In Part I of this series, I explored whether Keith Aulie was better in his second call-up versus his first time up in the big leagues. The conclusion turned out to be symmetric with the hypothesis: Aulie played much better on both sides of the puck with Phaneuf in the second half of the season, his successes in offensive situations balancing out his defensive misgivings.
“They’ve gone a little bit different direction,” [Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy] Ruff said. “Their young guys on defense are playing a lot better when you’re talking about [Luke] Schenn and [Keith] Aulie.”
–Globe and Mail, March 28th
Today, we’ll look at another Maple Leafs defenseman, Luke Schenn, in a similar fashion. Schenn was more pleasing to the eye in the second half of the season, like most players on the team. The team was winning as James Reimer took the reins as the team flirted with a run towards a playoff appearance. I’ve looked at Schenn’s statistics in games started by Reimer against those started by JS Giguere or Jonas Gustavsson.
The Fenwick number is a Corsi variant which correlates well with scoring chances. It adds up all the goals, shots and misses a player was on the ice at his net and at the opponents net. Since a player’s performance can vary so much from his actual production, we’ll measure his performance explicitly, and analyze his production afterwards. The adjustment comes from the addition of the zone start statistic, which is worth approximately .6 of a Fenwick point.
[LEGEND: GP – Games played GF – On-ice goals for, per game GA – On-ice goals against, per game SF – On-ice saved shots for, per game SA – On-ice saved shots against, per game MF – On-ice missed shots for, per game MA – On-ice missed shots against, per game ZS – Defensive zone starts minus offensive zone starts, per game FenF – Adjusted Fenwick events, for, per game FenA – Adjusted Fenwick events, against, per game Adj Fen – Adjusted Fenwick number, per game]
Like Aulie, the big increase in Schenn’s Fenwick number came from an offensive source. Despite an increase in defensive zone time in games where Reimer started, Schenn’s goals for number went up slightly (one goal per five games). Unlike Aulie, however, Schenn had a marginal decrease in Fenwick events against, even when you factor in the score effect. The Leafs were in, or leading, more games with Reimer than Giguere or Gustavsson which would increase the difficulty in preventing shots.
Interestingly enough, the addition of Reimer hurt Schenn’s PDO. This makes very little sense to me, but as Slava Duris has shown, this can be attributed far more to luck than to allowing quality scoring chances. Even with a pretty significant drop in save percentage, however, Schenn was easier on the eyes, so props to the guy for playing through some vicious circumstances.
This chart pretty well confirms what we saw. Luke Schenn had a much better second half with James Reimer in goal than first half, which is admirable considering the tougher shifts and the trading away of veterans on defense. While there’s still some work, Schenn is still very young and could mature into a positive player next season. The Leafs fortunes still hinge on Reimer, however.