Yesterday I posted part 1 of 2 featuring a similar look at the Hurricanes defensemen and their role in the games scored during Canes games.
As one might expect the Canes forwards play a bigger role in goals for and generally a smaller role in goals against. Through 14 games, the numbers shown as Role in goals for – Role in goals against = Net +/- (and ranked by net +/-) are:
Eric Staal: 13 – 0 = +13
Victor Rask: 9 – 3 = +6
Kris Versteeg: 6 – 1 = +5
Jordan Staal: 6 – 2 = +4
Brock McGinn: 4 – 0 = +4
Jeff Skinner: 5 – 2 = +3
Riley Nash: 3 – 0 = +3
Elias Lindholm: 1 – 0 = +1
Nathan Gerbe: 3 – 2 = +1
Brad Malone: 2 – 2 = 0
Chris Terry: 3 – 3 = 0
Joakim Nordstrom: 0 – 0 = 0
Andrej Nestrasil: 0 – 2 = -2
Jay McClement: 1 – 4 = -3
A couple things jump out quickly:
* Eric Staal’s numbers are astounding. I have had him pegged as playing well so far this season, but his direct role in 13 scoring plays is good but even better when considering he has yet to hit the negative radar on a goal against. (Someone holler if they think they have 1 that makes this a math/spreadsheet error.)
* Brock McGinn also did not show up on the radar on the negative side which is really odd considering the rate at which he has been racking up minuses. Again, I wish I had more time to just rewatch game footage, but short of that I think it what I posted as a comment recently. I think the fourth line as constructed is broken. McGinn’s game is to forecheck and bang bodies deep in the defensive zone. The other regular wings (Nestrasil, Malone mostly) are similar. At a basic level, this is not a problem. The issue is that Jay McClement just does not have the mobility back through the neutral zone to cover, so too often when a team beats McGinn as a first forechecker, the puck is quickly headed the other way on a rush that often gets behind McClement too and leaves the defensemen in a real bad situation with speed and numbers coming at them without any back pressure or forwards to at least limit options for lanes.
* Jay McClement being involved in the most direct roles in goals against is troubling given his limited ice time and the fact that he does not offset this with a bunch of scoring. McClement is generally good in his own zone. See McGinn for what I think the problem is here.
* Elias Lindholm’s direct role in only 1 scoring play (his goal) is obviously disappointing. An interesting positive is that he was not flagged for a direct role in a goal against. This suggests that his 2-way play is at least reasonably intact while waiting for the offense to show up.
* As 1 might expect for a team struggling to score, there just are too many players chipping in directly only occasionally on scoring plays.
For me, the most interesting thing to ponder is my mantra all summer that adding more puck movement from the blue line would boost scoring across the board. Ron Francis tried with the James Wisniewski trade, but that was unfortunately derailed before it even started with his injury. Now when you look at these numbers, the Canes are getting very little help from the back end and even players who are playing well (i.e. Eric Staal) can only do so much.