It’s been about ten days since Daniel Sedin was sidelined with a concussion. The bad news is that concussions are extremely unpredictable, and while Mike Gillis has hinted that Daniel should be ready to play in time for the postseason, it’s nigh impossible to set a “recovery timeline” for a player dealing with concussion symptoms. The good news, however, is that the Canucks have rallied, winning four in a row while playing a suffocating, defensive style of hockey.
You could eat a thousand KFC double-downs in one sitting, and your arteries would still be significantly less clogged up than the Canucks have left the neutral-zone for their opponents over the past four games. Players and teams adjust, and the Canucks have dealt with the loss of their best goal scorer by playing more conservatively. It may not be the most entertaining brand of hockey (personally, I love hard-fought, tightly contested defensive games), but it has certainly been effective.
Speaking of adjustments, with Daniel on the shelf for the immediate future, I figured I’d look into how his brother has performed without him going back three seasons. An immediate qualifier: we’ll be dealing with a pretty miniscule sample size here (24 games), so much of this analysis is shrouded in relative uncertainty. Nonetheless, the topic of “how Henrik’s game changes without Daniel in the lineup” is fascinating to me, and pertinent to the club at the moment, so let’s proceed.
I suppose we’ll begin with Henrik’s production. Daniel has missed 5 contests this season – 1 in Mid-December against Carolina, and then the last 4 games. In those five games, Henrik has 5 points (all of them assists). Early in the 09-10 campaign, Daniel missed 19 games (18 between October 11th and November 20th and then a game later on in the season versus Los Angeles) and in those 19 games, Henrik managed a very un-Henrik-like 10 goals and 8 assists.
Add it all up and over the past 24 games in which Henrik Sedin has skated without his brother in the lineup, he’s managed a respectable 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 total points. So, Henrik has continued to produce at the rate expected of one of the game’s best offensive centremen, even without his brother in the lineup. Phew!
One quirk in Henrik’s production over the course of those 24 games is that he’s scored goals at a rate well beyond his career average. If Henrik scored at that rate over the course of a full season, he’d eclipse thirty goals (something he’s never managed in his illustrious career).
So is it just luck, or does Henrik shoot the puck more with his brother out of the lineup? Let’s break it down based on “shots on goal per game” using the last three seasons as our sample:
|H. Sedin SOG/G|
While Henrik does shoot more with Daniel out of the lineup, he doesn’t shoot that much more. A 0.27 bump in shots on goal per game is pretty negligible — it’s only an extra shot-on-goal every four games.
So the devil must be in the percentages. In those 24 games Henrik has played without Daniel, he’s taken 47 shots, giving him a personal shooting percent of 21.2%, well above his career average of 12.9% or his average over the past three years of 14.3%.
While his sans Daniel personal shooting percentage (and thus his goal totals) look to be percentage-driven, his overall production isn’t unduly inflated by the “bounces.” In those 24 games he’s got a 8.8% on-ice shooting percentage which is above average, but pretty standard for a player as skilled as Henrik. His 101.7 PDO is also typical for Henrik.*
(*) PDO usually regresses to 100, but Henrik is one of those rare players who demonstrably drives shooting%. He’s also been lucky enough to play in front of Roberto Luongo for several seasons, so his PDO is consistently above the mean.
While we can’t make a definitive conclusion based on a 24-game sample, the numbers at least provide us with suggestive evidence that Henrik is able to produce offense even without his brother in the lineup. But can he drive play as successfully when playing on a line without his former wombmate?
The table below counts Henrik’s corsi events for (CEF) and corsi events against (CEA) per game in different situations over the past three years. It also includes Henrik’s Corsi%.
|09-10 With Daniel||16.25||12.78||56%|
|09-10 Without Daniel||14.05||11.89||54.2%|
|11-12 With Daniel||15.78||10.2||57.6%|
|11-12 Without Daniel||14.2||13.6||51.1%|
|With Daniel Last 3 season||15.78||12.24||56.3%|
|Without Daniel Last 3 Seasons||14.08||12.25||53.5%|
As you can see quite clearly, Henrik’s possession game does seem to fall off somewhat without Daniel on his left-wing. This drop-off strikes me as intuitive, the Sedins often seem to operate on the ice like homing beacons, and their ability to play off of each other on the cycle has always been uncanny.
These numbers suggest to me that one thing Henrik does require his brother for, unsurprisingly, are those extended Sedin cycle shifts where they pin the opposition in their own end for sometimes as much as 90 seconds with their familial passing game. If Daniel does miss the rest of this season, I think it’s likely that Henrik will still continue to produce like the top-flight centreman he is, but it looks like he may struggle to control possession relative to what we’re used to seeing from him when he’s paired with his frère.Tags: Daniel Sedin, drance numbers, Henrik Sedin, possession, using tables to prove things