Last week, I took at look at zone start changes from Randy Carlyle to Peter Horachek and found some interesting differences.
Among them was a flip in zone starts by David Booth, going from a heavy defensive-zone player under Carlyle to a heavy offensive-zone player under Horachek. Another significant observation was the massive improvement in the first line’s Corsi from near league-worst levels (low 40s) to being more than respectable, particularly for Tyler Bozak, who had a CF% of over 53%. Booth also saw a massive improvement in his CF% from Carlyle to Horachek. This week, I look at WOWY stats for these two players to see if it shines any more light on the situation.
This first chart takes a look at who Bozak played the most ice time with under Carlyle and now under Horachek.
As expected, the majority of Bozak’s ice time is with JVR and Kessel, and while there has been a slight drop off in ice time with JVR, there isn’t a huge difference here. A more significant change is the defensemen he has been on the ice with. He has spent far less time on the ice with Phaneuf (partly due to injury) and Robidas under Horachek, and more with Gardiner, Polak and Rielly.
Now let’s take a look at the change in CF% from Carlyle to Horachek:
Aside from Lupul (who has a tiny sample size under Horachek), Bozak’s CF% has improved dramatically with everyone, which is not unexpected but is a clear indication it is the top line that is driving the improvement in CF%, not due to playing more with good puck movers like Rielly and Gardiner. The top line is doing something right from a possession perspective, but thus far that hasn’t translated to winning the goal scoring battle.
Here is David Booth’s ice time-with-teammate chart:
Not a lot of change, really. Less ice time with Phaneuf (again, partly due to injury) and Rielly, and more ice time with Polak and Franson. Among the forwards, he had a little less ice time with Smith and a bit more with Santorelli (not shown due to limited ice time with under Carlyle).
How about Booth’s CF% WOWY comparison?
Big CF% jumps with Smith, Gardiner, Phaneuf, Clarkson and Franson, with only Rielly seeing a significant CF% drop.
While Bozak’s improvement appears to be largely a change in playing style by the top line, it is quite likely that Booth’s improvement in CF% is likely in part due to more ice time in offensive roles. When he played with offensive defensemen like Gardiner, Phaneuf and Franson, he saw significant boosts in CF%, which is almost solely driven by generating more shot attempts (under Carlyle Booth had a CF60 of 42.8 compared to 58.2 under Horachek). This is the opposite of Bozak, whose dramatic improvement in CF% is in large part due to reducing shot attempts against (although the top line has improved shot attempt generation as well). Bozak’s CA60 was 71.0 under Carlyle compared to 54.9 under Horachek.
The two things that seem to have changed the most from Carlyle to Horachek? David Booth is being given a significantly larger offensive role and the top line of Kessel, Bozak and JVR have dramatically reduced the rate at which they give up shot attempts against. Clearly this hasn’t yet translated to success on the score sheet, so as of yet neither of these adjustments has worked out, but there are certainly a number of people in the Maple Leaf organization who are hoping that the changes will eventually pay dividends.