Red Wings Season Wrap-Up: The Power Play

More of this, please.

Yesterday, we covered how the Detroit Red Wings' penalty kill fared during the regular season. Today, we're going to swing the special teams pendulum to the other side and gauge how the Red Wings did on the power play.

Percentage-wise, Detroit's power play hit at 16.1% for the year. The Red Wings' power play hasn't had a success rate this low since the 2006-07 squad's 17.1% rate (where they still scored 20 more goals on the power play than this year's team). Interestingly, both of those teams gave up the same number of shorthanded goals (11).

The percentage rank for the Wings put them in 22nd place leaguewide, which is the same position they would be in if you rated power play effectiveness by calculating how many minutes of power play time it took for each team to score one goal. Detroit scored one power play goal for every 10 minutes with the man advantage. For comparison, Nashville's league-leading squad took 7:25. Detroit would effectively waste an entire power play between the time the Predators scored and they did.

After the jump, we'll look at the power play effectiveness index and get into some of the individual numbers.

Nashville may have led the league in power play % and efficiency, but they still scored 12 fewer times on the power play than Philadelphia. Just like yesterday, let's take a look at the leaguewide rankings for real effectiveness: how many power play goals a team got versus how many they gave up shorthanded.
Team PPGF SHGA Differential
PHI 66
9
57
SJS 57
4
53
VAN 57
4
53
NSH 54
4
50
PIT 57
10
47
FLA 53
6
47
LAK 49
2
47
EDM 54
8
46
CAR 49
4
45
TOR 49
6
43
OTT 49
7
42
BOS 43
1
42
STL 45
3
42
CBJ 49
8
41
NYI 45
5
40
CGY 46
6
40
ANA 45
5
40
NYR 44
4
40
CHI 42
3
39
COL 41
4
37
WPG 45
8
37
BUF 44
7
37

DET

48

11

37

MIN 39
4
35
MTL 43
8
35
NJD 46
13
33
WSH 41
10
31
DAL 33
3
30
TBL 41
12
29
PHX 34
6
28



On the chart, the Wings are listed 23rd, but you'll see that there's a tie among teams with a +37 differential, so they're really 20th. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing. The Wings are in the bottom-third of the league for how well their power play creates goals AND for how well their goal creation is offset by their goals allowed. So, again, we're forced to ask the question: Who's at fault here?

The Goaltenders?

Surprisingly, the goalies do have a bit of a say in this and Jimmy Howard roundly said "meh" when it came to stopping shorthanded chances. Among goalies who actually had a short-handed save percentage, Jimmy Howard was one of the worst, stopping 34/40 shots for an 0.850 save percentage. The league average 0.907 laughs at this number. Ty Conklin and Joey MacDonald didn't do any better, combining to allow 4 goals on 22 shots (0.818). There's hardly much blame to go around for goalies forced to deal with breakaway conditions, but a league average save percentage would have just about halved the goals against.

Sadly, it wouldn't have done much to help the power play do their PRIMARY job of scoring goals.

How about the Forwards?

When looking at the forwards, I'm looking at the three guys playing low in the zone. For this, I'm going to throw out Jiri Hudler's numbers, since he didn't consistently play that position.

The story of Detroit's power play is the story of one man: Pavel Datsyuk. Without their most offensively dynamic player in the lineup, the Red Wings' power play went a dismal 3-for-47 (6.38%). With Datsyuk in the lineup, the Wings went 45/251. The 17.9% success rate would have only bumped them up to a tie for 12th place, but it also would have meant 5 more goals.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL, FOLKS! Did you also know that, in the 12 games Datsyuk missed, the Red Wings allowed four of their 11 shorthanded goals against? That's 36% of their shorthanded goals against in 15% of their schedule. Of course, he was in the lineup for 7 in 70 games, so we can assume that there would have been 1 in 12, so let's just call the difference 3.

So that's 8 total goals we can guess the Wings would have been better off with Datsyuk in the lineup for the power play (5 more scored, 3 fewer allowed). Bringing Detroit's difference number from 37 to 45 would have shot them into a tie with Carolina for 9th in the league, and that's just as a factor of having Datsyuk in for 12 more games.

So did the forwards in general do their jobs? Well, considering most of them were not Pavel Datsyuk, the answer is no.

How about the Point-men?

On the points, we can hardly say "be more like Pavel". On the whole, Detroit's power play created 48 goals and 139 total points. Taking just the people who played the point (including Hudler), the guys on the back end put in 15 goals (7 by Kronwall) and 55 points. The goals part isn't quite as important, as you expect the forwards to do a lot more of that. For points, 55/139 equals just about 40% of the points, which fits very well in that 2 of the 5 members on the power play (40%) are playing the point.

However, the darker side of that comes when we start looking at blame for shorthanded goals against. Much like you'd expect the forwards to score more, you can likely expect the blueliners to be at fault more often for shorthanded chances. Indeed they were, as the blueliners earned 33.5 of the total 52.5 CSSI-Adjusted minuses for those goals, equaling out to about 64% of the blame.

Let's Point Some More Fingers

Combining forwards and point men together, here's a chart of individual players' real effectiveness. For this, we'll take each players points on the power play and subtract out the shorthanded goals for which they were on the ice. For shorthanded goals against, I'm going to eliminate the ones for each player where he was cleared of blame in the CSSI analysis, but not assign the extra blame when that appeared. This leaves us with a real count of goals created versus goals cost.

Player PP Points SHGA Difference
Pavel Datsyuk 23 2 21
Tomas Holmstrom 15 0 15
Nicklas Lidstrom 17 3 14
Johan Franzen 13 1 12
Henrik Zetterberg 14 4 10
Valtteri Filppula 11 1 10
Niklas Kronwall 14 4 9
Ian White 10 3 7
Jiri Hudler 10 3 7
Todd Bertuzzi 4 1 3
Danny Cleary 3 2 1
Brad Stuart 1 0 1
Brendan Smith 1 1 0
Jakub Kindl 1 1 0
Justin Abdelkader 0 0 0
Drew Miller 0 1 -1
Kyle Quincey 1 2 -1
Jonathan Ericsson 0 1 -1
Darren Helm 0 2 -2

Remember, this is only SHGA which context told us were partially the player's fault. Tomas Holmstrom was on the ice for 4 SHGA, but as the net-front winger, he's not exactly turning the puck over leading to odd-man rushes. What does jump out are the Zetterberg and Kronwall numbers. Most people expect that having Jiri Hudler at the point would have been the biggest problem (and make no mistake, it was a problem), but these numbers are a bit disappointing.

To add an additional layer of context, let's look at some effectiveness rates. This next chart will show each of the above players' ranks based upon 60 minutes of power play time played and the expected rates of points they would put up, shorthanded goals they would be blamed for, and the difference in the rates (effectiveness).

Player PP Points/60 SHGA/60 Difference
Pavel Datsyuk 6.40 0.56
5.84
Tomas Holmstrom 3.98 0.00
3.98
Nicklas Lidstrom 3.95
0.70
3.25
Johan Franzen 3.44
0.26
3.18
Valtteri Filppula
3.31
0.30
3.01
Niklas Kronwall
3.82
1.23
2.59
Brad Stuart
2.4
0.00
2.40
Jiri Hudler
3.3
0.99
2.31
Henrik Zetterberg
3.18
0.90
2.28
Ian White
2.6
0.78
1.82
Todd Bertuzzi
1.99
0.50
1.49
Danny Cleary
1.8
1.20
0.60
Brendan Smith 2.44
2.44
0.00
Jakub Kindl 1.74
1.74
0.00
Justin Abdelkader 0
0.00
0.00
Kyle Quincey
1.47
2.94
-1.47
Drew Miller
0
8.00
-8.00
Jonathan Ericsson 0
8.31
-8.31
Darren Helm 0
9.77
-9.77

Ignoring the "har-har" notion of the fun with goofy numbers and how they mean Darren Helm should be sent to the locker room during Red Wings power plays just to be safe, the Kyle Quincey number is a little bit scary. Quincey played almost 41 minutes of PP time in his 18 games with the Wings. That was more PP time than Kindl, Stuart, and Smith. While there's a marginal excuse that he was still getting used to the team and reacquainted with the system, that is an awful number.

Henrik Zetterberg, in the meantime, led all Red Wings players in power play time and only put up 14 points. When you figure that up with the other two players bracketing him, you can see that White, Zetterberg, and Hudler all drastically underperformed on the power play this season.

Climbing up the list, Kronwall's numbers are good, but he's going to have to do better if he wants to be the primary PP quarterback on the first unit (hopefully in another three years). I was pleasantly surprised to see Holmstrom up so high. I know he had done fairly well on the power play, but it gets a little easy to overlook his contributions when the overall product isn't playing acceptably. Still, it may not be possible to keep a guy in the specialist role that he played, all things considered.

Once again, Pavel Datsyuk is Pavel Datsyuk.

The System

Just like with the penalty kill, the Red Wings' power play will need to make some changes going forward. While the problems here are made a bit more clear by the underperformance of guys who we know are skilled enough to do better, there does seem to be an overall problem with zone entries and shot selection. The Red Wings rely far too much on shots from the point and not enough on collapsing the defense to get better shots, better screens, and more chances at rebounds.

Aside from that, the Wings give up far too many shorthanded goals. This is partially due to the zone entry problems they have and it's partially due to some random turnovers, but a big portion is closing speed for the point men. I don't believe the Wings can afford to keep playing with a slow-moving forward at the point anymore. Hopefully Brendan Smith will more than prove his worth and get more time to show what he can do.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Winging It In Motown

You must be a member of Winging It In Motown to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Winging It In Motown. You should read them.

Join Winging It In Motown

You must be a member of Winging It In Motown to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Winging It In Motown. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker