There has been a lot of talk over the last 24 hours about the possibility of the Maple Leafs trading Luke Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers for James van Riemsdyk? Personally, I’d seriously consider it and probably do it, but lets take a look at the numbers.
For those who don’t know what these numbers are they are my all-encompassing (mostly) hockey rating stats. HARO stands for Hockey Analysis Rating Offense and is an offensive rating for the player based on goals scored. HARD is the defensive rating based on goals. The Fen ratings use fenwick stats (shots + missed shots) to calculate the ratings instead of goal stats. For these ratings anything over 1 is quite good (above average) and anything less than 1 is not so good. The above ratings are for 5v5 even strength situations.
The one thing these stats do not take into account is zone starts (I have a plan to fix this in future versions of my ratings but haven’t coded it yet) so I have included the Ozone% which indicated how frequently the player started in the offensive zone vs the defensive zone. >50 means more starts in the offensive zone than the defensive zone and <50 means more starts in the defensive zone than the offensive zone.
So, for Luke Schenn we actually find his numbers quite consistent. Strangely he has been a pretty solid offensive defenseman but a pretty weak defensive defenseman which is the opposite of what he was projected to be when drafted. His FenHARD+ rating has dropped significantly this season from the previous 2 seasons but that can be fully explained by the fact that he has had significantly more defensive zone starts this year from previous years. The same is true for his drop in HARO+. When we factor in his zone starts he has been extremely consistent over the past 2 1/2 seasons (his rookie season was a little weaker). That lack of progress is what concerns me most about Schenn. If he can’t significantly improve his defensive ability his overall value going forward is limited to a #4-6 defenseman.
James van Riemsdyk
Van Riemsdyk’s fenwick ratings have been extremely consistent over the past 2 1/2 seasons with the fluctuations observed in them almost solely due to the fluctuations in his Ozone%, particularly for the fenwick ratings. Overall he appears to be an above average offensive player and a somewhat weak defensive player, not all that different from Schenn. Last season was clearly a good season for him with a bit of a drop off this season.
In some other discussions I have compared van Riemsdyk to Joffrey Lupul, just a little bigger. So let’s take a look a Lupul’s numbers and see how they compare.
Lupul’s seems to be a perfect example of a high risk high reward player. His offensive numbers are quite good, a little better than van Riemsdyk’s, but his defensive numbers are quite bad, especially over the past 2 seasons. His offensive numbers have jumped quite a bit this season but his offensive ratings from 2008-09 to 2010-11 had him as an above average offensive player so maybe this season isn’t all that surprising given he is probably playing with better players and given more offensive roles. Also, his ratings from 2008-09 to 2010-11 are quite comparable to van Riemsdyk’s over the past 2 1/2 years (though van Riemsdyk has benefited more from more offensive zone starts). Compared to Lupul I think we can say van Riemsdyk is slightly below him offensively (particularly if Lupul’s performance this season is sustainable), and slightly above him defensively.
In the end whether you trade Schenn for van Riemsdyk comes down to each teams need and whether you project improvement in either of them going forward. Right now Schenn is probably a #4-6 defenseman on most good teams and van Riemsdyk is a second line winger on a team with good depth up front. The reason I make the trade is Schenn has been given big minutes and top 4 defenseman roles in the past but hasn’t shown he can be that. Van Riemsdyk has never really been give top line duty or been given top PP unit duty so we don’t know whether if given that opportunity he could have a break out season, much like what Lupul is doing this season. Plus, I think a line of Van Riemsdyk-Grabovski-Kulemin could be an interesting combination of size and skill and 2-way ability, even more so if Colborne replaces Grabovski down the road.
Update: Apparently Van Riemsdyk is now out with a concussion so the idea if trading Schenn for van Rymsdyk right now is a moot point, but the analysis (concussion aside) is still valid.