of these four.

December (PP 8-52 (15.3), PK 42-56 (75.0))
Powerplay
Forwards
White 12-1-3-4 (7)
DiDomenico 10-1-1-2 (4)
Chlapik 6-1-0-1 (1)
Rodewald 12-1-0-1 (4)
McCormick 12-0-0-0 (1)
O’Brien 12-0-1-1 (2)
Defense
Murray 12-1-2-3 (5)
Jaros 7-0-2-2 (3)
Lajoie 10-0-0-0 (0)

Also getting points were Werek (two goals and an assist), Gagne (a goal), Perron (an assist), Reinhart (assist), Paul (assist), Harpur (assist), and Burgdoefer (assist). Harpur is under the game limit and Burgdoerfer’s use was so limited it’s essentially a three-horse race for this month because of forwards on the point.

Penalty Kill
Forwards
Kelly 30/6 (5)
McCormick 55/12 (5)
O’Brien 52/12 (4)
Blunden 35/9 (2)
Randell 42/11 (4)
White 31/12 (1)
Perron 27/12 (4)
Defense
Burgdoerfer 61/12 (4)
Englund 49/12 (8)
Sieloff 24/6 (2)
Jaros 17/7 (4)

Harpur didn’t play enough games and no one else played enough at either position to be included.

January (PP 3-26 (11.5), PK 24-34 (70.5))
Powerplay
Forwards
Werek 7-0-1-1 (3)
DiDomenico 9-0-2-2 (3)
Chlapik 4-0-1-1 (1)
White 5-1-0-1 (2)
Gagne 8-0-0-0 (0)
Paul 9-0-0-0 (1)
Defense
Murray 9-1-1-2 (2)
Lajoie 7-0-0-0 (0)
Jaros 9-1-0-1 (1)

Once again Harpur is below the threshold (he’s the only player who also has a point, an assist) and no other defenseman has played as forwards continue to man the point.

Penalty Kill
Forwards
Kelly 22/6 (2)
Blunden 32/9 (5)
McCormick 29/9 (4)
Flanagan 21/7 (3)
O’Brien 22/9 (0)
White 11/5 (1)
Defense
Burgdoerfer 38/9 (9)
Englund 35/9 (8)
Jaros 21/9 (1)

Harpur is below the game threshold and no other defender has done more than spot-duty.

Total (PP 23-177 (12.9), PK 146-191 (76.4))*
[AHL stats gives the Sens two more PP opportunities and three less PK’s–I get my numbers from official score sheets, so these presumably represent later changes which I admittedly have not tracked down (they make no significant changes to the percentages)]
Powerplay (minimum of 19 games played)
Forwards
DiDomenico 23-2-4-6 (9)
White 30-2-3-5 (12)
Chlapik 31-2-5-7 (8)
Paul 27-0-2-2 (6)
Rodewald 33-1-0-1 (9)
McCormick 41-0-3-3 (4)
Defense
Murray 36-2-3-5 (9)
Jaros 31-2-3-5 (7)
Lajoie 30-0-4-4 (5)
Burgdoerfer 43-1-2-3 (5)

Werek, who has six points, doesn’t make the cut; O’Brien, Gagne and Perron all have three points (the departed Chabot had four; Harpur, who has only played in ten games, has two).

Penalty Kill
Forwards
McCormick 157/41 (19)
Blunden 81/22 (7)
O’Brien 150/41 (9)
White 78/30 (6)
Perron/Paul 88/41 (11), 58/27 (4)
Defense
Sieloff 132/28 (9)
Englund 181/42 (24)
Burgdoerfer 176/43 (21)
Jaros 80/31 (13)

Kelly, Flanagan, and Sexton would appear in the top-six, but haven’t played enough games to appear here; the hands-of-stone that is Randell is pretty close to Paul and Perron (see below); Harpur has the usual games-played issue, otherwise no other defenseman is even close.

Final Numbers and Conclusions

Powerplay
The points-per-game element of the above is helpful for the powerplay (the one-ice for goals numbers are, I think, of minimal value), but points per shift matters, so here are how the players produce per use (keeping in mind both the 19 game minimum and at least 1.8 shifts per game–the weird number is where things really drop off in usage):
Forwards
Werek 0.081 (6/74)
DiDomenico 0.065 (6/91)
Chlapik 0.63 (7/111)
White 0.043 (5/115)
O’Brien 0.04 (3/74)
Perron 0.037 (3/80)
Gagne 0.031 (3/94)
McCormick 0.026 (3/114)
Reinhart 0.026 (2/76)
Paul 0.022 (2/88)
Blunden 0.02 (1/49)
Rodewald 0.01 (1/94)
Defense
Jaros 0.049 (5/102)
Lajoie 0.043 (4/91)
Murray 0.04 (5/123)

Let’s recall the usage order: DiDomencio, White, Chlapik, Paul, Rodewald, and McCormick–this is where coaching issues creep in. It’s only recently that Werek has become a PP regular (with Rodewald largely removed), but the steady diet of players like Blunden, Reinhart, and McCormick–veterans who simply don’t produce regularly–is frustrating when that time would be better spent developing players like Gagne and Perron. Since his return Blunden has cluttered up both special teams and while you can try and argue about his effectiveness on the PK, it’s simply not there on the powerplay. Kleinendorst takes forever to clue in to what does or doesn’t work and his compulsion to go back to what’s safe–the vets he likes–any times things aren’t going right causes the team all kinds of problems offensively.

In terms of driving the PP Chlapik has been the best forward for the team, even if the actual production isn’t the highest. Other than when he’s been on the point (where he’s not that effective), he handles the possession problems the team has. DiDomenico has been very streaky and when he’s frustrated loses effectiveness; Werek needs the right people around him to produce (he’s not a possession player)–no one else has been as consistent in producing as these three. On the blueline, while he’s streaky, Jaros is great–he has the big shot (something no one else, now that Chabot is gone, has on the roster), which means teams have to respect the shot. Murray, who I wasn’t happy with at all early in the season, has improved quite a bit, but I still think he’s far better on the second unit because of his issues entering the zone.

A final point on the PP–something I didn’t go into when I wrote about it last month–the team keeps putting forwards on the point and there’s little evidence it helps (indeed, I think it hurts). Virtually none of the forwards who play on the point produce while they are there (White was buried on the point for a long time when he returned from injury and its no coincidence that he didn’t start getting points until he was moved back to forward).

Penalty Kill
In determining the most effective penalty killer the raw goals-against totals (goals versus games) isn’t particularly useful–it’s better to look at the per-shift basis, so here’s how that works out (given both the 19 game minimum and averaging at least two shifts per game, although I’ve included a few in brackets just for the sake of context, keeping in mind how small sample size skews numbers):
Forwards
O’Brien 0.06
Paul 0.068
[Sexton 0.069]

White 0.076
Blunden 0.086
Randell 0.087 (69/33 (6))
McCormick 0.121
Perron 0.125
[Kelly 0.135]
[Flanagan 0.136]

Defense
Sieloff 0.068
Burgdoerfer 0.119
[Harpur 0.121]

Englund 0.132
Jaros 0.162

The only additional player who meets the criteria is Randell, who doesn’t play the toughest part of the PK (he’s always switched in, he’s never on the ice for a faceoff), but nonetheless has adequate numbers compared to the others. What is different is the order, with O’Brian, Paul, and White clearly the most effective penalty killing forwards, but playing behind org favourite McCormick (whose numbers away from O’Brien suffer considerably) and the lumbering Blunden. On D Sieloff’s ability to protect Burgdoerfer is quite apparent, while Englund isn’t able to work the same magic for his typical partners (Jaros and Burgdoerfer), yet oddly had chemistry with Erkamps (of all people).

While Sieloff adds nothing offensively, he’s remarkably effective as a penalty killer and his loss via injury has thrown a significant monkey wrench in the team’s effectiveness (admittedly even at its best is near the bottom of the league)–they are a miserable 40-60 (66.66%) without him in the lineup. The absence of Harpur most of the season hasn’t helped either. Whether the recent experiment with Lajoie on PK mean anything remains to be seen, but I’m puzzled why they don’t use Erkamps who, in very limited duty, has been fine in that capacity (0.0645).

Kleinendorst has consistently put Perron and Jaros out on the PK despite mixed results and that seems to be gradually paying off (albeit the coach does not trust them yet–my guess is there was an edict from on high to play them on the PK). Flanagan and White have helped out Perron a lot as partners; Jaros, conversely, seems to just be improving (albeit how much remains to be seen).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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1 Comment

  1. […] the powerplay, while he overplays McCormick, Englund, and Burgdoerfer on the PK. One thing I was critical of in the past that’s improved, however, is the impact of forwards on the point for the […]


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