FanPost

Corsi WOWY, part 4: Where Freddy Meyer is better than Mark Eaton

I've been more busy than expected lately and it's been quite some time since part 3 of my Corsi WOWY series indeed, but I've found some time to put together another piece. With the Isles' season being over for more than two months, I thought it was a good idea to not exclusively look back, but also ahead the next season. Thus, I'll have a look in this part not only at the numbers of Freddy Meyer, but also at how recent addition Mark Eaton compares.

Explanations what this Corsi WOWY is all about can be found particularly in part 1 of this series. Once again, a big thanks to Vic Ferrari who delivers all the data on his great sites. As always, please comment or correct in case you find something suspicious.

As always, Corsi numbers need to be seen in context. The role of a player can affect the numbers quite a bit. Every team will have shutdown defensemen, who'll play against the stars of the opposition and will spend a lot of time in their own zone. It obviously is difficult under these circumstances to put up impressive Corsi figures. On the other hand, the 6th defender often gets sheltered as much as possible and thus might look good in terms of Corsi mainly due to playing against rather light competition in easy situations.

Freddy Meyer's role with the Islanders changed slightly over the course of the season. He wasn't among their top 4 defensemen early on, but got more responsibilities due to injuries/moves (Martinek, Witt, Sutton) and played against decent competition particularly in the last quarter of the season. Overall, he still faced rather modest competition. On the other hand, the quality of team mates he played with was rather poor and the zone starts were not very favourable. These things should be kept in mind when looking at his numbers. After all, Meyer wasn't asked to do anything extraordinary, but he didn't have just an easy life, either, and we'd expect his numbers to be decent, but not great. In fact, they are great, as you can see here. The table includes every defender with at least 100 Corsi total events (even strength, excluding empty-net situations) while being on the ice together with Freddy Meyer.

 

with Meyer

without Meyer

Corsi %

 

Total

Corsi %

Total

Corsi %

WOWY

Reese

392

0.515

99

0.394

30.81%

Streit

141

0.560

2786

0.480

16.66%

Gervais

241

0.552

2107

0.473

16.63%

Hillen

257

0.533

1925

0.459

16.21%

Kohn

164

0.494

262

0.458

7.84%

Witt

264

0.458

761

0.431

6.34%

Sutton

198

0.480

1638

0.455

5.49%

Reading example: Dylan Reese was on the ice together with Freedy Meyer for 392 Corsi events in total. 0.515 of these 392 (202) were in the Isles' favour (190 were against them). Reese had 99 other Corsi events in total while not being on the ice together with Meyer, whereof 0.394 (39) were in the Isles' favour (60 against). Reese's Corsi ratio therefore is 30.81 % higher with Meyer than it is without Meyer. Or simply put, he benefited a lot from being paired with Meyer.

Actually, everyone benefited from being paired with Freddy Meyer and most did so by a pretty big margin. For some, you'd surely expect that for the reasons stated above. Jack Hillen for example probably had rather easy shifts together with Meyer, but of course much tougher ones together with Sutton and he'll always look better in terms of Corsi with Meyer than with Sutton or everybody else respectively. But Reese, Kohn and probably also Streit and Sutton had the same type of shifts no matter who they were paired with and Meyer definitely deserves credit for the good numbers there.

Finally, that doesn't mean Meyer was their best defender, but these numbers certainly are quite impressive and he did his job very well indeed. After all, he helped the team much more than he hurt it.

 

How about Mark Eaton?

I certainly don't know the Penguins' defense that well, but from watching about 20 games last season, Eaton's role with the Pens as their 4th defender seems to be pretty obvious. Orpik, Gonchar and Letang clearly played against the toughest competition (ignore Leopold there, numbers inflated from time with Florida) and in my opinion were their best defenders indeed. Goligoski, McKee and Leopold split 3rd pair duties and Eaton as said was typically the 4th guy to complete the 2nd pair. And how did he do?

 

with Eaton

without Eaton

Corsi %

 

Total

Corsi %

Total

Corsi %

WOWY

Gonchar

531

0.529

1345

0.532

-0.45%

Goligoski

173

0.514

1974

0.527

-2.35%

Letang

648

0.545

1842

0.559

-2.48%

Engelland

149

0.436

86

0.500

-12.75%

Leopold

105

0.467

483

0.586

-20.35%

Orpik

120

0.417

2246

0.527

-20.96%

McKee

136

0.346

1392

0.518

-33.28%

Not very well... Actually, he hurt the numbers of every single D partner. As mentioned, these numbers need to be seen in context, because under certain circumstances even the best defender in the world could suffer from a similar picture. But Eaton as said had a quite steady role, rarely faced toughest competition and played with decent team mates. We can't tell for sure, but Gonchar, Letang and Orpik probably all even had easier shifts with Eaton than without Eaton, because not being paired with Eaton meant for them to be on the 1st D pairing and thus face toughest competition. Their numbers would surely not have been expected to be hurt by Eaton.

Definitely concerning is the fact that the numbers of everyone else were hurt by Eaton. In some way, you'd expect that, as the typical 3rd pair guy (McKee, Goligoski, Leopold, Engelland) indeed probably had tougher shifts with Eaton than with his usual 3rd pair partner. But they certainly still never played against toughest competition or in particularly difficult situations and Eaton should in sum probably have done better with them.

After all, Eaton struggled a lot when paired with lesser team mates and certainly didn't do anything particular when paired with the team's best defenders. Maybe you could give him the benefit of the doubt and say he did quite ok when paired with a top offensive defender (Gonchar, Letang). But as said, even those numbers are rather disappointing and the only defender on the Isles who could help him similarly would of course be Mark Streit.

 

Meyer vs. Eaton

The two played for very different teams last season and had different roles within the teams, as well. So, we certainly can't compare the raw numbers, although their roles within the teams didn't quite differ as much as you'd perhaps expect. But we can certainly say that Meyer looks much better overall in this little comparison than Eaton. The most intriguing fact might be that Meyer was pretty consistent no matter who he played with. He was able to lead the way when paired with youngsters, such as Reese particularly or also Kohn, whereas Eaton struggled quite a bit in that regard. And let's remember, Meyer/Reese was the 2nd D pair for the Islanders towards the end of the season and surely didn't have an easier life than Eaton had when paired with Goligoski & Co.

Corsi doesn't tell the whole story of course and other things might deserve a closer look, too. However, just briefly, Meyer was also more productive last season and had way more hits. And he could easily turn out to be the better penalty killer, too.

Obviously, the question for Garth Snow would not be Meyer vs. Eaton and he could still sign both indeed of course. So, it's not actually very relevant to compare these two players. But as I badly want Freddy back and could certainly have done without the signing of Eaton, I thought this might be a good way to illustrate that. To me, the only thing Eaton offers over Meyer is his name on the cup - not sure if that's worth $5 million over two years and if that makes the Islanders a better team...

<em>Submitted FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or SB Nation. If you're reading this statement, you pass the fine print legalese test. Four stars for you.</em>

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