At the beginning of the season I identified Ladislav Smid as a player of interest. A third of the way into the campaign, his development has been derailed somewhat by a concussion and complicated by Craig MacTavish's seeming preference for a marginal veteran (Jason Strudwick) over the emerging youngster. Still, there's a big enough data set to see how Ladi stacks up in the team's hierarchy.
As we did in part one of this series, let's start again with stats compiled by Gabe Desjardins of Behind the Net:
GA ON/60 -------- 0.43 Ladislav Smid (12 GP) 1.36 Lubomir Visnovsky (25 GP) 2.23 Steve Staios (24 GP) 2.31 Jason Strudwick (22 GP) 2.33 Denis Grebeshkov (22 GP) 2.39 Sheldon Souray (24 GP) 3.24 Tom Gilbert (25 GP)
It would appear the last category is affected by defence partner, given that for the most part the top two on the list have played together, as have the next two, with the bottom three mostly combining as the third pairing and largely playing with one of the other two. Be that as it may, from the QualComp metric Smid has played the toughest foes on the club, Staios and Strudwick the weakest.
Since the top four are pretty well defined on this club anyway I'll simply look at 5-24-43 from here on.
ES TOI (from HockeyAnalysis.com) ------ Staios 341:44 -- w. Strudwick 213:56 (63%) -- w. Smid 65:02 (19%)
Strudwick 275:30 -- w. Staios 213:56 (78%) -- w. Smid 26:31 (10%)
Smid 141:01 -- w. Staios 65:02 (46%) -- w. Strudwick 26:31 (19%) ---
As the de facto 7th guy Smid filled in for both Staios and Strudwick when both missed time for various reasons, so he wound up on the third pairing naturally. He also got a little time with Visnovsky when Souray was out, and a little more with Gilbert when Grebs was out, as MacT clearly didn't want to mess with the mighty pairing of Staios and Strudwick. And when all 7 have been healthy, Smid has been the choice of healthy scratch for reasons that continue to escape me entirely. Hockeyanalysis.com provides the evidence:
GF/GA per 20 ------------ Staios w . Smid: +0.000 / -0.000 = EVEN Staios w/o Smid: +0.723 / -1.012 = -0.289 Smid w/o Staios: +0.526 / -0.263 = +0.263
That's per period, meaning that for every 60 minutes they play together, Staios and Strudwick have been outscored by 2 goals. Either on his own has been OK, and either with Smid has pitched zeroes. Staios is +6/-3 = +3 without Strudwick, +4/-11 = -7 with him. My eyes have not been deceiving me: this partnership has struggled.
But GF/GA are small number statistics (esp. for Smid!), so let's avail ourselves of the ES shots data from Timeonice.com, and prorate them to the above ES ice time. I prefer per/60: SF/SA per 60 ------------ Smid overall: +29.8 / -31.9 = -2.1 Staios overall: +22.4 / -33.5 = -11.1 Strudwick overall: +18.9 / -36.2 = -17.3
I have nothing at all against Jason Strudwick, but I just don't see any way to interpret the above except to conclude he stinks at evens. As a pair, he and Staios have been brutal, outshot 34-18 per 60 minutes and outscored 3-1. Without Staios, Strudwick's performance has been even worse, whereas Staios at least gets up near the waterline. Smid, meanwhile, tools along at about +30/-30 with everybody, except Strudwick where his shots against rate just plummets into the ghastly mid-40s.
Finally, a hodge podge of other "new statistics". Again from Timeonice.com, the stat Vic Ferrari calls ZoneShift, where a positive number means play is tending from the defensive to offensive zone with Player X on the ice, followed by Scoring Opportunities for and against as tracked by Dennis over at MC79hockey, and Errors as tabulated by David Staples at Cult of Hockey. ZoneShift --------- Smid ******** -5 (-2.1/60) Staios ***** -29 (-5.1/60) Strudwick ** -28 (-6.1/60) Staios w. Strudwick -27 (-7.6/60) ---
One final point about Smid: there was a big discussion a while back about how his on-ice Sv% of .981 was unsustainable. Since then that number has actually risen to a presumably-even-more-unsustainable .987 (!), while his Sh% ON is also by far a team low at just 2.9%. He may be a low-event player, but surely he can't be THAT low-event. Only three goals scored by both teams in over seven periods of even strength time is the type of stat that cannot continue long term. That said, he's clearly far lower (negative) event than Strudwick, and MacT's seeming preference for the veteran is puzzling in the here and now as well as for the future.