Monday, April 22, 2013

Plekanec and Desharnais need to be better defensively

The Habs top centres struggling in the defensive-zone

A team's best players need to play their best for any team to have a chance at winning. When looking at the Montreal Canadiens struggles over the last 10 games, simply comparing each player's risk/reward rating though this period to their overall risk/reward rating for the season gives us a clear indication of which players' struggles are hurting the team the most.

Yes, Carey Price heads the list. But, this piece will focus on the team's skaters.

The Habs have a 4-6 record over the last 10-games, and have won only two of their last 7. 

The risk/reward ratings among Montreal's defense have remained relatively stable. In fact, both Francis Bouillon and Josh Gorges have seen their ratings improve slightly over the last 10 games.

The biggest drop seems to be found among the Canadiens forwards. Injured Brandon Prust's rating has gone from 1.35 to 1.2, while Michael Ryder (also injured) has seen his rating go from 1.30 to 1.15. Other forwards with substantial drops include; Tomas Plekanec (1.5 to 1.3), and David Desharnais (1.4 to 1.1).

Surprisingly, there are some players who's ratings have been better over this span. Alex Galchenyuk's rating has gone from 1.35 to 1.65, while Lars Eller's rating has gone from 1.8 to 2.0.




The largest contributor to both Plekanec's and Desharnias' lower risk/reward rating at even-strength is their defensive play in the defensive-zone. Through the last 10-games, both centremen have produced significantly lower success-rates when attempting to acquire or remove puck-possession from the opposition in the defensive-zone.

Plekanec's defensive-rating has gone from 78.3% to just 65.5% in the last 10 games, while Desharnais' rating has dropped from 71.16% to just 62.3%.

Prust's rating has also dropped; but we'll chalk that one up to playing injured.



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