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Red Wings Player Grades: Trevor Daley

Trevor Daley provided offense from the blueline for Detroit, but at far too high a cost defensively

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


Birthday: October 9, 1983

Birthplace: Toronto, ONT

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 195 lbs.

Shoots: Left

Drafted: 2nd round (43rd overall) by the Dallas Stars

Contract: 2yr/$6.3M remaining (3.167M AAV)


The Red Wings signed Daley to a three year contract on July 1. At the time, I wrote an article about the signing in which I said that Daley would improve our blueline, although I didn’t want us to sign him, especially to a three year term.

Daley was coming off a poor season for him, and the question was if that was a result of injury and not meshing with his defensive partner (Olli Maatta) or if he would continue to decline.


Anyone who was expecting Daley to fix all of Detroit’s blue line problems was misguided.

Here’s what I wrote in the Daley season preview article:

The good thing about Trevor Daley is that he is still a solid NHL defenseman. The bad thing about Trevor Daley is that he is not what Detroit badly needs right now, which is a defenseman who can eat up minutes against top competition. He should be capable of playing on a second pair and on the power play.

My biggest concern in regards to Daley is that coach Jeff Blashill will not deploy him properly. In articles written shortly after the Daley signing, Blashill was quoted saying he did not plan to use him on the power play. It wouldn’t have been as bad if the coach hadn’t also talked about continuing to play Niklas Kronwall on the power play. At this point, any Red Wings defender, as well as the emergency backup goalie and half the ticket representatives, would be a better option on the power play than Kronwall.

So how did he perform this season?

Performance Compared to Expectations

Unfortunately, Daley did not really provide what Detroit had hoped he would. He had 9 goals and 16 points in 77 games, 11 points behind Kronwall and 17 points behind Mike Green.

Daley’s strength has been providing offense, and he has historically been poor at shot suppression. This year he continued the latter without providing nearly enough of the former.

Part of the reason for his offensive dropoff could be blamed on his usage. I thought Blashill wasn’t being serious when he said that he wasn’t planning on using Daley on the power play. But, he played 45 minutes of PP this season, compared to Green at 150 minutes and Kronwall at 179.

Even accounting for that, however, Daley contributed a grand total of zero power play points. He did very well on Pittsburgh’s 2nd unit in previous seasons (yes, I know it’s Pittsburgh, but they load up their first unit, so he didn’t play with all the big guns on the PP), and I still feel he should have been on one of Detroit’s PP units throughout this season. It’s a lot harder to argue that point when he didn’t score a single point on the man advantage.

I’m going to use two charts to show Daley’s performance this season. The first is Andi Duroux’s fantastic Tableau visualization that combines stats from Corey Sznajder, CJ Turturo, and Corsica.

All stats are 5v5 unless otherwise indicated. The stats are represented by a 0 to 10 scaled with 5 being the mean, and a standard deviation of +/- 2.


Most of this is pretty self-explanatory. Blue is good, red is bad, and the darker the color the better or worse he was. Daley helped the team by providing goals from the blue line and scored at a rate higher than expected based on shot quality.

The problem is that’s pretty much the only good part of the chart. The team did poorly defensively with Daley on the ice, and he was also below average in transitions, an area in which the team desperately needs to improve.

This chart shows how he performed compared to the rest of the league. The next chart shows that he also performed poorly compared to the rest of Detroit’s defense.

Last year, I wrote some articles using Dawson Sprigings’ GAR model (Goals Above Replacement). Dawson has since been hired by Colorado, so that data isn’t available any longer.

Emmanuel Perry, who runs Corsica, has created a WAR model (Wins Above Replacement). If you are curious about all the details, you can read about it here.

If you want to play around with Sean Tierney’s Tableau visualization of Manny’s WAR stat, here is the link.

The components that Manny uses for his War Model are as follows (in the order they appear for Daley from left to right):

Penalties Drawn
Defensive Shot Quality
Defensive Shot Rate
(All of the above were negative for Daley, and Defensive Shot Rate was the largest negative bar)
Offensive Shot Rate
Offensive Shot Quality
Penalties Taken

Chart by @ChartingHockey, Data from

Daley’s Defensive Shot Rate had a negative impact on the team of more than double (according to this model) his positive impact.

Because WAR is a cumulative stat, I wanted to look at it as a rate stat as well, so here is the Detroit defense WAR/60.

Chart by @ChartingHockey; Data by

It doesn’t really help Daley, although it shows just how bad Xavier Ouellet was, but he’ll have his own article.

Lastly, Dom Luszczyszyn (formerly of The Hockey News and currently of The Athletic NHL) created and maintains a metric called Game Score that is intended to show a player’s contribution to the team both positive and negative.

Daley’s Game Score per 60 (0.27) was lower than every player who played more than five games for Detroit this year other than Luke Witkowski (-0.2)

Grade: D

This is always my least favorite part. It always seems like the discussion focuses almost entirely on what grade I choose rather than the part that took an hour.

I’m basing my grading for the players I evaluate for this series on what reasonable expectations are based on role, past performance, and contract.

I’m going to give Trevor Daley a D, which is lower than I thought it would be going into the research for this article. I originally thought I would be debating between a C- or D+, but the above numbers are too bad for me to justify that range.

The thing keeping me from giving him an F for this season is his relative lack of use on the power play. I don’t know how you bring him onto the team, then not use him on the power play until other players are injured.

Additionally, Ericsson looked better this season when he was paired with Daley, so that is a reason to adjust his grade a little upward.

To be honest, as much as I always try to be objective in these articles, I wish I could justify a higher grade. I like Daley, and I want to see him have a better year next season.


What Grade Do You Give Daley?

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