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Thread: Neal Pionk is Complicating the Rangersí Defensive Logjam

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Absentia View Post
    You're right. I do hope you're right. Because the math just isn't there to support that kind of trajectory. Especially on the metrics side. He's been brutally bad in generating more offense than he lets up, which is the opposite with Buchnevich. That gap has to be bridged before I can be reasoned into buying any "he's a top-four guy" arguments.
    I still don't think this is fair to hammer Pionk with this. Some of the guys he's similar to - Ghost, Krug - never had the same horrible deployments as him early in their careers. Ghost, for instance, never had a OZS lower than 61.9% until last year, and Pionk was at 39.3% last year.

    Pionk isn't without his warts in the possession game for sure, but he doesn't really have any peers in terms of other guys being used the same. I can't think of another puck-moving, smaller defenseman who came into the league and immediately got a heavy D usage against top lines. The guys who played at least 40 games and had a worse OZS than Pionk, last year, are Harpur, Pelech, Pateryn, Braun, M Staal, Greene, Barberio, Lindholm and Nemeth. Those aren't the types of players that Pionk is, and they're all vets. The usage that Pionk got last year is pretty unfair to any rookie, and makes it really hard to use his Corsi to guess that he's not an NHL defenseman.

    This year, the deployment is more in line with where he should be and his numbers are still really skewed by the Carolina game where he was a -23...he's a only a -34 on the entire season. And not for nothing, but he only had a 11.1% OZS in that game. They could have gotten 8 or 10 shots off of lost faceoffs that really have nothing to do with the defenseman.

    Edit: Forgot to filter for 5v5. He was -18 against CAR. Still skews the data heavily.
    Last edited by Future; 10-22-2018 at 05:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    The logjam is caused by the Shattenkirk signing and then subsequently made worse by the McQuaid trade.

    They clearly think ADA is an NHL player, because they know he won't clear waivers to go to the AHL, but he's still getting scratched for guys who are 30+ and have no long-term future here. There's not one good reason why the pairings aren't:

    76-44
    42-77
    18-22

    33

    How does adding McQuaid to the mix accomplish anything for this team? This is a self-inflicted problem for no reason. Even if ADA proves to be a poor player, then at least we'd be finding out right now. Instead, we don't know more about him now than we did last year.
    Actually like those pairings a lot for this year, regardless of outcome.

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    Pionk reminds me of Diaz. There's just something to his game that's not gonna stick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Pionk reminds me of Diaz. There's just something to his game that's not gonna stick.
    Last night, I was trying to think who he reminds me of. It seems so similar to someone I see on a regular basis, just cant think of it. I'm starting to think a young Wade Redden with how he moves with the puck, his passing, and his shot selection/placement.

    Not to say that he will be prime Redden, just how they skate and move around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    I still don't think this is fair to hammer Pionk with this. Some of the guys he's similar to - Ghost, Krug - never had the same horrible deployments as him early in their careers. Ghost, for instance, never had a OZS lower than 61.9% until last year, and Pionk was at 39.3% last year.

    Pionk isn't without his warts in the possession game for sure, but he doesn't really have any peers in terms of other guys being used the same. I can't think of another puck-moving, smaller defenseman who came into the league and immediately got a heavy D usage against top lines. The guys who played at least 40 games and had a worse OZS than Pionk, last year, are Harpur, Pelech, Pateryn, Braun, M Staal, Greene, Barberio, Lindholm and Nemeth. Those aren't the types of players that Pionk is, and they're all vets. The usage that Pionk got last year is pretty unfair to any rookie, and makes it really hard to use his Corsi to guess that he's not an NHL defenseman.

    This year, the deployment is more in line with where he should be and his numbers are still really skewed by the Carolina game where he was a -23...he's a only a -34 on the entire season. And not for nothing, but he only had a 11.1% OZS in that game. They could have gotten 8 or 10 shots off of lost faceoffs that really have nothing to do with the defenseman.

    Edit: Forgot to filter for 5v5. He was -18 against CAR. Still skews the data heavily.
    I agree on the CAR game. He also has a small sample size of NHL games, period. I just don't think his game is well-designed to be a positive CF player, like ever. That may not matter. A strong enough partner can more than make up for it, and so would an accumulation of points scoring. But the data being heavily skewed doesn't change that he's likely to be in the red on offense generated versus offense generated against.
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    Man...tough crowd here on Pionk. I see a pretty promising player who is very confident with the puck on his stick. I see a lot of potential. I can't explain his poor advanced stats ...but they only mean so much. See Kevin Hayes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmc51 View Post
    Man...tough crowd here on Pionk. I see a pretty promising player who is very confident with the puck on his stick. I see a lot of potential. I can't explain his poor advanced stats ...but they only mean so much. See Kevin Hayes.
    I agree and much of his time has been shared with Staal who is not going to help those adv stats. Pionk has that puck control sharpness with great footwork that makes him look more like Jarred Spurgeon than Diaz. He is already a better player than Diaz ever was with less than a half a season in the show. He appears to have a good aptitude too and is super serious about improving. But Pete, I'll agree about Future's proposed D pairings.

    I'm imagining Pion and Hajek. Phil, you'd see those possession #'s move. I was also going to say two iffy games early skew the #'s too much. And those were the earliest games with this new system/coach. Corsi needs time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmc51 View Post
    Man...tough crowd here on Pionk. I see a pretty promising player who is very confident with the puck on his stick. I see a lot of potential. I can't explain his poor advanced stats ...but they only mean so much. See Kevin Hayes.
    I’m assuming Pionks weak advanced stats are from his issues in his own zone. But, again, he’s a rookie, in a new system. I tagged on him last season, but I think he’s playing much better this season. Like Phil, he’s not a guy I pencil into my lineup 5 seasons in the future, but he can play himself in.

    Also, Kevin Hayes has bad advanced stats?
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    Deployment plays a role as does a myraid of things including the quality of the team you play on and your comp. You need time to smooth some of that out.

    Josh, whoever, I understand he has not entered Spurgeon's realm. Spurgeon is super quick, great vision and makes good snap decisions consistently. He also probably has quicker hands. But think about it. Pionk is a smart player who knows he needs to play quick. They have lots of comparable attributes. Pionk has a shot and knows how to get it through and lift it some. He'll go to the net. His quick twitch hips and feet allows him to change directions on a dime like Jarred. You even see his good movement gets him back into position when he errs. He is learning his angles and gaps in this new D and against pros. He is going to get better and better, we are just going to have to pick this discussion back up next thanksgiving to find out.
    Last edited by Giacomin; 10-22-2018 at 09:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    I’m assuming Pionks weak advanced stats are from his issues in his own zone. But, again, he’s a rookie, in a new system. I tagged on him last season, but I think he’s playing much better this season. Like Phil, he’s not a guy I pencil into my lineup 5 seasons in the future, but he can play himself in.

    Also, Kevin Hayes has bad advanced stats?
    Partially mistaken about Kevin Hayes. His corsi has generally been below average. I saw all offseason during the "short term vs long term" contract debates the argument of even strength goals in combination with dZS%.

    Pionk is not a guaranteed thing, but it would not surprise me at all if he is still on this team in 5 years.

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    I don’t monitor advanced stats, just wondering.

    Thanks
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    Depending on his next contract I believe he'll be UFA eligible within 5 years and also about 29... So I doubt he's still here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Depending on his next contract I believe he'll be UFA eligible within 5 years and also about 29... So I doubt he's still here.
    We have a lockout or two during that time. We’ll see.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomin View Post
    I agree and much of his time has been shared with Staal who is not going to help those adv stats. Pionk has that puck control sharpness with great footwork that makes him look more like Jarred Spurgeon than Diaz. He is already a better player than Diaz ever was with less than a half a season in the show. He appears to have a good aptitude too and is super serious about improving. But Pete, I'll agree about Future's proposed D pairings.

    I'm imagining Pion and Hajek. Phil, you'd see those possession #'s move. I was also going to say two iffy games early skew the #'s too much. And those were the earliest games with this new system/coach. Corsi needs time.
    Of course it does. That's why I also included the larger sample size from last season for context. He was dead last in multiple categories including Corsi relative over that span.

    But I don't disagree that the CAR game skews this year's numbers, or that he'll improve closer to average with more ice time and a more stable partner. I just don't think he'll ever move into the black. Not for very long.


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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    Iím assuming Pionks weak advanced stats are from his issues in his own zone. But, again, heís a rookie, in a new system. I tagged on him last season, but I think heís playing much better this season. Like Phil, heís not a guy I pencil into my lineup 5 seasons in the future, but he can play himself in.
    Agreed.

    Also, Kevin Hayes has bad advanced stats?
    Not really, no. He's south of break even (50%) in Corsi for over his career but really only had one particularly poor season (2016-17) where he was significantly negative in multiple categories (CF, rel CF, FF, rel FF, etc).

    He's mostly a break even player.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Absentia View Post
    Of course it does. That's why I also included the larger sample size from last season for context. He was dead last in multiple categories including Corsi relative over that span.

    But I don't disagree that the CAR game skews this year's numbers, or that he'll improve closer to average with more ice time and a more stable partner. I just don't think he'll ever move into the black. Not for very long.


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    Take those relative corsi statistics with a grain of salt. Ryan McDonagh has been negative every single year of his career except for one.

    https://www.hockey-reference.com/pla...-advanced.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Absentia View Post
    Of course it does. That's why I also included the larger sample size from last season for context. He was dead last in multiple categories including Corsi relative over that span.

    But I don't disagree that the CAR game skews this year's numbers, or that he'll improve closer to average with more ice time and a more stable partner. I just don't think he'll ever move into the black. Not for very long.
    Hard to weigh much into last year, the kid was shell shocked and barely kept his nose above water the first ~10 games. He did all he could on O to offset the hot mess he was on D. For a while. it seemed the kid would never settle down and was scrambling here, there and everywhere. He struggled with positioning and the quick decisions/plays top pros make. He hung tough, got acclimated, focused on working/playing hard, built some confidence and improved some. He looks steadier and more poised this year, especially after sitting two, but also in preseason. A lot of games to go, but he's determined enough to not bet against him.

    The promise is he looks impressive with the puck and can be a positive corsi player. The eye test says he can maintain control as he maneuvers tight spaces. That always helps. It will be interesting to see what his #'s look like next year.
    Last edited by Giacomin; 10-23-2018 at 01:45 AM.

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    I think Giacomin's projection of Pionk to be a Spurgeon, a guy who I have watched a lot, is apt. Eight is definitely untenable for more than the first three or four weeks of the year. Between McQuaid and Claesson, I'll take the latter as a veteran to have around. I'd just soon not wait until the deadline to dispatch McQuaid. How about a rest for #18 once in a while. Playing 70 rather than 82 games would be good for him. Shatty has been too good of an NHL player for too long to talk about getting rid of him without an adequate amount of time to get his game in order.

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    Context matters when looking at statistics.

    Corsi statistics are more valuable when looking at forwards - it matters how effective they are at creating shots.

    With defensemen, preventing quality scoring chances and cleanly handling the puck (acquiring, possessing, and getting the puck out of the zone, preferably to a teammate) are more important than raw shot statistics. All shots aren't created equal and shouldn't be treated that way. And zone usage and quality of competition factors in as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fletch View Post
    Take those relative corsi statistics with a grain of salt. Ryan McDonagh has been negative every single year of his career except for one.

    https://www.hockey-reference.com/pla...-advanced.html
    Not to the same degree. This isn't black and white. There's a spectrum I'm particularly interested in. It's why Hayes, for example, isn't railed on for performing just south of break even.


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