Providing statistical information with intent to show a player’s progression or to excuse a shortcoming without providing some sort of context is to put it simply, not the way to go about things. It’s especially hard to provide that context on Twitter so it’s probably best to leave it alone unless you are willing to provide tweet after tweet with your explanation.
I didn’t see the tweet I am referencing here but it was brought to my attention because it did not mesh with what I have said. Basically, the tweet said that when Lysell played under 15 minutes per game (17 games) he only had 1 goal and 1 assist and when he played over 15 minutes (38 games) he had 13 goals and 23 assists. It didn’t suggest that Lysell’s ice time was a contributing factor in his point production, it claimed it. That’s true of any player at any level. No dispute from me here. So, the question becomes: why the lack of ice time in certain situations?
I will now attempt to give you some context.
First off, the tweeter is apparently using regular season and playoff games combined, based on goals and assists totals. If that’s the case, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, then Lysell played in 57 games not 55. Now in fairness to the tweeter, they may not have included games that Lysell left early but they didn’t clarify that, but then why include the stats from those games?
The other thing I want to mention is that neither the AHL nor the Providence Bruins make time on ice stats available to the public, and unless you have an in, you’re not getting them. I’m not sure where the stats came from, but I do know there are sites out there that use an estimate – basically they are watching on TV and are guessing at the stat. I am told they are close, but not totally accurate.
It’s evident that the Bruins are better when Lysell is on the ice and producing. They were (in the regular season) 21-3-5 when he registers a point, 13-9-3 when he plays but does not register a point and 10-6-2 when he doesn’t play.
Several conditions play a role in how a coach at any level hands out TOI to his/her players. The coach’s role is to give the team the best possible chance of winning. At the top of the coach’s decision making is whether the player “has it” on any particular given night. Game situation also dictates who the coach is sending out over the boards. Are they protecting a lead or do they need a goal? Is the oppositions top line on the ice? Clearly, if you’re protecting the lead or the oppositions best players are on the ice, Lysell (at this point of his career) is not the player you want on the ice. Special teams also play a huge role. If you’re on the PP you want Lysell on the ice, if you’re on the PK, you don’t. Special teams have a huge role in Lysell’s ice time. And that’s where I am going to break it down for you.
There is no doubt Lysell is an excellent powerplay performer. So, let’s look there as it pertains to production and ice time. Of the 21 victories in which Lysell got a point, the Bruins had more powerplays in all but 5 of those games and all but one of those five games they only had one more PP than their opponent. More powerplays equals more ice time which equals more production. Remember, almost 46% of Lysell’s production came with the man advantage. And of the eight combined losses in only one game did the Bruins have more powerplays than the opposition. In two of those decisions, they had the same number of powerplays and in the other five they had more than 1 powerplay opportunity more than the opposition. The powerplay let them down on those nights.
Let’s look on the flip side and the games Lysell did not register a point. In 7 of their 13 wins, they had the same or less powerplay opportunities than their opponent. Less powerplay time equals less ice time which in turn equals less opportunity for production. In seven of their combined 12 losses when Lysell didn’t register a point, the Bruins were shorthanded more than their opponent and in all 7 games, by multiple penalties. In other words, penalties to the Bruins kept him off the ice.
Let’s look at 5-on-5 situations:
Lysell easily had the worst plus/minus on the team with a minus-12. He was on the ice for 20 even strength goals for and 32 against. That doesn’t scream dependable when games are close or on the line. The Bruins were involved in 17 one-goal games in which Lysell played with a further 8 games going to a shootout. Those are not ideal conditions for a player who is your greatest defensive liability. Yet, the Bruins were just 10-7 in those situations that did not go to a shootout and Lysell had points in 5 of those losses.
Presumably, someone would make the argument that is precisely the situations you use your best offensive player in. Someone else could counter with the fact that Georgii Merkulov and Vinni Lettieri were more productive, and they were. Justin Brazeau was also as productive as Lysell was. The difference being that Merkulov, Lettieri and Brazeau weren’t going to hurt you defensively like Lysell would in those situations and therefore, more ice time for them and less for Lysell.
Context is everything. Based on the original stats alone, it would be easy to condemn the Bruins coaching staff for not putting Lysell on the ice more in certain situations. But when watching the games and dissecting the stats (I didn’t even get into all of them here) I can fully understand the decisions to keep him off the ice in certain situations.
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One thought on “Fabian Lysell: Statistical Facts”
Dominic, your analysis and comments are just great. Thorough analysis.
I especially enjoyed the prospects evaluations.
AB, Bruins fan from Montreal since 1970.