Frozen Tool Forensics: Round 1 Exits – East Coast Edition
The finals are underway and there certainly is some buzz around this matchup. There are a lot of fun storylines too – Pat Maroon, Corey Perry, and a Tampa three-peat. Our focus for this week is going to be playoffs, but we are returning to our review of eliminated teams. Last week we looked at our first round exits in the west, and now we move east.
As a reminder, since it was 15 years ago at this point, the teams we are looking at are Boston, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Washington. Each first round on the east went fairly far, so we have seven-game samples for everyone except Washington, where we have six.
Just as a reminder we are going to focus on deployment. It is such a small sample size that we are not going to read too much into point paces, shot rates, and so on, but instead look at how players were utilized in these win-or-go-home series. Doing so might give us a bit of insight into how coaches are viewing certain players and who might be primed for a different role next season compared to this one.
Last week I gave the caveat that these trends should be taken with a grain of salt because they are still small sample sizes, and at the end of the day these teams lost. The implication being that what the team/coach did didn't really work so there will be less motivation to build on it for next year. This is still true for this article as well, though given how many teams went to Game 7 it might be slightly less true (though admittedly Boston did fire Bruce Cassidy so I suppose anything is possible).
Additional notes from last week's article.
And now on to the process. We will be looking at deployment and specifically percent of time on the power-play, at even strength, and total time on ice. We will be using percent as overtime games can add significant time to a player's overall count without changing that player's real deployment opportunity. In order to get this data we will be running a custom Time on Ice report for the playoffs and comparing that to a second custom Time on Ice report for the last two months of the regular season. That comparison will tell us which players have gained or lost time between these two samples.
So now on to the data. First up: Total Time on Ice