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dudacek

Fixing the PK

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Deep dive into the issues of our 30th-ranked 74.6 % PK by the Buffalo News

https://buffalonews.com/2020/06/03/buffalo-sabres-ralph-krueger-steve-smith-linus-ullmark-carter-hutton-nhl-news-2020/

 

Things that jumped out at me:

  • The Sabres ran the same system with mostly the same players as they did the previous year when they finished a respectable 12th
  • PK save percentage dropped from 9th to 29th from last year to this.
  • Sabres goalies were .839. Robin Lehner led the league at .918
  • The Sabres allowed a ton of chances in tight: dead centre and glove side.
  • Frolik, brought in to fix the PK, had the teams worst PK ranking in terms of goals per 60. Rasmus Asplund was the best.
  • Scandella, despite his overall improved play, fell off on the PK as the season went on. Jokiharju struggled as his replacement
  • The road PK was an abysmal 69.4 per cent
  • During the 6-game losing streak that effectively pushed us out of the playoffs, the PK was at 57 per cent.

Obviously this was a huge problem. I’d say an average 80% PK would have resulted in 3 more wins. A good 84% PK might do twice that.

How do we fix it?

 

Edited by dudacek
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11 minutes ago, dudacek said:
  • During the 6-game losing streak that effectively pushed us out of the playoffs, the PK was at 57 per cent.

Johansson played a few during that final streak and he just wasn't ready to support a team that was floundering (the really solid Colorado game notwithstanding). It's cliche but your best PKer has to be the goalie and Hutton and Johansson were not doing the team any favors. Take away Hutton's hot start (why we were in 1st place for a bit) and he was awful last year. Thankfully, goalies can wildly vary from season-to-season so maybe this next season he'll be solid. Bring back an even slightly-improved Ullmark and we'll likely be within the regular league-wide range.

If Asplund is an above-average NHL PKer then he'll earn a 4th line role on the team.

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1 hour ago, dudacek said:

Deep dive into the issues of our 30th-ranked 74.6 % PK by the Buffalo News

https://buffalonews.com/2020/06/03/buffalo-sabres-ralph-krueger-steve-smith-linus-ullmark-carter-hutton-nhl-news-2020/

 

Things that jumped out at me:

  • The Sabres ran the same system with mostly the same players as they did the previous year when they finished a respectable 12th
  • PK save percentage dropped from 9th to 29th from last year to this.
  • Sabres goalies were .839. Robin Lehner led the league at .918
  • The Sabres allowed a ton of chances in tight: dead centre and glove side.
  • Frolik, brought in to fix the PK, had the teams worst PK ranking in terms of goals per 60. Rasmus Asplund was the best.
  • Scandella, despite his overall improved play, fell off on the PK as the season went on. Jokiharju struggled as his replacement
  • The road PK was an abysmal 69.4 per cent
  • During the 6-game losing streak that effectively pushed us out of the playoffs, the PK was at 57 per cent.

Obviously this was a huge problem. I’d say an average 80% PK would have resulted in 3 more wins. A good 84% PK might do twice that.

How do we fix it?

 

Improved goaltending would help - even league average in PK would help.  I felt like anything cross ice was always in the back of the net with hutton, as well as short side ones - he was just a nightmare.  

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I don't think there is much to do to fix it. Coaches keep working on it...that is it.  Sometimes you will have one of the best PK or pp in the league one year..and a bad one the next...with little changed so there is a lot of randomness involved.

 

Edited by mjd1001

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I wonder if the league trend in how powerplays operate changed last season and our penalty kill scheme just wasn’t well suited to it?

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1 hour ago, Weave said:

I wonder if the league trend in how powerplays operate changed last season and our penalty kill scheme just wasn’t well suited to it?

I feel like teams were able to exploit the defense a bit.  Get caught chasing behind the net, not rotating quickly enough, and just generally not stopping cross ice passes.  Also felt we were a bit passive in pressuring teams so they could just a- take the zone easily and b- maintain the zone.  Goaltending was also a bit of an issue, felt like short side was a gaping hole all the time.

 

Edited by Drag0nDan
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I'm curious why Lance left out the fact that Lazar had the lowest actual PP Goals against per 60 minutes (outside Vlad in only 16 games played), yet he chose to call him out for having the worst "expected" goals against per 60 based on Evolving stats.  I saw Larson and Asplund as pleasant surprises on an overall bad PK.   The quality against is always going to be less when you play the second minute.  Goals count the same.  And he lined up against the players the other team put out on the ice.  

  I still think RFK needed to make a coaching change.  I also believe a Peitrangelo or D. Byf as top line Defender would add the proper ingredient to our PK.   

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My inclination is to blame goaltending first, coaching 2nd and defensive execution third.

 

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1 hour ago, nfreeman said:

My inclination is to blame goaltending first, coaching 2nd and defensive execution third.

 

Coaching is definitely an issue as they play a very passive box.  Of course, fear of leaving somebody open in the slot or at the side of the net should a pass get through with post-Sweden Hutton in net might cause a substantial portion of that passivity.

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12 hours ago, nfreeman said:

My inclination is to blame goaltending first, coaching 2nd and defensive execution third.

 

 

10 hours ago, Taro T said:

Coaching is definitely an issue as they play a very passive box.  Of course, fear of leaving somebody open in the slot or at the side of the net should a pass get through with post-Sweden Hutton in net might cause a substantial portion of that passivity.

From the article:

The 1-1-2 structure implemented by Smith has the two forwards roam around the defensive zone. They apply pressure to the puck carrier to push the opponent to the perimeter, while the two defensemen are tasked with preventing chances near the Sabres' net.

Also:

"Our 5-on-5 play really improved, but special teams let us down this year, which was very disappointing," McCabe said. "Penalty kill, obviously, it was very disappointing for myself. It’s kind of one of my niches and we had a great penalty kill the year before and we really didn’t change anything. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things where confidence started dropping, bad breaks here and there. But it’s one of those things where I’m not worried about us getting back on track next year because I do like our systems in place and I know we can get the job done once again.

 

Im inclined to think the issues start and stop with goaltending, and, more importantly, skater confidence in the same. A few more big saves here and there not only improve the numbers, they can lead to things snowballing.

Edited by dudacek
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