Don’t Worry Kids, Daddy & Daddy Aren’t Getting A Divorce

But they probably should spend some time apart.

In practice Wednesday, Ruff had split Benn and Seguin up: Benn on a line with Eakin and Ritchie, and Seguin centering the other Pitbulls. While Ruff was characteristically taciturn about his reasoning, he said he wanted the option to split them up in games for a period, and that he thought a change could be good for them.

I agree. But probably not for the reason you’re thinking.

Tyler has been having an unbelievable season, still leading the NHL in goals (tied currently with Nash) with a 31% increase in Goals per 60, and a 17% increase in shots. Jamie, on the other hand, has had a sharp drop in scoring this year, going from 1.4 G/60 down to just 0.8. His assists have gone up, and his shots down, leading people to believe that because Tyler has been so hot this year, Jamie is passing first and just not shooting.

This is true, but only part of the story.

So, the best way to read the following charts is this:

  • The top part is literally just the numbers. Light green means it went up, orange means it went down.
  • The second part is the percent change of these numbers. Green means it’s a good thing for Jamie or Tyler, red means it’s a bad thing. All these numbers are 5v5, in all score situations, and from war-on-ice.com

1.14 Bennguin Compare 1

Now, this is about what you would expect if you’re complaining about Jamie’s lack of offense this year. But look at the end of the graph and you’ll notice that both Jamie and Tyler are lacking in some puck luck this year compared to last (Tyler’s two week rolling average is now below 100 this season), and they’re down significantly in offensive zone starts. There are two key takeaways from this first graph

  • The shots Jamie are taking aren’t going in the net at the same rate as they were last year and part of that is just luck
  • Both Jamie and Tyler are being counted on to be more defensive-minded this year compared to last, which gives them fewer opportunities to make shots in general.

Still, this chart doesn’t seem to say anything other than what Josh Lile of Defending Big D postulates: Jamie’s just not shooting.

But check out this chart:

1.14 Bennguin Compare 2.3

There are a few things I want to draw your attention to here. The First is iSC/60 (individual scoring chances per 60). If we believe this “Jamie just isn’t shooting hypothesis”, then this number supports that. So does the iCF/60, which is Individual Corsi Events For per 60.

But, as you should know by now, Corsi = Blocked Shots + Missed Shots + Shots on Goal.

So yes, Jamie’s shots on goal are down 11% year over year. But both his blocked shots (BK) and missed shots (MS) are trending in the wrong direction – and at a much higher rate. Blocked Shots are 100% a defensive stat. Jamie’s 17% increase (and Tyler’s astronomical 36% increase) of mean that other teams are doing a much better job of making sure our top line doesn’t score goals.

Jamie has a 44% decrease in missed shots. You can argue that it’s because he’s not pulling the trigger, but that doesn’t explain why Seguin’s also down 14%. There are several variables at work as to why someone would pass instead of shoot, and I’d argue here that the biggest issue isn’t Jamie being tentative with his scoring, but because he’s under greater defensive pressure than he ever has been.

Merrin said on our podcast Tuesday “The biggest issue this season is that we’re not the underdogs anymore.”

She’s right. Other teams have figured out how Jamie & Tyler play, and have gone out of their way to stifle their offensive talents.

Need more proof? Here’s the With or Without You Corsi game chart from the tilt vs Colorado.

Blue= High Corsi For %, Red = Low Corsi For %, Green = neutral

The darker the color, the higher the time on ice together. (Please forgive the freehand circles)

Segs Benn COL D

The Benn-Segs-Ritchie line was almost exclusively up against Eric Johnson and Jan Hejda, Colorado’s top D pairing.

Not convinced? This one’s from Nashville, when we did eventually split up the top line (and go on to score with Cole-Spezza-Seguin on the ice)

Segs Benn NSH D

So yes, it’d be great if Jamie would shoot more, and breaking up Benn and Seguin might be one way to encourage that. But the better reason to use them on different lines is that the other team will have to defend against them individually, and can’t shut them down as a unit. It worked in Nashville, and it works for the Blackhawks (Kane & Toews anyone?), so I think it’s a theory worth testing.

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