Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Statistically Speaking…

We are only eight games into a 80 game schedule, but I thought since we are unblemished in these eight contests to see how Wilkes-Barre / Scranton stacks up to the rest of the league. The AHL has this tab buried within its “Stats” bar called “Daily Report” which basically breaks down any kind of stat you’d like to chew on. I poured over the stats current thru November 1st and came across some stats which may surprise some, especially in the goaltending department, so here goes – after the jump:

Overall tops in the league (us and Portland) have 16 points but since they have played 10 games to our 8 and lost 2, we are tops (also due to 1.000 winning percentage)

You’ll find a ton of Hershey Bears in the lead or tops in the league in pretty much any scoring category you look at. But I found this interesting, in the “Overall Leaders” for points, assists and goals, you can’t find a single player from WBS. Speaks to depth that every line is a scoring line.

Joe Vitale is tops in league categories for four shorthanded goals and game winning goals with three. Here’s a guy who overall goes unnoticed on the ice, but still fills up the score sheet somehow. There are no stats for how hard this guy plays. I know we have nicknames on this team such as Juice, The Ticket, BeastMode and Big Dog, but Vitale warrants his own nickname. I keep coming back to Rob Scuderi’s nickname when he was in Pittsburgh, “The Piece” just because he’s that “piece” that wins you games. Either through intangibles such as hard work or goal scoring, penalty killing or otherwise. Unoriginal? You hate it? Let me know your thoughts. Perhaps I will run a poll.

Here’s a funny stat – Andrew Hutchinson is 5th in the league in shooting percentage. Minimum is 5 shots. He has 2 goals on 5 shots good for a 40% shooting percentage. It all goes to quality, not quantity.

John Curry and Brad Thiessen are second and sixth overall in goaltending leaders category. Since Grand Rapids’ Joey MacDonald (currently third in the standings) is on recall to parent Detroit, and argument can be made that WBS has two of the top five goaltenders in the AHL. A further breakdown can be had that John Curry should be tops in the league in goaltenders overall. Only Peoria’s Jake Allen (a rookie) gets in before Curry because he played the league minimum of 120 minutes to qualify and let in only one goal. Here is the breakdown:

  • Curry and Thiessen are equal in minutes (245) and wins (4).
  • Curry has a 1.72 goals against average to Thiessen’s 1.96. (Thiessen has let in one more goal, eight, to Curry’s seven)
  • Curry has a 0.940 % save percentage to Thiessen’s 0.933%.
  • Curry has seen 117 shots and stopped 110 of them to Thiessen’s 115-107.

What does it mean? It means there shouldn’t be a debate right now over who is the better goaltender or, what goaltender gives you a better chance to beat a certain team (Hershey) since both have done that. Both are, speaking strictly to the stats on paper, equal.

As expected, WBS doesn’t have any names at the top of Rookie Leaders. I have to ask Bombulie or someone who actually looks at this stuff for a living what classifies as a “rookie.”

For Defensemen, Brian Strait is in the top three in the league in plus / minus with a +7. That +3 the other night v. Hershey certainly helped the cause.

WBS is middle of the pack, 16th, in penalty minutes, averaging 9 a game or 18 minutes per. 47 minors and 4 majors. Syracuse and Hershey top the league list. At first you’d think Syracuse’s Jon Mirasty is a huge contributor to that, but no. He only has five fighting majors. Hershey, on the other hand has 74 minor penalties and 13 majors.

WBS is 16th in the league in home power play success at 16.7%, 10th in the league in road power play success at 20% and 14th overall at 18.2%.

Penalty kill reads this way, home, road and overall: 4th – 91.7, 4th – 94.7 and 1st overall at 93%. Oklahoma City and Syracuse are second and third respectively overall in penalty kill at 92.9%. If neither team rears a power play goal Friday, the game vs. Syracuse Saturday should be fun.

Another reason for the undefeated record can stand to, well, we’ve outscored our opponents each period. 11-7 in the first, 9-2 in the second and 7-6 in the third. This pours into the next stat, shots per period. We’ve taken 92 shots and allowed 73 in the first, 83-74 in the second and 64-81. That last number tells me that we are more than likely ahead in the third period and the other team is shooting more to get back in the game, obviously, but it also speaks to the goaltending for not allowing a good majority of those shots to go in.

Here’s a great stat: Goals For and Goals Against per game. WBS is fourth in the league in goals for, at 3.63 and tops in the league in goals against, a miniscule 1.88. Norfolk, Hershey and Portland (three very good teams) sit ahead of us in GF/Game average. Norfolk is scoring a ridiculous 4.56 goals per game. In goals against, Peoria is second at 2.18.

Since we are undefeated, the miscellaneous home and team records don’t apply because we don’t have a loss.

No Penguin leaders for point streaks. Radio mentioned Saturday that Dustin Jeffrey had a point in five games coming into the game v. the Bears. He was scoreless or else he’d be on this list.

This was fun for me. Perhaps we’ll look at the stats again 20 games in to see if we improve / decrease in any specific area.

One response to “Statistically Speaking…

  1. magicsjohnson November 2, 2010 at 12:13 am

    The stats bear out just how great of a team the Pens are this season. When you can put together that kind of balance and depth, look out.

    Re: Mirasty — the thing with Jonny is that he typically gets the least number of shifts of anyone on the bench on a given night. I know that’s really nothing earth-shattering, but the reason I point it out is that if you looked at his ratio of PIMs to time on ice, it’s probably pretty absurd. I don’t have the time on ice numbers, but I can tell you that he didn’t get much time in the second or third periods in either game last weekend, and took a handful of shifts in the first both nights. I know it’s tough to justify a ton of shifts on a regular basis for a pure enforcer (let’s all admit it, he is what he is) but this seems to be the game plan so far this season.

    Should be a good game this weekend!