A good time to look at some underlying trends for the Hawks at the break.
40.2, 33.9, 29.9, 34.1
That would be Brent Seabrook’s last four games in Corsi. If you’re new to the stat, let me spoil the mystery. That’s real bad. Like, abhorrent. And it’s kind of been the trend for Seabrook all season.
Seabrook’s numbers, other than his offensive output which shouldn’t be dismissed, have fallen off a cliff. Overall, Seabrook has a 48.1% Corsi percentage, far down from his 53.2 career mark. What makes that even scarier is that Seabrook is facing just about the easiest competition of his career since his rookie year. His time-on-ice of competition, which is how some people measure it, is 17.3. That’s down slightly from last year’s 17.4, but in this category tenths of a minute do actually make a difference. His zone starts aren’t really any different from what’s come before either.
The big difference for Seabrook this year is that he’s hardly played with Duncan Keith at all, which is what we’re all accustomed to. They’ve only played 72 minutes together at evens this season. In that time, they’ve crushed the competition to the tune of 59.2%. But in the other 846 minutes that Seabrook has played this season at even-strength, Seabrook has been having his lunch handed to him (something he’s not terribly upset about) for a 46.8% mark.
You may think this has always been the case. But over the past five years, Seabrook’s mark with Keith is 54.8 but without him it’s a still respectable 51.8. He wasn’t helpless before without his usual partner. Now he is.
No player exemplifies the home/road splits better than Seabrook. At home, Seabrook carries a 51.8 mark, and on the road it’s 45% flat. This is something that Quenneville is clearly recognizing, because at home his competition gets easier and his offensive zone starts go up as well. Let’s say the problem has been diagnosed, but the cure is far from arriving and it is certainly not a kid in Erik Gustafsson who has been in the league barely a month.
Looking at other numbers, Seabrook’s scoring chances against per 60 mark is actually down from last year. But his scoring chances for per 60 is way, way down from 28.3 to 24.2, and last year was a slide from 32.2. Seabrook’s passing ability and desire to jump in the play should see more than this, but he’s not getting as many chances to do that because he’s been so buried in his own zone.
It’s all a problem, whatever the Hawks’ record might say. While the Hawks got through last year’s playoffs with just four d-men, that was with four top pairing guys. With Oduya gone and Seabrook’s decline this year, they only have two top pairing guys. Once the chaff has been cut out of the West, pretty much every team the Hawks would see in the playoffs has at least two good scoring lines (even the Wild if they make a trade). The Kings, Stars, Blues (at least in theory) have three. Seabs is going to have to pick it up.
Good thing they’re handing him all the money past the age of 30 next year, huh?
9.4, 7.6, 5.4, 3.8
We’ve discussed this before, but these are Marian Hossa’s shooting percentage over the past four seasons. Last year, we tried to tell ourselves it was just bad luck. But this is four years of decline, and you’d have to say it’s something of a pattern now. This is where player tracking would come in handy. Has Hossa lost something on the fastball? Is his release just a touch slower than it was?
What we can find out is that Hossa isn’t getting the same looks that he was, even though he’s still getting just about the same amount. Here’s his shot chart two seasons ago, though this was coming off back surgery:
Now this year:
Don’t see a lot of red near the net, do you? And it might not be just a case of “not getting to the dirty areas.” It might be “can’t get to the dirty areas,” at least not in time. At 36, it’s hard to see how this gets better as the games pile up. Toews’s struggles might just be pinpointed right here. He might not be getting any help.