August 25 2010 03:02PM
Last time around, I had a look at Robyn Regher's 09/10 by 5v5 scoring chances. Today, Jay Bouwmeester gets his turn under the lens. It was a difficult first season in the Red and Black for the Flames' prize free agent catch, with his boxcars falling off the planet. He shot about 2% for the season, though, and since shooting percentages do fluctuate, I still wanted to see how the club's scoring chance numbers looked when he was patrolling the blue.
As with Regehr, let's stipulate what Bouwmeester's circumstances were. He mostly played against second lines, with about 10 games going against the top lines with Giordano to begin the year, and a very short stretch of games doing that sort of duty with Sarich in mid-season. He played so much that it almost seems a bit unfair to explicitly categorize his ice time in that manner, but working against the second string did constitute the bulk of his EV efforts. He did have the toughest ZoneStarts of all the defencemen, although it should be noted that he had about a ZS of about 45% when he and Giordano were a duo, and about 55% after the Phaneuf trade.
First, Bowmeester's numbers in full:
Even-up against mostly second tier comp is just OK, even with a sub-50% ZS. Bouwmeester had three main defence partners over the course of the season. For the bulk of the season leading up to the Phaneuf trade, he played with Mark Giordano. Here are their numbers as a pair:
Nice work, considering the comp and starting position. Bouwmeester also played a fair amount with Cory Sarich, again with a mix of first and second line opposition:
Not optimal, that set of results. After the deadline, Bouwmeester enjoyed the company of the Steady One, almost exclusively versus second-liners. JB and Staios as a duo combined for these results:
Good lord. Combined with the fact that their ZS was well north of 50% during that period, that's utter disaster, full stop. The Flame forwards certainly had their share of issues late in the year, with Higgins, Langkow and Glencross all leaving the line-up within a one week stretch, but still, those numbers are terrible.
As with Regehr, it seemed prudent to see how Bouwmeester's numbers looked in back of certain forwards. I like to use Langkow and Iginla because they always played against the top six. Rene Bourque was the other candidate, but he got shuffled around, especially after the mid-season trades. So, Bouwmeester with number 22:
Very good, and no surprise to anyone paying attention. Daymond Langkow ended in the black against the top lines in front of Regehr and in front of first and second lines in front of JB, and had pretty similar percentages in both scenarios. As a trio, JB, Gio and Langkow were 29/26, for 52.7%, and that's pertinent to something we'll get to in a bit. Next, Bouwmeester behind Jarome Iginla:
Certainly better than what Iggy did in front of Regehr, and almost certainly due to the quality of competition being a bit lower. Beats the alternative, I suppose. The really interesting number was Iggy-JB-Gio's shared work, which came in at 41/31, for a SC% of 56.9, or better than 22-4-5 achieved.
I'd bet that most of Langkow's numbers with 4 and 5 came early on in the year, when his line was playing the other team's best, and starting in the hole a fair bit, so his set of results is actually better than Iggy's given the circumstances, but at least Iginla wasn't torched by the second string when Bouwmeester and Giordano were in tow. In contrast, when Bouwmeetser was lugging around Staios, they backed Iginla to the tune of 16/21 for 43.5%, right in line with what they did behind everyone else. Sarich and JB batted a nifty 18/25 for 41.9% behind Iginla, by the by.
All this leads me to a pretty inescapable conclusion. Jay Bouwmeester had an acceptable year going 5v5 when he had Mark Giordano riding shotgun, and the two of them even had Iginla going in the right direction, second level comp or not. Cory Sarich and Steve Staios drove Bouwmeester's numbers right into the sewer, and Staios' contribution was particularly poor given the easier ZS numbers they had.
There really wasn't any worthwhile justification for moving Giordano away from Bouwmeester's side at the expense of anyone the Flames had on the roster after January 31st, and unless the Flames go for a power duo of Bouwmeester and Regehr, that holds true for the upcoming season as well.