The other day I laid out the Penalty Killing results of the top NYR Forwards.  At the end, I made a bad, poorly written joke about the results of the Defensemen probably being terrible.  Hint: my jokes are as bad as my predictions.

For this post, I pulled from Corsica.hockey a list of all Defensemen with over 50 minutes of 4v5 time in 2016/17- a total of 129 skaters.  Like with the forwards, this is probably a decent cut-off - teams may use a set of 4-6 Forwards on the PK, but I'd bet most lean on a Top 4 on the defense.  Again, it's not perfect, as the NYR actually have 5 defensemen who clear that 50 minute 4v5 mark:  McDonagh, Girardi, Holden, Staal, and Klein [in descending TOI order].

Unlike with the forwards, I am only focusing on the team-based metrics.  Even in a full season, you're not going to see a lot of "individual" Corsi events for a defensemen on the PK.  I'm also lumping together all of the Corsi metrics in one chart and the Expected Goals metrics in another.  So the metrics are:

  • Corsi For (CF)
  • Corsi Against (CA),
  • Corsi For per 60 (CF60)
  • Corsi Against per 60 (CA60),
  • Corsi For% (CF%),
  • Relative (to team) Corsi For % (Rel.CF%),
  • Expected Goals For (xGF)
  • Expected Goals Against (xGA),
  • Expected Goals For per 60 (xGF60),
  • Expected Goals Against per 60 (xGA60),
  • Expected Goals For % (xGF%), and
  • Relative (to team)  Expected Goals For % (Rel.xGF%)

Let's see how this set of bad, no-good NYR defenders rank and compare to their peers.

Wait a minute...that's a lot of blue.  Klein might be having a bad year 5v5, but he's getting something right on the PK, especially on the "limiting shots" side of the coin.  Only 79 shots against is 9th overall (93rd percentile), and even his rate of CA60 is 15th (88th percentile). Staal also with some solid results on both ends of the ice.  Can't say I'm surprised that McDonagh and Girardi are near the bottom (36th percentile) for total CA, as anchors are heavy. Look at the difference between Klein's CA60 (76.06) and Girardi's (97.41).  Overall, the combination of CF/CA and per 60 stats suggests that the NYR are "high event" on the PK. Maybe they'd be less so without Danny G getting the call for the first PK unit every time. 

Expected goals follow a similar pattern.  Maybe the small sample is creating some flukey outcomes, but Klein's results in Expected Goals (especially "against") are outstanding again. And it might be hard to believe, but I'd suggest the NYR *might* want to use Danny G a little less on the PK.  Staal has also had a solid season so far on the PK by both Corsi and Expected Goals angles.

Taking a quick look at the heat maps

Shots against for McDonagh and his main partner are tightly packed in the slot.  I'm sure that's exactly what the coaches want!

Holden and Staal look pretty evenly distributed "east-west", and Klein shows a *slightly* better result in defending his side.

Just for fun, let's take a look at Skjei's results (in less than 50 PK minutes remember)

Hmmmmm.  HMMMMMMMMM.  

These two posts have been fun, even if we haven't learned much.  I do think it's reasonable to conclude that the NYR PK have been better than expected, at both the F and D positions. Without a much deeper look at the video, it's impossible to conclude the how and why behind these results.  The Forwards may better at covering up the Defensemen mistakes, or they may all be playing the PK system better in the neutral or defensive zones, or (most likely) a combination of many factors.  It's something to watch in the 2nd half.

UPDATE: Shawn Ferris, who you should be following, has been tracking NYR games with Josh Khalfin as part of the "MICRO" special teams project, send me this image about the NYR's PK results (only 13 games).

Here we have McDonagh and Klein as the better NYR defenders' (by way of "Clears"), and Staal, Holden, and Girardi as the worst.  That matches up reasonably well to the Corsi/Expected Goals results above, except in the case of Staal.  It will be interesting to see this update as Shawn and Josh track more games.

....Again I'm right in my analysis.