Ok, as you guys all know I’ve been doing the Stars season breakdowns, and today I got to pull our beloved Klingberg’s numbers. Spoiler, his graph looks like this:
Because I’m a masochist, I decided to look at Ekblad’s averages. Fortunately, he played 81 games, so I didn’t have to worry about breaks in play like I did for some of the other guys.
Like all the other graphs, this is 5v5 and Score Adjusted.
Huh. For the guy that everyone is like “OMG HE’S SUCH A GOOD PLAYER (relative to his team)” I was kind of expecting something better than flat. I also was surprised to see such a dip in possession in the last half of the year, as Recency Bias is frequently quoted for Forsberg’s exclusion.
So I started taking a look at the points, and points per 60 and I noticed that Ekblad racked up most of his points as Secondary Assists. Now, there’s some really compelling evidence that secondary assists aren’t (in the long term) any indicator of talent, so I decided to look at where all the Calder Candidates landed if these weren’t considered in points.
Quick refresher on how to read this 5v5 chart:
- Rank of Position: compared to all other Forwards or Defenders with 500 + minutes, where do the rookies fall in Simple P/60 (Note, there were 204 Dmen and 383 Forwards)
- P60 = Points per 60 minutes
- Simple P60 = Goals + Primary Assists per 60 minutes
- Delta = P60 – Simple P60, aka how much were they being helped in scoring by Secondary Assists
- ZSO% Rel: Offensive Zone Start % when the player is on the ice vs where their team starts when the player is off the ice
- CF% = Corsi For % (Shot Attempts For/All Shot Attempts)
- FF% = Fenwick For % (Unblocked Shot Attempts For/All Unblocked Shot Attempts)
- TOIT% = Time On Ice % of Teammates (Teammates’ TOI/All TOI Available)
- TOIC% = Time On Ice % of Competition (Direct Competitors’ TOI/All TOI Available on Opposing Team)
- CorT% = Teammates’ Corsi For %, weighted by TOI
- CorC% = Competitors’ Corsi For %, weighted by TOI
- Per usual, Green is Better/Easier, Red is Worse/Harder
You really should look at Forwards differently from Dmen, but there’s still a lot here that doesn’t add up when you’re looking at Ekblad’s inclusion in the Calder nominations. First, his Simple P60 isn’t great. Of 204 Dmen, he ranks 36th, which is still top 18%, but compared to Klingberg’s NUMBER TWO is kind of “whatever”. Mark Stone is top 4%, Forsberg is top 9%, and Gaudreau is only top 32%.
Second, Ekblad has a 15% Offensive Zone Start Relative. That’s….forward-esque numbers. A lot of people have said “you can’t shelter a defenseman” but when his zone starts are that lopsided, then yeah, he’s pretty sheltered. Also, his CF% and FF% are almost exactly the same as Klingberg’s, but our little Swede is the only rookie starting in the Defensive Zone.
Third, if you look at the competition, Ekblad is playing the easiest competition of any of the rookies, while having some of the best Corsi Teammates. So again, his usage, at least on the 5v5, says “I’m a rookie, and I’m sheltered.”
But that’s an interesting point – most of these players, Klingberg included, log significant minutes on the power play.
Not much changes here – Ekblad is still last in Simple P60. His offensive zone starts actually become the 2nd highest of any rookie, he actually has a lower CF% and FF% than his direct compare (Klingberg) and he still has the easiest competition of any of the rookies.
And his rank? Well, he drops out of the top 20%.
Ekblad is a very good defenseman. Ekblad is a very good rookie. Ekblad is a very good 18 yr old rookie.
Ekblad is not in the top 3 rookies of this year and should not have been nominated for the Calder.
*If he wins, all bets are off.