Tracking Ladi II

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)

+0.96 Visnovsky
+0.48 Souray
+0.42 Smid
+-0.0 Grebeshkov
-0.15 Gilbert
-0.56 Staios
-1.16 Strudwick

+0.06 Smid
+0.04 Gilbert
+0.03 Souray
+0.03 Grebeshkov
+0.02 Visnovsky
+0.01 Strudwick
+-0.0 Staios

+0.32 Souray
+0.25 Visnovsky
+0.14 Grebeshkov
+0.10 Gilbert
-0.12 Smid
-0.21 Staios
-0.26 Strudwick


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

Strudwick w . Smid: +0.000 / -0.000 = EVEN
Strudwick w/o Smid: +0.402 / -0.964 = -0.562
Smid w/o Strudwick: +0.349 / -0.175 = +0.174

Staios w. Strudwick: +0.374 / -1.028 = -0.654
Staios w/o Struds: +0.939 / -0.469 = +0.470
Struds w/o Staios: +0.325 / -0.325 = EVEN


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

Staios w . Smid: +29.3 / -31.4 = -2.1
Staios w/o Smid: +20.1 / -33.0 = -12.9
Smid w/o Staios: +30.0 / -32.4 = -2.4

Strudwick w . Smid: +29.4 / -43.0 = -13.6
Strudwick w/o Smid: +17.8 / -35.4 = -17.6
Smid w/o Strudwick: +29.9 / -29.3 = +0.6

Staios w . Strudwick: +18.2 / -34.2 = -16.0
Staios w/o Strudwick: +29.6 / -32.4 = -2.6
Strudwick w/o Staios: +21.4/ -42.9 = -21.5


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.

Smid ******** -5 (-2.1/60)
Staios ***** -29 (-5.1/60)
Strudwick ** -28 (-6.1/60)

Staios w. Strudwick -27 (-7.6/60)

Scoring opportunities
Smid ******* +28/-34 = -6 (-2.55/60*)
Staios ***** +64/-87 = -23 (-5.35/60*)
Strudwick ** +49/-77 = -28 (-6.49/60*)

(per 60 rates adjusted for missing STL game)

Smid ******* 1 (0.43/60)
Strudwick ** 6 (1.31/60)
Staios ***** 8 (1.40/60)

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.


B.C.B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dstaples said...

Brilliant work, Bruce. Now that is statistical analysis at its best.

Could you now please do this for all the Oilers players ;)?

B.C.B. said...

Smid played a good game tonight.

Over all, I think the Qual Comp #'s (total difference between 1-6 being 0.06) demonstrate that the Oilers rotate their defense, rather then trying to use match-ups. Still odd to see Smid leading the pack.

I deleted by other post, since I was crazy last night, and went off about a stat I created: PIM/GP. I have updated the stat on my blog and it seems I was wrong. On my aggression ranking scale (AP/GP),
Staios leads with 0.20, then Smid at 0.15, and lastly Strudwick with 0.08.

I think Smid needs to play more because not only his numbers look good (thanks for the proof Bruce), but also he provides a greater physical element to the blue line (which we are in need of). If he only learn to fight.

Bruce said...

BCB: I agree with you that the trouble with raw PiM as an aggression stat is that there is no difference on the stat sheet between a good old-fashioned charging or roughing penalty and a lazy restraining foul. Or a necessary restraining foul for that matter. Not all misconducts are created equal either. So to take the hodgepodge that is PiM and try to determine aggression is
a bit of a mug's game. So propos to you for doing the work and taking the next step.

On my aggression ranking scale (AP/GP), Staios leads with 0.20, then Smid at 0.15, and lastly Strudwick with 0.08.

That's a fine post, BCB, well worth a link. I assume by Agressive Penalties per GP, you are counting actual penalties, not minutes. therefore a fighting major is just one penalty with no extra "value".

So Strudwick has taken two aggressive penalties all year, one fight and one other. I must say I was expecting a whole lot more than that from him, but he hasn't really lived up to that part of the billing. (1.4 PiM/GP pre-Edmonton, <0.6 in a limited sample here.)

I remember one play in a recent game where some s.o.b. was jamming away at Roli's pads after the whistle and Staios was occupied across the crease and Strudwick just kind of stood there, watching, and eventually he gently steered the guy away. I thought immediately of how Smid would have dealt with the guy, and it definitely would not have been gentle. One of those situations that would have been worth gambling on the two minutes; many refs would have called coincidental minors or nothing atall cuz the other guy was really asking for it. And if our third pairing can't even protect the damn goalie, well what are they there for?

As for fighting, that's one thing Strudwick was reputed for, but so far he's been in just one tilt all season. I thought for sure when they put him up on the wing (esp. since it was effectively in Stortini's spot) that he would find someone to go with, but both games up front he didn't put a single number anywhere on the board -- not a hit, a shot, or a penalty to be seen, just (as Sam Mitchell would put it) zero, zero, zero, zero, Zero.

I think Smid needs to play more because not only his numbers look good (thanks for the proof Bruce), but also he provides a greater physical element to the blue line (which we are in need of).

As Smid's confidence has grown, so has his physical presence, after and increasingly before the whistle.

If he only learn to fight.

Smid isn't shy about going and he won't back down from a challenge. His fight this year was in response to a hit from behind by Colin Fraser on Visnovsky. Smid went to bat for his teammate, which scores points with me when the situation warrants. Ladi won the fight too, which also scores points with me. :)

Bruce said...

So propos to you

"Props" to you. That's good stuff, BCB. I'll comment further over at your blog.

B.C.B. said...

Thanks Bruce.

That I also find is interesting is Staios/Strudwick/Smid relationship of AP/GP to LP/GP.

Staios: 0.2 AP/GP to 0.16 LP/GP
(ratio of 1 to 0.8, the only player- of the three- who has more aggression then laziness)
Smid: 0.15 to 0.31
(ratio of 1 to 2.07, slightly higher then the average of Oilers as a team)
Strudwick 0.08 to 0.13
(ration of 1 to 1.63, lower then the team average but still more laziness then aggression)

I am finding less reasons to like Strudwick and more to like Staios these days. I think Smid needs to attempt to decrease the LP rather then bring up the AP. (just for comparison: Souray 1 to 1.03, Grebs 1 to 6.25, and Gilbert/Vish don't have ratios since they only take LP) .

" I assume by Agressive Penalties per GP, you are counting actual penalties, not minutes. therefore a fighting major is just one penalty with no extra "value". "-Bruce

Yes I counted all penalties as just a single penalty regardless of how many minutes they were worth. Mainly to not have misconducts count for 5 times as much, but it also helps level out the fighting majors and the other minors.

And on a completely undefensive not, I think these new stats make your boy Stortini look good:

Smac: 0.686 PIM/60, 2.40 PIM/GP, 0.6 AP/GP, 0 LP/GP, 4 fights
Stortini: 0.659 PIM/60, 3.73 PIM/GP, 0.73 AP/GP, 0 LP/GP, 6 fights

In a quick comparison, Stortini is more aggressive (0.13 AP/GP more), has less PIM/60 (only 0.027 less, but with more minutes), two more fights, and more PIM/GP (1.33 more). Niether of them take LP/GP, so the PIM per GP/60 are directly related to aggression.
Since Stortini can play more minutes and is general more aggressive, why doesn't MacT play HuggyBear more?

Traktor said...

Bruce has video evidence, a bloody glove, and a confession. Case closed.

raventalon40 said...

I love Smid.

I put up a response to your comment, Bruce. :-D

Jonathan said...

Bruce has video evidence, a bloody glove, and a confession. Case closed.


Bruce said...

Not sure about the last two, but I definitely have video evidence.