Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Playing Tough Minutes: Thrasher Forwards

Today, I'll look at the forwards who play the tough minutes. Basically I define "tough minutes" as Even Strength minutes when a player is match up against the oppositions "best player" (the forward who gets the most ice time from his coach).

Percentage of Even Strength Minutes Versus the Opponent's Best Forward

37.7% Kovlov -8 Corsi Number
36.9% Christensen -3 Corsi Number
34.8% Little -42 Corsi Number
34.1% Armstrong +46 Corsi Number
33.3% White -34 Corsi Number
32.0% Williams -22 Corsi Number
30.5% Kovalchuk -25 Corsi Number
29.4% Reasoner +26 Corsi Number
28.1% Perrin -5 Corsi Number
26.5% Thorburn -4 Corsi Number
26.0% Slater -24 Corsi Number
22.5% Boulton -36 Corsi Number
14.3% Sterling -6 Corsi Number

Now those season total numbers mix together road and home games. As I mentioned yesterday at home the Thrashers coach has the option to match lines and on the road the opposition coach gets a major advantage in line matching.

At Home--Who does John Anderson Play Against the Opposition's Best Forward?
(Percentage of ES minutes versus Opposition Top Player)
Scoring lines in Red, Checking Lines in Blue
38.2% Armstrong
36.4% Kozlov
35.9% Reasoner
33.9% Christensen
33.8% Williams
32.4% Thorburn
31.2% Perrin
31.2% Little
31.1% White
30.7% Slater
29.4% Kovalchuk
24.3% Boulton
DNP Sterling (zero home games)

It looks like the Thrashers coaching staff considers Colby Armstrong their best defensive forward (and I would agree with that) along with Slava Kozlov and Marty Reasoner.

Which players has the Atlanta coaching staff tried to protect at home? Boulton, Kovalchuk and Slater.

On the Road--Who Do Opposition Coaches Target?
(Percentage of ES minutes versus Opposition Top Player)
Scoring lines in Red, Checking Lines in Blue
41.4% Kozlov
40.5% Christensen
37.3% Little
35.5% White
31.6% Kovalchuk
30.0% Williams
29.8% Armstrong
24.7% Perrin
21.7% Reasoner
21.6% Slater
20.7% Thorburn
20.4% Boulton
14.3% Sterling

On the road it seems pretty clear that most opposition coaches choose to play their best forwards against the Thrashers two scoring lines. The 3rd and 4th lines see very few minutes matched up against the other team's star player. Contrast the color distribution in the home versus road lists. On the road the red players (scoring lines) receive the highest percentage of "tough minutes" while at home the pattern is more mixed.

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