Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dion Phaneuf's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

A few weeks ago I wrote a post looking at Colby Armstrong’s no good horrible year.

In the 22 games prior to that post, Armstrong had 3G 2A and was having a miserable season by any (and every) measure. In the six games since I wrote that post, Armstrong has 2G 4A, has chipped in with a shootout goal and played some pretty good hockey. (I've jokingly been referring to this turnaround as being “Armstronged” - when an observable trend or pattern reverses the moment I remark on it).

In the spirit of Armstrong’s turnaround, I thought I’d have a look at Dion Phaneuf’s no good horrible year.

I’m not a big fan of Dion Phaneuf. Just over a year ago, at the time of the trade, I wrote:

Dion Phaneuf hasn’t progressed as projected or in keeping with his (massive) paycheque.

His goal scoring production has declined every season he’s been in the NHL and he’s struggled the past two seasons. Many in the game have noted that his play away from the puck is poor and has been resistant to changing his game.

Among NHL d-men, he’s currently 9th in goals scored, 69th in assists and 42nd in points. To put that in perspective, his 22 points put him in a tie with Francois Beauchemin. On the D-side of the puck, his GA60 is a respectable 2.4, which puts him in the top third of NHL defencmen (73rd among the 212 D-men that have played a minimum 20+ games this year). On the Leafs that would place him behind both Beauchemin (2.13) and Komisarek (1.88).

And the Leafs get all of this for the incredible cap hit of $6.5M through 2014.
This year's numbers are even worse.

I actually thought he’d bounce back season this, but to date I’ve been very wrong. His poor play, abated by a deep laceration to his leg, is certainly borne out by my yelling at the television and the underlying numbers.

Let’s have a look at how Phaneuf has done compared to his peers. In most instances, Phaneuf is ranked against 230 other NHL defencemen, all of whom have played a minimum of 10 games this season.

Total

Rank Among D-men

Percentile

Goals for, on-ice, 60 mins.

2.44

101

44

Goals against, on-ice, 60 mins.

2.81

178

77

GFGAON/60 Differential

-0.37

147

64

ES G/60

0.12

105

46

ES A/60

0.36

158

69

ES PTS/60

0.49

161

70

PP Goals/60

0

77

33

PP Assists/60

1.93

83

36

PP Points/60

1.93

101

43

Shots at net/game*

4.43

4

2

Shots on net/game

2.93

5

2

Shooting accuracy*

66%

139

60

Shooting percentage (goals/shots on goal)

1.2%

163

71

Total shoooting percentage (goals/all shots)*

0.80%

163

71

Hits/Game

2.43

22

10

Blocked Shots/Game

1.54

102

44

Penalties Drawn/60

0.4

100

43

Penalties Taken/60

0.7

125

54

Penalty Differential

-0.3

104

45

CORSI

0.7

100

43



Phaneuf cracks the top 10 in just three categories - shots at net, shots on net and hits per game. In all others, he's decidely middle of the pack. His point totals, just 3 goals in 54 games and none at the ACC, are disappointing to say the least.

Most disturbing has to be the rate at which the Leafs get scored against with Phaneuf on the ice. Sure the Leafs haven't had outstanding goaltending this season or last, but for the Leafs' so-called #1 defenceman to be ranked 178th out of 230 d-men in goals against per 60 minutes? That's inexcusable.

All of this said, there’s nothing I’d like more than for Phaneuf to find his game and grab the mantle as the Leafs’ on-ice leader and #1 defenceman. I have my doubts, but Phaneuf might "Armstrong" me yet.

*only includes shots on net and missed shots, does NOT include blocked shots.

5 comments:

  1. Alright, here comes the turnaround! 2 goals, 3 assists, +7 on Wednesday with the possibility that he kills Sean Avery as well.

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  2. Anonymous1:36 p.m.

    Dion needs to put more points up. There is no doubt about it. He is paid to be a constant threat from the blueline and so far this year he hasn't. I do like that he seems to be actually hitting the net lately and he did play a very good physical game against Iginla this week, but I think we all wish he would be more. Perhaps it will come.

    Armstrong on the other hand, I do like that he's put up some goals and assists because that will shut up the stat-obsessed for a while and it's helping the Leafs get points in the standings but this guy was never signed for his 16 goals or whatever he scores, he was signed for all the other variables he brings which seem to be invisible to a lot of fans.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous - I somewhat agree about Phaneuf but I worry that he's no longer capable of putting up points the way he once did.

    As for Armstrong, we're going to have to agree to disagree.

    I watch every single Leaf game (have for 35+ years) and what I see is a sub-par skater who doesn't hit, turns the puck over a both blue lines and loses more puck battles than he wins.

    Armstrong's true skill seems to be convincing many hockey fans that he's bringing something to the rink that can't be measured and can only be seen by a select few.

    I'm not stats-obsessed, but the stats certainly bear me out.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Paul Steckley9:48 a.m.

    Explain to me again how this guy was named captain? Perhaps I've just been spoiled by Sittler, Clark, Gilmour, and Sundin. You know, captains who were also the best players on their respective Leaf teams. I get that he brought a good deal of energy to the club (although I think he needs to bring more of it to the start of games) but shouldn't the captain also be a leader on the ice, not just on the bench or in the locker room? I wonder what the Leafs were smoking this past summer to award this guy the C.

    Any chance we could trade him for Elisha Cuthbert? She can probably put up the same kind of numbers but she'd look so much better doing it.

    ReplyDelete