How are the new Anaheim Ducks defensemen doing since their arrival? I put together some of Simon Despres‘ numbers, James Wisniewski‘s numbers, and the team's numbers since March 3, and put them together into some charts.
Because both players are defensemen, I am sticking with shots attempted and scoring chances as my main numbers here. Neither player has put up significant points, so I am discounting production here. (Although in Wisniewski's case, he was brought in to produce, but he's only appeared in very few games so some allowance should be made.)
Both shots attempted and scoring chances are basically rates and better defensemen (like better forwards) post positive numbers. A positive number is anything over 50%, which means the player/team is shooting more or attempting chances more with the player on the ice. A negative number shows the opposing team is shooting or attempting chances more.
Like I wrote in my Stoner post recently, this is a very small sample of games. This is more a look at just what's happened in these games than what the defensemen are or can be with the team.
Through the 10 games beginning March 3 up to March 22, the Ducks have posted a straight up 55 CF% at 5v5. This isn't score adjusted or in close game states, just raw. During the nine games he'd played in, Despres has posted a 55.2 CF%. In the seven games he's appeared in, Wisniewski has posted a 54.4 CF%.
Let's view that in a chart, a super fun chart that I made!
For fun, I ran this through a power regression formula to suggest perhaps what will happen over time. I'd get far more into details if I thought this portrayed anything but an interesting glimpse while pulled back a little.
Here's the regression trend chart:
The orange is the Ducks trend through 10 games. The blue is Despres movement alongside that. The red is Wisniewski coming in. I wonder what this sort of trend line would look like at the end of the year. Anyway, wasn't that fun, kids?
During the same span of time, and with the same games-played as above, here are the three scoring chance percentages. Anaheim has a 54.8 SCF% (it has generated 54.8% of the total scoring chances on the ice). Despres has put up a 58.3 SCF%, while Wisniewski has posted a 50.4 SCF%. Recall: the main knock on Wisniewski is his actual defense, which his production tends to make up for. This is the first glimpse into that: he's below the team average (in a very small sample) in terms of allowing scoring chances when on the ice.
Oh yea, beauty chart incoming.
The next two charts are a little clunkier but I think, once you give it a look, it makes sense. First up is Despres. This is a chart that shows his on and off ice CF% and SCF% for the nine games he's appeared in. Complex descriptions aside, this is Despres on versus his team without him...sorta. (Let's not get into it too much right now.)
Despres tends to be more impactful on the ice than off, according to these metrics. That paints a favorable picture of him long term, in my mind. Assuming he is inserted into the proper role and with the proper partner, he looks like a good addition to the team. His pairing with Cam Fowler has been largely positive, which is of course why Boudreau broke them up for inexplicable reasons.
Here's the same clunker for Wisniewski through his seven games:
Wisniewski has been a bit more erratic through seven games here, but some of that is his partner and usage so far. As he gets more minutes and more responsibility in time, I think his trends will settle in a bit more. That being said, the one trend I doubt will change much is that the team is better at limiting scoring chances with him off the ice. That's a legitimate part of his game.
For the most part, I think both players have been positive for the Ducks since they've arrived. The recent string of team inconsistencies has a lot more to do with save percentage than individual play. Now, some of the goalies' struggles could be due to new defensemen playing in front of them. The goalies don't know how each player will react in close, and that does impact goalies' play.
At the same time, Anaheim just hasn't had very good goaltending in the last 10 games. I wouldn't lay that at the skates of Despres or Wisniewski over each of the goaltenders, but that's another post.