It’s time for another MLHS FanPost, DefenceWinsChampionships stops in again and this time takes a closer look at the stats of Maple Leafs defender Luke Schenn, and how those stats stand up beside comparable players.

A True Schenn-derella Story

By Byron Nelson (aka: DefenceWinsChampionships)

Anyone that remembers my last fan post: “A Comparison of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Defensemen”, will already be well-aware of my love of statistics. In that specific piece of writing, I took a look at the 2009/10 season stats for each current member of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ defensive corps. I then used the information I had gathered to make a comparison between them. What was a surprise to many, was the amazing amount of success young blue-liner Luke Schenn seemed to have, finishing in 1st place in the statistical comparison, despite supposedly suffering from the dreaded “sophomore slump” during the season. As a result of this, I decided to do a follow-up fan post on Schenn, this time comparing him to some of the NHL’s elite defensive defensemen.

For this experiment, I used a group of eight players: Luke Schenn, Brent Seabrook, Robyn Regehr, Anton Volchenkov, Zybinek Michalek, Brooks Orpik, Andy Sutton, and finally, the sophomore version of Brent Seabrook. I included Seabrook’s sophomore self due to the fact that he is highly regarded as arguably the best defensive defenseman in the National Hockey League. I wanted to see where he was at statistically, while being at the same level of development Schenn is currently at.

For my comparison, I used five different statistical categories: Goals per 60 minutes of ice-time, (G/60), Assists per 60 minutes of ice-time, (A/60), Hits per 60 minutes of ice-time, (H/60), Blocked-shots per 60 minutes of ice-time, (BS/60), and Takeaway/Giveaway Ratio, (G/T). In attempt to curve the results, rather than just seeing which player was the best in every category, I added up each player’s numbers, (in each category), to get a total value for each of the categories. I would then get a player’s percentage of the total of each stat, thus giving credit to players that are well above the pack in any given category. For example, if Player A has an A/60 of 1.00, while Player B sits at 0.50 in the same category, Player A’s %G/60 would be 66.67%, due to 1.00/(1.00+0.50) equaling 0.6667.

Here are the statistical results:

Player Age Season %G/60 %A/60 %H/60 %BS/60 %T/G Total%

Luke Schenn 20 2nd 20.18% 11.11% 14.84% 11.78% 14.44% 72.35%

Andy Sutton 34 12th 17.54% 06.79% 15.31% 18.80% 10.16% 70.20%

Brent Seabrook 24 5th 11.40% 17.70% 13.12% 11.44% 14.97% 68.63%

Anton Volchenkov 27 7th 15.79% 09.26% 13.20% 17.58% 10.96% 66.79%

Brooks Orpik 29 6th 07.02% 19.34% 19.86% 10.81% 09.09% 66.12%

Zybinek Michalek 26-27 5th 09.65% 10.70% 05.60% 12.79% 18.72% 62.25%

Soph. Brent Seabrook 21 2nd 12.28% 14.61% 09.92% 10.38% 11.76% 58.95%

Robyn Regehr 29 10th 06.14% 10.49% 08.15% 06.25% 09.89% 40.92%

Notice how Schenn sits at the very top of the list, and is one of only two players to have double-digit percentage values in each one of the categories. He’s also the youngest player, and has significantly less experience than everyone else, except for the sophomore version of Brent Seabrook, whom Schenn

absolutely destroyed in this comparison. Note that I used the age that each player was for the majority of the season, not their current age. (Michalek turned 27 in January, so I couldn’t choose 26 or 27 alone) You also should keep in mind that Schenn was on the worst team, and that Seabrook and Orpik were playing on teams that may have inflated their offensive statistics, especially Seabrook, who spent a far greater amount of time on the powerplay than anyone else in this comparison.

Pretty surprising numbers if you ask me. Luke Schenn, the 20-year-old, sophomore defenseman, beats out all of his elite competition in this statistical comparison. Am I going to come right out and say that Schenn is better than all of these players? No, I’m not. But he definitely is a lot better than he has been given credit for by the fans and media in Toronto. His sophomore slump seems to have been merely a fabrication by the media as a result of his slow start to the season, in which he looked worse than he actually was, due to being left “hung out to dry” on his off-hand side of the ice by a oft-pinching Francois Beauchemin.

After a solid second NHL season, Luke Schenn is coming into a contract year, and has apparently been working very hard this offseason, having bulked up to a rather impressive 235 pounds. He got better as the season went on last year, especially after the arrival of Dion Phaneuf, and will be another year older, at 21, for the majority of the season. He is definitely poised for a great year, and will hopefully both continue experiencing, and continuously build upon the upward progress he encountered last season. This is definitely a player to be excited about Leafs Nation.

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