About Face

In Eric Stephens' morning rundown for The OC Register today, he glosses over the Ducks' recent faceoff troubles, pointing out that the team is 48.2% in the circle and 25th in the league this season. Accurate assessment of what we should expect from the Ducks?

Not really.

First things first. The weak link in the Ducks' Top 5 draw men this season is the recently departed Petteri Nokelainen, who went 154-200 (43.5%) in 50 games in an Anaheim sweater. Granted, even subtracting Nokelainen's contribution, the team is only 48.7%, but the remaining Top 5 (Getzlaf, Koivu, Chipchura, Marchant and Carter), whom we'll likely be leaning on down the stretch, are a combined 1475-1510 for 49.4%.

Specifically, their individual faceoff stats are:

Player GP FOW FOL Tot FO%
Ryan Getzlaf 59 488 539 1027 47.5
Saku Koivu 56 441 420 861 51.2
Kyle Chipchura 38 245 255 500 49
Todd Marchant 65 208 208 416 50
Ryan Carter 32 93 88 181 51.4

And their individual situational stats are:

Ryan Getzlaf 378 419 94 103 16 17
Saku Koivu 306 302 75 50 60 68
Kyle Chipchura 195 182 2 2 48 71
Todd Marchant 161 145 1 5 46 58
Ryan Carter 86 81 3 0 4 7

Compare those numbers to the last three games:

Ryan Getzlaf 7-16 (44%) 4-11 (36%) 8-21 (38%)
Saku Koivu 7-17 (41%) 4-14 (29%) 6-16 (38%)
Kyle Chipchura 8-12 (67%) 5-12 (42%) 6-8 (75%)
Todd Marchant 3-10 (30%) 1-1 (100%) 3-7 (43%)
Ryan Carter N/A 5-9 (56%) 2-2 (100%)
Everyone Else 2-5 (40%) 5-6 (83%) 1-3 (33%)
Total 45% 45.2% 45.6%

As you can see, Getzlaf, Marchant and Koivu have fallen from their season numbers, a point best illustrated by Selanne's performance against Phoenix on Saturday. The Finnish Flash accounted for all 6 of the "Everyone Else" draws that night, and all 6 were in the offensive zone. Teemu lost only one faceoff to Vernon Fiddler and dominated Lombardi and Hanzal, who shut Koivu down (1 for 8 combined against the two Coyotes centers). Koivu has particularly struggled in the defensive zone: 3 for 6 against Colorado, but 1 for 6 against Phoenix and 1 for 4 against Montreal.

Despite not being a 50% team this year, the Ducks are underperforming what their Top 5 centers have done over the course of the season, especially when you factor out the contribution of former Duck Petteri Nokelainen. It absolutely is a problem, and it's a problem the team is capable of fixing.

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