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Phil in Absentia
11-10-2014, 10:28 AM
Last season, the team iced a typical fourth line of Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore and Derek Dorsett. At even strength, Boyle started 23.4 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone, Moore started 25.1 percent of his shifts in the defensive and Dorsett started 33.1 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone. The small disparity counts for game situation line shuffling.

Conversely, this year, the only Ranger thatís played the entire season on the bottom forward line is Tanner Glass. In 11 games this season, Glass has started 57.6 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone at even strength, more than double what Boyle and Moore did last year.

Compare the Rangersí player usage chart from 2013-14 with the player usage chart from 2014-15, courtesy of Hockey Abstract and Behind the Net:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://img.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2014/11/Chart-2013-14.jpg&w=1484

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://img.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2014/11/Chart-2014-15.jpg&w=1484

The reason this is so important? Usage throughout the rest of the lineup.

The Rangers sheltered their top offensive forwards as the fourth line acted as a special teams unit for the most part, drawing hard assignments in heavy defensive zone starts.

Deployment of the fourth line matters, especially for a team that ranked near the top of the league in Corsi, Fenwick and shots on goal last year. The Rangers won with elite goaltending and possession, the latter of which will suffer as their stars take defensive-heavy draws.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2014/11/05/new-york-rangers-missing-a-possession-strong-fourth-line/

--

This article was published last week, but it does raise a lot of really interesting questions surrounding not just Glass, or his effectiveness, but the effectiveness of the entire fourth-line, and does illustrate a disconnect between this seasons' version versus last.

Something Pete brought up early in the year, and most of the summer, is that the Rangers never really replaced Brian Boyle, who I'd argue is actually the larger loss on that unit than the displacement of Dorsett, now penned in by Glass. I won't argue with the mathematical data that shows/proves Glass to be an ineffective offensive/defensive player, though I would argue over exactly how much that matters to the line based on expectations.

If your expectations, for example, were for that fourth-line to be a possession-strong unit, designed like last seasons' fourth line to draw hard assignments in heavy defensive zone starts against other teams' top-end forwards/units, then yes, Glass and the loss and failure to replace Brian Boyle are negatives. If your expectations for this years' fourth line, however, is to be a shit-disturbing one, then I'd argue Glass still fits the mold required.

To me, the whole story of Glass is over expectations of the line he's on. Not whether or not he's actually a good offensive or defensive player.

Regardless, it's a really interesting take on the decisions the Rangers made this summer.

Thoughts?

Future
11-10-2014, 10:36 AM
Your 4th line should be Hags - Moore - Glass. Moore having to play on the third line has killed a lot of what the 4th line could do. He'll make a difference on his own. You could do the exact same thing with those three guys as you did last year.

And this team isn't losing because of the 4th line anwyways. The entire team has been disinterested all year, from the top to the bottom.

Pete
11-10-2014, 10:41 AM
If they adequately replaces Boyle, Glass would be a non-issue. The problem is that too often, it's been Stempniak across from Glass. So what do you want from your 4th line? If you have Stempniak on it, your expectation has to be different that if Malone were on it. I'm ready to see Stempniak sit and Malone play, if you want the 4th line to start pinning teams in their end.

AmericanJesus
11-10-2014, 10:44 AM
I hate that the charts skew their 50% lines so that they can show Miller as a 3 game outlier up near 90% offensive zone starts. Visually it makes it appear that the cluster for this year is much further left (less offensive zone starts) but it really isn't.

What I see from this is that it appears that AV is doing a pretty good job so far really spreading out the starts. It's not like we see Nash going from 55% offensive zone starts to 40%, he's at around 53%. Hagelin's taken the biggest hit, going from around 65% offensive zone starts against nearly even relative Corsi to around 45% and a +2.5 or so relative Corsi. It'll be interesting to see if, with his recent scoring surge, if those start % have changed.

As far as the overarching point, it depends. We'll have to see if, once we get these injuries behind us, whether a different use fourth line and the spreading of zone starts hurts our possession or not.

Mike
11-10-2014, 10:47 AM
Same shit as 2 years ago .... They didn't replace AA, or Dubinsky. They just filled the roster spots. Big difference.

G1000
11-10-2014, 10:49 AM
How the hell do you read these damn charts?

Phil in Absentia
11-10-2014, 10:53 AM
How the hell do you read these damn charts?

Quality of Competition (QUALCOMP) versus Offensive Zone starts. For example, John Moore this year, as measured by the graph above, plays a poorer quality of competition, but gets a significant amount of offensive zone starts (as opposed to defensive). What that tells us is that he's a "sheltered" player. He's played to his perceived strengths (offense), by being put on the ice against lesser quality players in the offensive zone so as to maximize his return.

Valriera
11-10-2014, 11:26 AM
I think our bottom 6 as a whole is a lot worse than last year's. We had Zucc-Brass-Pouliot as our third line last year, on top of Boyle/Moore on the fourth line. That's an unbelievable bottom 6 and is absolutely a huge reason we went so far. This year? Hayes, Duke, Stemp, Moore, Glass, Hagelin. Moore/Hags are solid, but those other four? There's literally no comparison, and I love the way Hayes is playing. On top of this, Boyle and Dorsett were incredible penalty killers, and none of our current bottom 6 is anywhere close to replacing them. Instead, we have to use guys like Nash on the PK, which despite the offensive threat he provides for the unit, is obviously suboptimal.

Morphinity
11-10-2014, 11:46 AM
I wonder how long it took for our 4th line to become as effective as they were last year. Gotta remember we were a tire fire for a similar amount of time as we are now.

I don't really remember the 4th line becoming a force to be reckoned with until later in the year (say, January) when the rest of the team came online. To do that, we jettisoned Powe, Pyatt, and Asham for more effective 4th line players that played a role and did it well. One of those players felt that he had a higher calling, so he left.

Now we didn't replace him and we also had center depth problems for the first 13 games, which led to our 4th line center from last year to be jumbled up.

I say, yes, the numbers aren't good and they're definitely not as good as last year but I'm willing to give it time and hope the team "finds themselves" again. It has been a tough go at the start of this season. Our forward depth is finally where it was designed to be.

So Nashty
11-10-2014, 12:01 PM
I think our bottom 6 as a whole is a lot worse than last year's. We had Zucc-Brass-Pouliot as our third line last year, on top of Boyle/Moore on the fourth line. That's an unbelievable bottom 6 and is absolutely a huge reason we went so far. This year? Hayes, Duke, Stemp, Moore, Glass, Hagelin. Moore/Hags are solid, but those other four? There's literally no comparison, and I love the way Hayes is playing. On top of this, Boyle and Dorsett were incredible penalty killers, and none of our current bottom 6 is anywhere close to replacing them. Instead, we have to use guys like Nash on the PK, which despite the offensive threat he provides for the unit, is obviously suboptimal.

Agree 100%. While I have no issue playing younger guys, this is the price you pay for developing guys. Just gotta hope that down the road this season Hayes and Duclair start being more effective.

Valriera
11-10-2014, 02:21 PM
I wonder how long it took for our 4th line to become as effective as they were last year. Gotta remember we were a tire fire for a similar amount of time as we are now.

I don't really remember the 4th line becoming a force to be reckoned with until later in the year (say, January) when the rest of the team came online. To do that, we jettisoned Powe, Pyatt, and Asham for more effective 4th line players that played a role and did it well. One of those players felt that he had a higher calling, so he left.

Now we didn't replace him and we also had center depth problems for the first 13 games, which led to our 4th line center from last year to be jumbled up.

I say, yes, the numbers aren't good and they're definitely not as good as last year but I'm willing to give it time and hope the team "finds themselves" again. It has been a tough go at the start of this season. Our forward depth is finally where it was designed to be.

This is a good point too because our fourth line was SO BAD for at least the first two months of the season, maybe three. I see our fourth line personnel on this team in Moore, Glass, and Malone, but what I don't think we have worked out is who could possibly be as good as the Pouliot, Zuccarello, and Brassard line last season in that 3rd line role. Hayes' play really looks promising here, but I just don't see anyone else anywhere close to the level of the other two yet. Hopefully someone will emerge.

Myusername
11-10-2014, 04:01 PM
Players come and go. It's up to the coach and the GM to make things work year in and out. We can't retain every single important player because it's inevitable that they will get paid at some point and we won't be able to afford them anymore.

That said, this team has had to deal with a ton of injuries to important players already this season. It's also early and some players are still getting their feet wet and trying to find a niche. I'd give it some time

momentum
11-10-2014, 07:01 PM
Calling up Fast is a good idea if he goes on the fourth line, IMO the fourth line should be Fast, Moore and Stemp, or Fast Moore and Glass but I think Glass is best served as the extra forward that could replace Fast if tougher lineup is needed.

AmericanJesus
11-10-2014, 07:10 PM
Calling up Fast is a good idea if he goes on the fourth line, IMO the fourth line should be Fast, Moore and Stemp, or Fast Moore and Glass but I think Glass is best served as the extra forward that could replace Fast if tougher lineup is needed.

I don't disagree, but the timing is odd for that. Pittsburgh has Despres and Downie, so we'll need some toughness in the lineup. Have to think Duclair is going to sit for that game. So Fast - Moore - Glass with Stemp playing with Hags and Hayes.

Faiz
11-10-2014, 08:10 PM
I don't disagree, but the timing is odd for that. Pittsburgh has Despres and Downie, so we'll need some toughness in the lineup. Have to think Duclair is going to sit for that game. So Fast - Moore - Glass with Stemp playing with Hags and Hayes.

I could see that working.

St. Louis / Brassard / Nash
Kreider / Stepan / Zuccarello
Hagelin / Hayes / Stempniak
Glass / Moore / Fast

I wouldn't mind seeing last years line of Kreider / Stepan / Nash back, but the only thing is it leaves our second line of St. Louis / Brassard / Zuccarello really small.

Dunny
11-10-2014, 09:04 PM
The solution is pretty simple, just slot Moore down. The downside is that they seemingly didn't think too hard about the possibility of Miller not being ready.

FFS Glen, face it already, you only have 3 centermen, none of which who are world beaters. Get a good 3 somehow and we're in business.

Pete
11-10-2014, 09:15 PM
The solution is pretty simple, just slot Moore down. The downside is that they seemingly didn't think too hard about the possibility of Miller not being ready.

FFS Glen, face it already, you only have 3 centermen, none of which who are world beaters. Get a good 3 somehow and we're in business.

Funny thing is, I said the same thing to Phil today. "How hard can it be to find a 3rd line center?"

Or just hang with Miller the same way you hung with Hayes and see what happens. At this point I think Hayes is a better 4LW option than 3C. Slot him up if he going, and call it a day. Just keep him out of the dot.

Dunny
11-10-2014, 09:52 PM
Yes, I feel the same. Mikael Backlund please.

Phil in Absentia
11-10-2014, 10:14 PM
Yes, I feel the same. Mikael Backlund please.

With Stajan hurt, I don't know if they'd move him.

The crazy thing is, they basically need Matt Stajan.

Phil in Absentia
11-12-2014, 12:36 PM
Vigneault switched off his matches against the lines centered by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, alternating between Brassard’s line and Stepan’s line against each, but also mixing in the Dominic Moore-Tanner Glass-Jesper Fast unit for heavy lifting against No. 87. It was truly the first time this season Vigneault had shown such faith in a fourth line.

http://nypost.com/2014/11/11/rangers-lundqvist-roll-snap-penguins-7-game-win-streak/

Morphinity
11-12-2014, 12:44 PM
It was the first time they showed they could hang too.