Drance Numbers is the silly research wing of PITB. While Messrs. Wagner and Mooney blog nationally and solve mysteries, Drance Numbers will look into the minutiae of quantifiable NHL data and bore you with it every Friday. Today, Drance looks at the shooting percentage of Sedin linemates.

There is much doom and gloom in this market at the moment. The Canucks are struggling through another underwhelming October, they’ve been shut out three times in ten games, and they face the up-until-recently undefeated Washington Capitals in what could be a blowout on Saturday night. Worst of all, following Wednesday night’s 3-0 shutout loss with Cory Schneider in net, Canucks fans can’t even take solace in their ritual post-loss shaming of Roberto Luongo.

On the bright-side, however, it’s October, and Vancouver’s hockey team has plenty of time to turn the good ship Canuck around. Also, the rest of this article will conveniently ignore the Canucks early season struggles, and instead focus on how unique and awesome the Sedin twins are.

In many ways, the Sedin twins defy conventional analysis. They’re identical twins who possess super elite passing skills, and have spent their entire lives playing together as line-mates. Obviously that’s an absurdly rare circumstance, and one for which there is no historical comparison.

In other ways, however, their careers to date have not been as unconventional as one might expect from the first telepathic humanoids to play in the NHL. For example, it’s not uncommon for the production of playmakers to “peak” later on in their careers, as they tend to rely more on the cerebral side of the game to generate offense. Whereas snipers usually “peak” in terms of offensive production between the ages of 24-26, playmakers tend to “peak” at 28-30. In this, the Sedins development is more conventional: Henrik won his Art Ross at 29, and Daniel won his at 30.

Last week we spoke about the percentages at play in hockey, PDO and how wildly a team’s luck can swing from game to game. In the comments, someone asked whether or not teams can sustain a higher than 1000 PDO number for an entire season, or over the course of several. The answer is yes, they can. In fact that Canucks have been well over 1000 for three seasons in a row now.

Save percentage is the most important factor at play here, but shooting percentage is a contributor as well. For the most part, the on-ice shooting percentage for nearly all NHL skaters over a long enough time frame falls within the range of 7-8.5%.* The major thing to bear in mind, is that over the last four seasons the twins are an outlier in that their on-ice shooting% is significantly higher than 8.5.

(*) On-ice shooting% differs from a shooters shot% in that all shots for his team when he is on the ice are counted as well, not just his own shots.

Anyone who has observed the Sedins play for any length of time knows that they pass up shooting opportunities constantly, in order to create better quality opportunities with their sublime works of wizardous sedinery. For the most part, their style of play is exceedingly effective, partly because Daniel and Henrik are two of the leagues best passers.**

(**) Among hockey analysts, shot location is a surprisingly controversial topic, considering how intuitive it seems conceptually. Gabe Desjardins, who runs behindthenet.ca, is among the more outspoken detractors of shot quality’s analytical utility (or lack thereof), whereas others such as Tom Awad and Michael Shuckers, whose DIGR stat has captured many folks’ attention recently, are convinced it matters.

Because of the Sedins style of play and the quality of their passing, they have been able to perform alchemy and turn a number of replacement level top-six forwards into bonafide twenty-five or even thirty goal scrorers. Sometimes it seems as if my grandmother could pot twenty-five goals on the Sedins right-wing (granted, she’s a feisty lady).

I thought it might be fun to calculate the shooting percentage of every Sedin line-mate since the twins entered the league. I was wrong. It took a long time, was arduous and my findings are ultimately imperfect.

Still, I think it’s cool to look over, and allows me to make a basic point.

While the list of Sedin triggermen isn’t exactly awe inspiring, my hypothesis is that their shooting percentage will be. Sadly, some of the information I’d require to do a more comprehensive table isn’t available and so some assumptions will be required.

First of all, I have no method of separating even-strength shots from PP shots until 07-08, which, is too bad and probably skews the numbers somewhat. To maintain consistency, I’ve included PP goals and shots for most Sedin line-mates. This isn’t a major flaw because most Sedin line-mates have also spent time on the man-advantage with the twins, with Alex Burrows being the most notable exception.

Secondly, there are also gaps in what I’m able to definitively figure out from the game-logs and boxscores. For example, in 2001-2002, the Sedins lined up with Trent Klatt for 34 games and with Todd Warriner for 13. That leaves 35 games unaccounted for, and as best I can tell the twins played with an irregular combination of wingers including Todd Bertuzzi, Jan Hlavac, Trevor Linden and Matt Cooke. It’s impossible to ferret out who took which shot while they were on the ice with the twins, so I’ve only included games in which the identity of the Sedin line-mate is clear. This means, sadly, that the likes of Jeff Cowan, Ryan Shannon and Mats Lindgren, all of whom I remember taking shifts here and there with the twins over the past decade, don’t qualify for our list.

The logic also results in us losing a few blocks of time: we lose from February through to the end of the season in 03-04 because Crawford never managed to find a good fit for the twins after Magnus Arvedson went down. He tried the likes of: Bertuzzi, Rucinsky, Naslund and Sanderson with the twins in search of a good fit and never really found one. Often the boxscore suggests that Bertuzzi would double shift and play 7 or so minutes with the twins, and 10 with the West Coast Express during any given game…

We also lose all of the 07-08 season because both Markus Naslund (who spent 45% of his ice-time with the twins) and Taylor Pyatt (who spent closer to 30% of his ice-time with the twins) were the Sedins trigger man on any given night. Though I haven’t included them, it should be mentioned that both players shot well below their career averages that season, something that goes against the trend suggested by my other findings. I also removed the portion of Henrik Sedin’s Hart trophy campaign (09-10) when Daniel was injured because I’m interested in the impact on players who play with both Sedins at the same time.

A quick observation before we get to the table: Magnus Arvedson is absolutely the unluckiest Sedin linemate ever. Arvedson was 31 years old when he played 6 games with the Sedins in January of 03-04, following the fizzling out of the mattress line (two twins and a Jason King). In those six games, Arvedson twice got injured and was unable to return in the first period, once was held pointless and without a shot and three times potted two goals. In the sixth game he blew out his knee and never played NHL hockey again, but he had 6 goals in a little over 70 minutes of ice-time with the twins. That’s some bad luck.

Linemate Goals Shots Sh% with the Twins Career Sh%
Trent Klatt 36 298 12% 11.2%
Todd Warriner 1 15 6.6% 8.9%
Jason King 11 99 11.1% 9.9%
Trevor Linden 4 22 18% 13.9%
Magnus Arvedson 6 9 66.7% 14.1%
Anson Carter 33 146 22.6% 15.2%
Taylor Pyatt 20 139 14.3 11.2%
Markus Naslund 4 25 16% 13%
Steve Bernier 4 30 13.3% 11.9%
Alex Burrows 44 302 14.5% 14%
Mikael Samuelsson 11 74 14.9% 8.3%
Pavol Demitra 8 58 13.7 14.1%
Total 182 1217 14.95%

As you can see, the Sedins consistently inflate their line-mates shooting percentage. My favorite example is Burrows, who, previous to getting a chance with the “twin terrors” was a career 9% shooter (22 goals on 245 shots). He has now shot over 16% in each of the past three seasons which has pulled his career average up by 5%. I hope Burrows bought the Sedins something nice for their mutual birthday last month, or at the very least is going as “thankful” for Halloween.

Tags: , , , , , ,

12 comments

  1. JDM
    October 28, 2011

    Alright, fair, but obviously there are other significant factors, and Burrows’s development as a player is maybe the most important. He is obviously a significantly better player now than he was four years ago, and I have no doubt that this would still be the case if you, say, flipped him to the 2nd line. It’s impossible to measure the extent to which playing with the Sedins has helped Burrows to become a better player, but development certainly has a lot to do with that number coming up.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  2. cambo
    October 28, 2011

    No Cup with the Sedin Sister act!! They aren’t leaders.. What NHL grinder would follow a pumpkin headed puss who stands there while getting speed bagged??? no one.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • JDM
      October 28, 2011

      These comments are pure CDC garbage. Look at the post-game videos from Tuesday. Everyone including Burrows when asked what’s going wrong, etc., had befuddled looks on their faces and talked about “getting the start we want” and “executing better” and such similar stock answer bullshit. Henrik stood up and actually said what needed saying, took some responsibility, which gives me confidence as a fan and would sure as hell give me confidence as a player.

      As a vocal, outspoken proponent of Ryan Kesler getting the C when it came off Luongo I can say that I am surprised and stoked about how good a captain Henrik has turned out to be. You see it with the media but you also see it in games with him quarterbacking plays and talking on the bench. There are a lot of leaders in that dressing room but it’s pretty obvious Henrik is among the most vocal.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • peanutflower
        October 28, 2011

        Actually, Cambo and his sister-act Tom1040 are frequent contributors to almost every Canucks article in Province or Sun, and some have even recommended them to be the new Kurtenbloggers, as they will be sure to present a new, fresh, non-rose-coloured glasses approach! Personally, I think they’re both assholes.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  3. ArtemChubarov
    October 28, 2011

    @JDM Burrows has definitely improved as a player, but he hasn’t magically morphed into a player who can consistently drive his own sh% or his team’s on-ice sh% over the last three seasons. He’s one of my favorite current Canucks, but is he top liner on any other team? Probably not.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • JDM
      October 28, 2011

      I don’t know if he’s a first liner on other team (it depends on the team; see Winnipeg) but recall that about 1 year prior to him getting a chance on the top line, he was a borderline-AHL 4th line agitator and there were questions about whether or not he should even be on the roster. That’s so completely divorced from where he is now it’s insane. He hasn’t just improved, he is a completely different player.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • John in Marpole
        October 28, 2011

        Burrows was placed in the role of a checker, although his promotion from Winnipeg to Vancouver was largely based upon his 30 points in 33 games with the Moose.

        He had goal scoring skills all along. They were buried for a while while he was in a checking role. That said, there can be no doubt that his numbers are higher than they would be were he not on the same line as the Sedins.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  4. madwag
    October 28, 2011

    Do see Backhand Shelf, “Hockey Homicide” for a hilarious and chaotic account of goon hockey. It’s Skeeter Dan’s latest post.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  5. Bill Barilko
    October 28, 2011

    Interesting stats, and while not conclusive show a strong correlation. However, when Daniel was injured 2 yrs ago – how were Hanks linemates doing? Also – how do these #s match up to other great duos – Sakic & foresberg, Gretzky & anyone, bure & odjick? ;)

    Great stuff though – great read buddy.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  6. The Bookie
    October 28, 2011

    I was thinking we could use a mascot for this regular column on pitb.
    How about the PDO-Bear?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      October 28, 2011

      Hahaha

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  7. Marcus
    October 28, 2011

    Magnus Arvedson only has one “S”.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)