Schenn, Jones, Weber and Sv%RelTM

I get criticized a bit (I might even say mocked) for suggesting that defensemen have the ability to influence their goalies save percentages. It surprises me some because to me the idea that defenders can’t is just a bit far fetched. A defender that turns the puck over a lot at key moments has to have a negative impact on his goalies save percentage. Conversely one who doesn’t would boost his goalies save percentage. Unfortunately we live in a Corsi world these days and these ideas get criticized, if not mocked. Today though saw the trade of a pair of defensemen (Schenn to the Kings and Jones to the Blue Jackets) that seem to have a negatively impact on their goalies save percentage. Conversely, Jones’ former teammate Shea Weber consistently gets criticized by the analytics community for his poor possession stats but he seems to be a player that can boost his goalies save percentage. Let me delve into this more.

Luke Schenn

Season CA60 RelTM Sv% RelTM GA60 RelTM
2008-09 3.7 -0.1 0.19
2009-10 5.63 -1.5 0.66
2010-11 -0.1 -1.7 0.57
2011-12 8.81 -1.8 1.04
2012-13 -0.18 -1.2 0.35
2013-14 8.08 -0.5 0.43
2014-15 2.83 -2.4 0.87
2015-16 2.37 -1.7 0.74

The above table shows Schenn’s relevant statistics in 5v5close situations (to minimize score effects). The CA60RelTM column indicates that he pretty consistently has a negative impact on his teammates CA/60 when he is playing with them – he increased shots against. The Sv%RelTM column shows that in every season he has had a negative impact on his teammates on-ice save percentage when he is on the ice – he increases shot quality against. The end result is he significantly increases the goals against rate of his teammates when they are playing with him as shown by the GA60 RelTM column. He has been an all round terrible defensive defenseman regardless of whether you look at shots against, shot quality against or goals against.

Seth Jones

Season CA60 RelTM Sv% RelTM GA60 RelTM
2013-14 -2.05 -2.2 0.45
2014-15 -6.67 -1.7 0.16
2015-16 -4.81 -2.6 0.43

Like Luke Schenn (and seemingly more so) Seth Jones has a negative impact on his teammates on-ice save percentage as evidenced by his consistently terrible Sv%RelTM. Analytics people love Seth Jones though because he posts great possession numbers and that is largely driven by his ability to suppress shot attempts against as evidenced by his CA60 RelTM numbers. This is something Luke Schenn hasn’t been able to do which makes Jones more valuable than Schenn. The problem is overall he has had a negative impact (by increasing it) on the goals against rate overall as each of the three years he has been in the league he has posted a positive GA60 RelTM. When players play with Jones on average their shot rates against drop but their goal against rates rise due to the increased shot quality against.

Shea Weber

Season CA60 RelTM Sv% RelTM GA60 RelTM
2007-08 -1.38 -2 0.49
2008-09 -3.88 2.3 -0.79
2009-10 -1.16 -1.4 0.5
2010-11 -2.29 -1.5 0.31
2011-12 -5.03 1.9 -0.82
2012-13 6.18 1.7 -0.3
2013-14 7.95 2.8 -0.21
2014-15 7.95 0.2 0.14
2015-16 7.85 2.7 -0.49

Shea Weber is one of those players who scouts really love but analytics people generally don’t like and it is all because of his poor possession numbers.

The thing is, it is a bit of a tale of two Weber’s. From 2007-08 to 2011-12 he had negative CA60 RelTM numbers indicating he generally had a positive influence on shots against by reducing the rate that they occur. In three of the 5 seasons during this time he had a negative Sv%RelTM though.

In the last four seasons his CA60RelTM has skyrocketed dramatically where he is having a huge negative impact on shot rate against. During this time though he has consistently had a positive impact on Sv%RelTM meaning while there were more shots against there were of lower quality. The overall impact on GA60RelTM over the past several seasons has been positive and he generally been able to lower the goal rate against.

Conclusions

If you are a lover of shot based statistics and don’t believe in a defenders ability to influence  save percentage you will love Seth Jones and hate Shea Weber. In reality though Shea Weber is likely the better defensive defenseman and the better defenseman overall (factor in his tough QoC and the gap widens). The other day I wrote about my hope for hockey analytics in 2016. More emphasis on a defenders ability to influence save percentage should have been more prominent in that article for all the reasons expressed above. It matters, and for some defensemen it matters a lot.

Where we can all agree though is that Luke Schenn hasn’t been very good. Ever.

 

This article has 1 Comment

  1. Another factor for Defensemen is their pairings. Many defenders appear to try and compensate for deficient partners by doing” too much” and getting out of position. Hence the sports cliche of,”just do your job.”

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