Dan Girardi

Tampa Bay Lightning: Taking An In-Depth Look At Dan Girardi

Featured Image Photo Credit – Dinur Blum

The last Tampa Bay Lightning player evaluation that I did was on Braydon Coburn, so I’ve decided to stick with the blue-line here. This player is likely on his way out, though it is still an unknown at this point. The question is, should they? I will evaluate his skills and determine if it is worth the money to bring him back. That player is Dan Girardi.  

The Basics

Last season, Girardi played 62 total games, while in a rotation in and out of the lineup as a healthy scratch. Despite that, he scored 4 goals and assisted on 12 more, for a total of 16 points. He averaged 17:48 time on ice, due to the fact that he tended to play on the first defensive pair with Victor Hedman, with no special teams time. He started 49% of his shifts in the offensive zone, and racked up a 49.9 Corsi-For%, his best CF% in 10 years (the 2008-09 season). Girardi had a takeaway to giveaway ratio of 8 to 25, a -17 differential. It’s also a career low total in takeaways and giveaways. Girardi recorded a 100.7 PDO, which means he’s only a little bit lucky, relative to the average of 100 PDO.  With Girardi on the ice this season, the Lightning had an expected goals for of 45.7 and an expected goals against of 43.7, which is a +2 differential, his first career plus expected +/- since it was first calculated in the 2014-15 season. 

Advanced Analytics

Girardi wasn’t good or bad in almost all of his stats except the takeaway-giveaway ratio. However, he has never really been good in that metric in his career. He did improve in a few areas compared to prior seasons, but overall on the surface, he hasn’t been that good. If we look into the spider graphs, maybe they can hint at something that he is good at.

visual created by Kyle Pereira, data from CJ Turtoro

Girardi (red) is last in his shot contributions, which ultimately means he doesn’t generate any sort of offense from his shots (ShotContr60, ShotAssists60), but he does shoot the puck more than Jan Rutta (Shots60). He ranks dead last in all transition metrics, which looks at his success breaking out of the defensive zone (PossExit60, PossExit%) and breaking into the offensive zone (PossEntry60, PossEntry%). He is the best of the three defensemen shown on the graph for breaking up the opposition’s entry attempts (Breakups60), and has better defensive numbers than offensive, but still ranks last in allowing the opposition a high volume of entries in a 60 minute span (PossEntryAllw60) and second in how many entries he allows compared to the total number of entries he has to defend against (PossEntryAllw%).

Where I am intrigued the most is in his seemingly awful transition game, so let’s first look into his performance on the breakout by taking a look at CJ Turtoro’s Exit per 60 minute visual. 

visual created by CJ Turtoro, data from Corey Sznajder

Girardi ranks dead last among all other Lightning defenders (minus Rutta) in this metric. He only ever passes the puck up and out of the defensive zone to a teammate, and never skates it out. He relies very heavily on his dumps and clears when leaving the defensive zone which allows for the opponents to quickly regain the puck in the neutral zone and get another entry, hence his high PossEntryAllw60 metric on the spider graph. He ices it less than Coburn does, but still more than all other defenders, which isn’t bad, but still needs to be taken down a little bit. Girardi has a high amount of fails, and that’s where he really needs to turn it down. While he didn’t turn the puck over a whole lot last season, he had around the same amount of fails as Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev, who are pace pushers and take risks moving up ice, which sometimes leads to fails. But in Girardi’s case, he doesn’t push the pace at all, and he’s just seemingly bad at breaking out. This isn’t a good look for Girardi.

Now let’s look at Girardi’s metric of entering the offensive zone using CJ Turtoro’s Entries per 60 minute visual. 

visual created by CJ Turtoro, data from Corey Sznajder

Yet again, Girardi ranks dead last in entering the zone, but this time there’s a better reason why. While he had a tough workload exiting the zone (lots of attempts), he had the smallest workload breaking into the offensive zone, as he never really made an attempt to do so consistently. For controlled entries, he passes to a teammate more than he skates it in himself, though it is pretty close. He constantly dumps it in however, if he even tries entering at all. The best part about the whole thing though? He very rarely fails in getting the puck in, when he tries doing so, and thus is fairly effective entering the offensive zone. Now, if we go back to the spider graph, we will remember that his best attributes were in his defensive zone play. 

Break-Ups versus Possession Exits

Let’s now take a look at Sean Tierney’s visual, Controlling the blue line. 

visual created by Sean Tierney, data from Corey Sznajder

Girardi, the left-most defenseman, had a high breakup%, about even with both Ryan McDonagh and Anton Stralman. However, as we saw before, he was not good at breaking out of the defensive end, and thus had the lowest, by a wide margin, Possession Exit%. He’s just an okay defenseman, because he breaks up the oppositions attack, but then can’t break out of the defensive zone, doesn’t really try to break into the offensive zone, and does little to make a difference offensively. 

In Conclusion 

Dan Girardi is just okay, as I touched on earlier. I feel as though the Lightning gave him too much ice time, and that he should not have been deployed more often than both Sergachev and Coburn. To me, Girardi is a solid 7th defenseman, who can slot into any lineup that needs him when an injury occurs. You know exactly what you’re going to get with Coburn due to his very consistent production, but he isn’t your guy if you already struggle breaking out or pushing offense. I don’t see the point in re-signing Dan Girardi with better options on the roster, and cheaper options in the trade market and within the Lightning’s farm system. I can see Girardi going to Long Island to play for Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders. 

All stats via Hockey-reference

Spider graphs created by Kyle Pereira, data gathered by CJ Turtoro

Controlling the Blue-line visual from Sean Tierney

Featured Image Photo Credit – Dinur Blum

Braydon Coburn

Tampa Bay Lightning: Evaluating Braydon Coburn

Part 14 of my Tampa Bay Lightning player evaluation is finally here, and it is going back to the blue-line.

The Lightning had one of the strongest defensive cores in the league in a lot of people’s minds, and that might just be because of the stellar season the whole team had. But yet, despite all the love the blue-line gets, the top four gets most of the credit.

But what about the bottom 2 defensive pair and the Lightning’s 7th defenseman?

I’m here to show you that they, too, contributed towards the Lightning’s success. First, let’s start off with Braydon Coburn, who was recently signed to a 2 year deal worth an average of $1.7M per year.

The Basics

Last season, Coburn played 74 games, recording 4 goals and 19 assists (23 points), which was his best season, from a production standpoint, since the 2011-12 NHL season. He averaged 16:07 time on ice, with a perfect 50% distribution of offensive and defensive shift starts. With the 50/50 on-ice distribution, he went on to have a 52.6 Corsi-For%, his best CF% since the 2009-10 NHL season. He had a takeaway to giveaway ratio of 17 to 22, which is a -5 differential.

While that may not seem good, it isn’t all bad, as he doesn’t really generate giveaways or takeaways. He recorded a 100.1 PDO, which is just a hair above the average PDO of 100, which tells me he is only slightly more lucky than the average NHL player.

When Coburn was on the ice, the Lightning had an expected goals for of 51.1 and an expected goals against of 45.9, which is a +5.2 differential. What that tells me is he pushes the tempo of play up ice, but isn’t always super reliable in his own end. Now, that may not be so true, so stay tuned.

Advanced Analytics

Coburn has always been thought of as a stay-at-home defenseman, generally. But while his point totals back that up, his expected goals for when he’s on the ice tells me otherwise. It tells me his loves pushing the play up ice, and trying to generate some sort of offense. By using my own spider graph, we can determine where he stands on both the offensive and defensive ends.

visual created by Kyle Pereira, stats from CJ Turtoro

Coburn (blue) is hands down, far and away, the best defenseman among the bottom 3 defenders on the Lightning roster when it comes to shooting. He shoots way more in general (Shots60), and generates more offense off of his shooting (ShotContr60, ShotAssists60) by quite a bit. He’s also far better at entering the offensive zone (PossEntry60, PossEntry%) by a wide margin as well. He stands out less when exiting, or breaking out, of the defensive zone (PossExit%, PossExit60), but is still better than the other two on the graph. Finally, his worst categories. All players on the graph mark around the same area on the graph when it comes to breaking up an opponent trying to enter the zone (Breakups60), ranks second when it comes to allowing entries over a 60 minute span (PossEntryAllw60), and then ranks dead last when it comes to how many he allows over the total amount of entries he has to break up, or defend against (PossEntryAllw%). But his prowess over the other two depth options is the reason why Lightning General Manager Julien BriseBois gave him a new contract.

Coburn’s Exits per 60

But, to dive deeper into his success, let’s check out CJ Turtoro’s Exit per 60 minute visual.

visual created by CJ Turtoro, stats from Corey Sznajder

Coburn ranks 11th on the Lightning roster when it comes to breaking out of the defensive zone. He has a fairly decent workload, just about even with Anton Stralman for the amount of breakout attempts. He relies more heavily on his dumps and clears, rather than passing or skating it out. That’s the reason why his seemingly good breakout game doesn’t translate to the spider graph, because the spider graph looks specifically at controlled breakouts and not chipping the puck out and away. He ices the puck a lot, which isn’t necessarily good, but it isn’t a huge problem, but that should still be brought down a little bit for next season. He has a high fail mark, which is the worst part about his graph. However, he goes for clearing the puck rather than a controlled breakout, and his clear attempts might be getting knocked down at the line often enough for it to negatively affect his game. All in all, however, he’s just alright at getting the puck out of the defensive zone.

Coburn’s Entries Per 60

Now, let’s look at CJ Turtoro’s Entry per 60 minute visual to see how truly good Coburn is at breaking into the offensive zone and driving the offense.

visual created by CJ Turtoro, stats from Corey Sznajder

According to the visual, Coburn had the third highest workload amongst defenseman when it came to entering the offensive zone, ahead of even Victor Hedman, but ranked just 5th on the team. He had a decent amount of controlled entries, where he passes to a teammate or skates it in himself, but just like all the other defensemen, he looked more for a quick dump in to get the job done. He doesn’t fail very often, considering how often he tries entering the offensive zone, so that’s not a problem there. Being a bottom pair defenseman, who is basically known around the entire league as a defensive defenseman, these are solid stats.

Break-Up % vs Possession Exit %

But to truly evaluate how good a defenseman is at, well, defending, we have to use Sean Tierney’s Controlling the blue-line visual.

visual created by Sean Tierney, stats from Corey Sznajder

Coburn, highlighted on the graph, does not have a high breakup%, which ultimately means that he allows the opposing team to enter the Lightning defensive zone more than he stops them from doing so. While that may sound really bad, and it surely isn’t good, he was just a little below Hedman and well above Mikhail Sergachev in that metric. Where he really struggled, which we touched on earlier and isn’t necessarily the case, is his controlled Possession Exit%. He wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good, and that tells me he just goes in and does whatever the coach asks of him.

In Conclusion

Coburn is a very simple minded defenseman. You want him to get the puck out of the defensive zone, he will clear the zone one way or another. You want him to drive the offense and move the puck up the ice, he will move the puck up ice and drive the offense. If you want him to generate shots, he will shoot. He doesn’t play a flashy, risky game, but rather a slower, simpler game. He’s a very low risk, potentially high reward player, and for a guy to do that while averaging bottom D pair time on a night to night basis, that’s pretty solid, to me.

All stats via Hockey-reference

Spider graphs created by Kyle Pereira, data gathered by CJ Turtoro

Controlling the Blueline visual from Sean Tierney

Featured Image Photo Credit – Dinur Blum

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning: Awful Trades and A Slow Off-Season

Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois has not impressed anyone yet. Since taking over a star-studded team built by former GM Steve Yzerman, BriseBois decided not to add at the trade deadline.

 

His team, regardless of that, had an historic season. Or should I say, Yzerman’s team did, because BriseBois only added Jan Rutta, who played 14 games in blue and white. He also called up Cameron Gaunce, who stepped in for two games.

Then, with forward Brayden Point waiting for a contract as a Restricted Free Agent, BriseBois tests everyone’s patience by first extending Rutta, and then trading a bright, young, and talented goaltending prospect in Connor Ingram for a bucket of pucks. I mean a seventh round pick, in a draft three years from now, ultimately has the same value as a bucket of pucks. But at least you can get the pucks immediately and not wait three years for them. You’re welcome Nashville.

 

Why Is The Ingram Trade Bad?

First off, Ingram is a prospect, and the best in the Lightning system for his position. That alone should be reason enough for him to warrant a hell of a lot more than a seventh round pick in 2021. But there’s a lot more than meets the eye, so a deeper dive should do the trick.

 

Who Is Connor Ingram?

Ingram is a 22 year old goalie, who was drafted in the third round (88th overall) in 2016, where he was ranked as a top-10 goalie (and the eighth off the board).

Embed from Getty Images

After being drafted, he returned to the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, where he had played for the previous two seasons. In 45 games, he posted a 2.44 goals against average (GAA) and a .927 save percentage (SV%). Then, in six postseason games, he was magnificent, with a 2.18 GAA and .946 SV%.

The following season, he began with the Lightning’s ECHL affiliate at the time, the Adirondack Thunder, where he quickly proved he was too good to be there. With a 1.30 GAA and .960 SV% in three games, he was called up to the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. There, he stepped into a big role, starting 35 games and posting a 2.33 GAA and .914 SV%.

Ingram started this season once again with Syracuse. But then, out of the blue, his playing time was rolled back. Despite being in the AHL all-star game this past season for his stellar season with the Crunch, he was sent to the new ECHL affiliate, the Orlando Solar Bears, after 22 games.

In those said 22 games, Ingram had a solid 2.26 GAA and .922 SV%. He was beginning to show why he was worthy of being a third-round selection (about where top goalies tend to get selected). That’s when things fell apart. According to personal sources, there was a dispute between Ingram and Lightning management, though it is unclear what exactly the disputes were about at this time. He did not play well in the 13 regular season ECHL games that followed (2.81 GAA, .914 SV%), but did play up to expectations in the playoffs (10 games, 1.94 GAA, .935 SV%), before ultimately falling short and getting knocked out of the playoffs.

 

In Conclusion

His frustrations were clear in his struggles at a low-level of hockey, and he reportedly requested a trade when he initially was sent down to the ECHL.

Just like with the Jonathan Drouin situation however, Ingram went back to his true on-ice self in the playoffs, and the problems seemingly, were no longer problems anymore. But at least the Lightning were able to snag Mikhail Sergachev for Drouin. Granted, Drouin had a lot more value than Ingram does, but the Lightning could have easily gotten more. At least get a third round pick back for him, or even a B-level prospect. But instead, in essence, a bucket of pucks that will get delivered in 2021.

 

All stats via Elite Prospects

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning: Is There A Blockbuster Trade Ahead?

Could the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vancouver Canucks pull off a blockbuster trade? 

Fellow Puck77 contributor Niels Nielsen (great name by the way) put out an article regarding moves that the Canucks can make to speed up their rebuild out in Vancouver. One of the trades included in his article was a deal involving the Tampa Bay Lightning, so I decided to break it down.

 

What Was The Deal?

Here’s who went where in that mock trade.

 

To Tampa: Alex Biega, Olli Juolevi, Jake Virtanen, and a 2020 2nd round pick

To Vancouver: Mikhail Sergachev, Ryan Callahan, and Tyler Johnson

 

From Vancouver’s perspective, they get an immediate top 4 defenseman with high upside in Sergachev, whose contract expires next season, a top 6 forward who can play either wings or in the middle in Johnson, and a veteran 4th liner and expert penalty killer, who’s overpaid, but expiring soon, in Callahan. In Tampa’s perspective, they add a cheap depth defenseman who I’ve been high on recently in Biega, a once highly touted prospect who still has plenty of upside and could step into a bottom 2 role immediately in Juolevi, a bottom 6 winger with potential to play in the top 6 if used right in Virtanen and a future early second round pick in a very talented draft next season. But we need to dive deeper into why these pieces would realistically make sense to be moved.

Why Move Sergachev, Johnson and Callahan?

I don’t want Sergachev to go anywhere, he has so much upside and so much talent right now, that I would rather keep him around. But, he expires next season, along with Anthony Cirelli, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Erik Cernak, just to name the more vital players. Sergachev played bottom pair minutes through most of last season, and on some occasions played on the first pair with Hedman. But he was ultimately jumped on the line-up by Cernak, a guy who was originally supposed to be a temporary helper for injuries. Sergachev’s defensive zone play is a concern and his consistency is not there yet. He could still cost a decent chunk, especially if he fixes his play on defense, which Tampa may not be able to afford. So, get something for him now if the Lightning doubt they can get him next off-season. Logically, that’s not an unrealistic idea, and with Julien BriseBois at the helm, and not the guy who traded for Sergachev (Steve Yzerman), there’s a chance it really could happen. As for Johnson, he is overpaid for a middle 6 role in Tampa, but if moved to Vancouver, can fulfill his payroll of $5M per season. Shedding that much cap alone would be a great move, in my eyes, and it makes sense, as Johnson’s name has been thrown around in trade suggestions due to his high cap hit. As for Callahan, he is egregiously overpaid, and sat in the pressbox for a large chunk of the Lightning season, barely cracking the roster due to injuries. If the Lightning can avoid a buyout and trade his rights, that alone would be a huge win for BriseBois. If he can package Johnson and Callahan in a trade, that’s an even bigger win. But like with everything, there’s always loss before gain. That loss is Sergachev. However, with all three contracts together, the Lightning are losing $11.694M, roughly. That puts their total cap space from $8.577M to $20.271M

Why Biega, Juolevi, Virtanen and the second rounder in 2020?

I will start with the 2020 second rounder. Next year’s draft features an abundance of prospects to choose from, and when I asked Frans, among others, which class was stronger between this years and next, a majority of them said that yes, next season will be far deeper. While not many people know exactly who ranks where yet, many expected it to be better than this year, and this year is pretty packed with talent. When I asked Will Scouch, who’s forte is looking at future prospects, he said, “It is almost a certainty.” So the second rounder is a nice touch. As for Alex Biega, I really like the guy on the Lightning as a bottom pair guy with Jan Rutta or Braydon Coburn in a sort of rotation type gig. I wrote a piece on Biega not too long ago, so check that out here if you want an in-depth look on him. Virtanen has played 210 career NHL games, with 32 goals and 27 assists (59 points), while averaging 12:44 time on ice. He has a career Corsi-For% of 49.0%, which isn’t great, but Vancouver hasn’t exactly been a great team either. He has yet to play a full 82 game season, either, but that’s the last negative for now. He’s coming off a career high in points (25), and goals (15), as well as a career high for time on ice (14:49). He also has a career takeaway to giveaway ratio of 123 to 69, which is a +54 differential, which is incredible. He plays physical, as he recorded 154 hits last season, and blocked a career high amount of shots (37). He would fit in nicely with the third or fourth line, as well as killing penalties, with more efficiency and a cheaper cost ($1.25M for one more season) than Ryan Callahan. He is also younger, with upside. Olli Juolevi was at one point one of the most hyped up defensive prospects in the NHL. But he has been ravaged by injuries, only playing 18 AHL games last season. However, he did impress, posting 1 goal and 12 assists (13 points) in that span. Yet again, I bugged Will Scouch for his own report on Juolevi, and he had this to say: “I’ve always been a fan through everything, and his offensive game was well on it’s way in the AHL. He’s probably going to need a full AHL season to get back up to speed unless he really explodes at camp.”

In-Depth Analysis

Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is an advanced analytic which is making a push towards relevancy, as it calculates a players contributions per minute compared with their overall contribution. With that being said, WAR is gaining traction, and is very important to look at. First, here’s Alex Biega among Lightning and Canuck defenseman on Sean Tierney’s WAR per minute visual.

This is the same picture shown in my Biega breakdown article, and I will show it again here. Biega ranks 6th in this metric, showing his importance through and through. But question is, how will Virtanen fair among forwards on the ‘Nucks and Bolts?

Virtanen ranks second to last in this metric, ultimately showing that he is a complete liability. I can’t be that harsh, but this shows exactly why he plays very low minutes on a not-so-good team. I’d imagine every Lightning fan, reporter, and general reader will want to keep Tyler Johnson and Ryan Callahan over him. So Virtanen may not be the best piece of this trade, but he is still a piece, and might fill that Callahan role but at a much cheaper cost. Finally, Juolevi. Because he didn’t play at the NHL, he does not have any data on these more advanced visuals, but there is one, and it’s a metric that calculates an AHL players chances of making it to the big leagues next season, via Sean Tierney.

As shown above, Juolevi has a good chance of being in the NHL next season, in a depth role, but most likely would not be against staying down in the AHL for a season, which is what will likely happen  thanks to the Lightning’s ridiculous defensive depth. With Juolevi down in the minors, only Biega and Virtanen will count against the cap, and they combine for a $2.075M cap hit.

 

Salary Cap Space For Tampa After This Move

After this move, Tampa would have $18.196M freed up. Now let’s say that they re-sign Brayden Point for $8M per season, their cap hit is bumped down to $10.196M. Then they re-sign Paquette for $1M per season, and now their space is down to $9.196M. Their defense consists of Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Erik Cernak, Alex Biega and Jan Rutta. Erik Karlsson has been talked about taking a paycut to go to Tampa, and that being said, could take a $9M per season deal, with the first two years with a low cap hit of $8M and the remainder with over $9M per. What this does is it alleviates pressure from re-signing Vasilevskiy, Cirelli, and Cernak next off-season. Then, after a couple years and the Lightning solve next off-seasons obstacles, Karlsson’s heavy backend of a contract sets in and they have a star-studded core locked in for a few seasons. Meanwhile, the Canucks speed up their rebuild with veterans and a fantastic top 4, young defenseman.

In Conclusion

As Niels touched on with his mock trades, this deal may not be the most realistic, but the individual pieces being moved are, logistically, realistic. The idea of bringing in Erik Karlsson is tantalizing, and this deal gives them an ideal opportunity to do just that. Here’s a look at what the line up would look like if those moves were made.

Quite the unit there, and remember, only Karlsson’s first 2 seasons will be at $8M per year, while his last 2/3 will be $10M per (for a 4 year deal), or $9.666M per(for a 5 year deal).

 

All salary and line combinations via capfriendly.com

All stats via hockey reference

WAR graphs and NHL potential via Sean Tierney on Public.Tableau

Featured Image Credit: Justin Miner

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning: Player Evaluation Part 10: Mikhail Sergachev

Tampa Bay Lightning player evaluation part 10! We made it, finally! But who will it be this time around? Staying on the back end for this one, we will look at another youngster, defenceman Mikhail Sergachev.

Embed from Getty Images

Sergachev was traded from Montreal to Tampa Bay two off-seasons ago,  and has been a big part of the team since. How valuable was he to the record-setting totals from last season?

The Basics

Sergachev played in 75 games for the Lightning last season, recording six goals (0.08 goals per game), and 26 assists (0.35 assists per game) for 32 points (0.43 points per game). He averaged 17:55 time on-ice last season with 53.8% of his shifts starting in the offensive zone. That deployment in the offensive zone led to a Corsi For% of 53.7%. He had a takeaway to giveaway ratio of 18 to 50, which is a differential of -32, which is not necessarily good. He also recorded a very average PDO of 100.7, and when Sergachev was on the ice, the Lightning had an expected goals for of 56.2 and an expected goals against of 47.8 which is a differential of +8.4.

Advanced Analytics

Sergachev constantly tries driving the offense, but a lack of consistency is what caused him to lose ice time to rookie Erik Cernak, as well as losing a couple games as a healthy scratch in a defensive rotation involving Braydon Coburn, Dan Girardi, and at one point, Cernak. His consistency must be solved, but did his offensive numbers, and constant pushing of offense in the transitional game, make up for his struggle with turning over the puck? Let’s look at the spider graphs.

Sergachev was right up at the top of the rankings when it came to his shooting, whether he was contributing goals or chances (ShotContr60), gathering assists (ShotAssists60), or just taking a high volume of shots (Shots60). He also stood out, almost hand in hand with Victor Hedman, when it came to entering the offensive zone (PossEntry60, PossEntry%).

He also sparkled exiting the defensive zone, compared to his teammates (PossExit60, PossExit%). While he doesn’t break up passes and generate takeaways while the opposition is entering the zone (Breakups60), he doesn’t allow a lot of entries (PossEntryAllw60).

But when the opposition is breaking into the Lightning d-zone, chances are they’ll get past Sergachev (PossEntry%). Based solely on what I have seen from this graph (and basic statistics), his high deployment in the offensive zone leads to him not dealing with much in the defensive zone, thus why he doesn’t give up a lot of entries, but does give up more entries than he stops. That being said, I also predict that he has a small workload breaking out of the defensive end, but to determine that, we must look at CJ Turtoro’s Exit Per 60 minute visual.

Despite my best guesses, I was wrong, wholly and completely.

Sergachev has a similar workload breaking out of the defensive zone as Hedman, which is why he ranks third on the roster in this metric (1st among defense). He relies heavily on a breakout pass, as he doesn’t skate it out himself too much. He mainly decides to clear or dump the puck out of the zone more than anything, and does get the occasional icing called against him.

But what really concerns me is the high level of fails (Fail/60). That tells me he either forces way too much up ice (since he does push heavily to drive the offense), or he doesn’t successfully clear or dump the puck out of the zone.

I don’t know which is worse quite honestly, but what I can say is he needs to stop whatever it is. He’s still young, and as he grows as a player and gains more confidence in himself (as well as more hockey maturity), he’ll be able to read the play more effectively, and turn the puck over less. Hopefully, at least.  On the contrary, his entry metrics were solid, so let’s see what he did right entering the offensive zone, using CJ Turtoro’s Entries per 60 minutes visual.

Sergachev is the best defenseman that played for the Lightning this season, in this metric, and it wasn’t even close.

He passed it to a teammate for an entry or individually skated the puck out himself with equal results, and if neither option was available, he simply dumped it in deep. He didn’t fail nearly as often when entering the offensive zone, but he is a defenseman, and defensemen should not always be the ones entering the offensive zone.

But his success driving the offense makes up for other struggles. Based on prior evaluations, Sergachev should be constantly deployed alongside Hedman, as Hedman can make up for Sergachev’s mistakes. They can both help Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point put the puck in the back of the net.

But we are not done here, we have one last thing to look at. Defensemen need to be good at defending, that’s kind of the point, and to see how well Sergachev played in the defensive zone, let’s hop on over to Sean Tierney’s controlling the blue line visual.

Sergachev is highlighted on the graph, and boy, it does not like good for Sergy.

He generates an egregiously low amount of breakups, and a below average breakout % (Previously referred to as PossExit60 or PossExit%), which puts him in the “Bad” section of the visual. This is why he has his setbacks in ice time, and this is why he was placed in that rotation with Girardi and Coburn. This must improve, regardless of how well he pushes the pace offensively. If he doesn’t get his defensive game figured out next season, he could be looking at another season on the bottom d-pair with second line power play time.

In Conclusion

Sergachev is an exceptional pace-pusher, and does a great job generating offense, and excelling in getting the puck into the offensive zone to begin with. But he turns the puck over far too often when breaking the puck out of the defensive zone, the zone that he can’t afford turnovers in.

Then to top it all off, he struggles “controlling the blueline”, which is his job. He has a lot of improving to do, and he must act fast. But he is still young, and super valuable in terms of offensive production, which is the main reason among many that the Lightning fared so well this past season.

All Stats via hockey-reference

The Spider Charts used Data from CJ Turtoro, created by Kyle Pereira

Entry/Exit Charts via CJ Turtoro

Defensive zone chart via Sean Tierney

Featured Image Credit: Justin Miner