The Pittsburgh Penguins are cruising along the early parts of this season winning games in a variety of fashions. Their 7-1 record places them among the early elites in the National Hockey League ahead of a huge measuring stick game against the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night.
Let’s take a cruise around the land of statistics to get an idea of who’s doing what for the Penguins this year and what the numbers tell us.
It’d be remiss of me to not start this article by mentioning the yeoman’s work that Sidney Crosby is doing right now.
The offensive numbers that the Crosby line are producing thus far can be described only as gaudy.
Chris Kunitz is currently leading the Penguins with a 6.09 goals for per 60 minutes of even strength ice time. Crosby and Dupuis are right behind him with a 5.45 and 5.02 respectively.
In news that shouldn’t be shocking to anyone, this trio also leads the team in On-Ice Corsi numbers.
Remember, Corsi is the sum of on-ice shot differential. Essentially, take the number of shots your team launches at the net while you’re on the ice (missed shots, blocked shots, saves, posts, goals, etc) and subtract it from the number you allow. This statistic is extremely indicative of zone time advantages.
Right now, the Crosby line is lead by Chris Kunitz and his 29.79 on ice Corsi. Crosby is second with 27.26.
This is even more impressive when you consider the fact that Crosby’s line is matched up against the heavy hitters from the opposition. Yesterday, the Crosby line spent most of their time against the Sedin unit. Here’s a snapshot from the first period.
For the Crosby line to be putting up these kind of numbers against stiff competition is a scary thing to behold. As that line continues to gain it’s touch, these numbers could find ways to inflate, which almost seems impossible at this point.
On the flip side of the coin, the Brandon Sutter unit is doing a fantastic job defensively for the Penguins right now. The line shuffling that Dan Bylsma has done has changed the cast of characters on the third line drastically throughout the year.
Despite the revolving door of linemates, Sutter has posted a daunting .86 goals against per 60 minutes of even strength ice time. If you look at the average relative plus/minus of opposing players weighted by head to head ice time, Brandon Sutter and Chuck Kobasew lead the way for the Penguins.
In fact, Kobasew is the only Penguin to have not been on the ice for an even-strength goal against.
We don’t talk much about PDO on the site, but we’re going to attempt to play the Penguins Stock Market game here by analyzing a few numbers.
PDO is a statistic that attempts to account for luck on the ice. PDO is the sum of “On-Ice Shooting Percentage” and “On-Ice Save Percentage” while a given player is on the ice. It regresses very heavily to the mean in the long-run. A player that has a PDO well above 1000 has generally played in good luck and should expect to drop going forward and vice-versa.
Olli Maatta currently has a PDO of 933, which tells us he’s actually been a bit unlucky this year and should see that number increase as the year goes on. This might be the most shocking number on the team to me. He’s played so well, earned himself a job, and has the worst PDO on the team.
Sidney Crosby has a PDO of 1009. His number is normally way higher than the rest of the NHL throughout the year. Numbers tell me Sidney Crosby is just getting started.
PDO also tells us that Matt Niskanen is going to regress a bit at some point here. The NHL’s +/- leader as a PDO of 1125, a number that should regress to the mean before too long.
Craig Adams – no surprise here. Adams had a hot start to the season and currently sports a PDO of 1105. Obviously, it’d be great to see the Harvard grad go for 82 goals this year, but expect him regress back a bit, which is no surprise.
Finally, a fun little stat to end this article. IPP is individual points percentage, it tracks what percentage of points a player has on the goals scored at even strength while that player is on the ice.
How important is Evgeni Malkin to his line? His IPP is 100% to start the year. Meaning, Evgeni Malkin has had a point on every single goal scored while he’s been on the ice through the first eight games.