Sabres Statistics Determine Studs and Duds

If you haven't noticed by now I am what you would call a stats geek. I have my opinions on the Sabres play but I try not to react until I can back up my thoughts with numbers. Many of the NHL statistics are misleading and not worth getting excited/upset about. Gabe Desjardins at Behind the Net has some valuable statistics if you sift through them and find what you need.

One of the statistics at behind the net breaks down goals for and against based on 60 minutes of play. This stat is valuable because plus/minus does not account for how much ice time certain players get. I have been looking at these numbers for a couple of days now and you are going to be surprised with some of the results.

Goal Scoring

Over the past couple of weeks we have hyped up the line with 19-29-55 and the numbers back up that claim. The Sabres are more likely to score when these three guys are on the ice. I took numbers from here and put them into another table that will be easier to use for our purposes.

This chart will show how many goals the Sabres score for every 60 minutes on and off the ice.

 Player GF On/60 GF Off/60 +/- On/Off
 Tim Connolly 3.02 2.15 0.87
 Jochen Hecht 2.96 2.15 0.81
 Jason Pominville 2.9 2.15 0.75
 Thomas Vanek 2.78 2.26 0.52
 Drew Stafford 2.72 2.27 0.45
 Andrej Sekera 2.71 1.72 0.99
 Tyler Myers 2.68 2.22 0.46
 Henrik Tallinder 2.65 2.24 0.41
 Derek Roy 2.48 2.3 0.18
 Nathan Paetsch 2.37 1.95 0.42
 Toni Lydman 2.33 2.88 -0.55
 Tim Kennedy 2.28 2.3 -0.02
 Steve Montador 2.24 2.49 -0.25
 Chris Butler 2.13 2.71 -0.58
 Patrick Kaleta 2.13 2.38 -0.25
 Mike Grier 2.05 2.79 -0.74
 Clarke MacArthur 1.93 2.58 -0.65
 Craig Rivet 1.75 2.57 -0.82
 Paul Gaustad 1.66 2.66 -1
 Adam Mair 1.63 2.48 -0.85
 Matt Ellis 1.62 2.4 -0.78


The numbers I am most concerned with are the top-5 players and the bottom-5 players. There aren't too many surprises in the top-5, if you watch the Sabres on a regular basis you realize these are the Sabres top goal scorers.

When looking at the bottom five I was completely surprised to see Clarke MacArthur and Paul Gaustad to be so far down the list. Gaustad is considered more of a two-way player but gets plenty of ice time in key situations, he should not be in the same category with Mair and Ellis. Gaustad may have his numbers affected by playing some time on the fourth line with Mair and Ellis because his numbers in previous years were not this low.

Clarke MacArthur is considered an offensive player and the numbers here indicate that is not the case. MacArthur has seen his numbers steadily decline over the past three seasons despite becoming a regular in the lineup. I have defensed C-Mac in the past but this would be an opportune time for the Sabres to trade him away and get some value in return. His goal total might entice a team that is in the hunt to take a chance on him. If Kotalik can get traded...anyone can get traded.

Goals Against

If you thought the goals for total were a surprise you won't believe your eyes when you see the goals against totals. Like the numbers above they indicate the goals against/ 60 minutes both on and off the ice.

 Player GA on/60 GA Off/60 +/- On/Off
 Clarke MacArthur 2.94 2.13 0.81
 Chris Butler 2.87 2.23 0.64
 Drew Stafford 2.63 2.1 0.53
 Paul Gaustad 2.61 2.46 0.15
 Andrej Sekera 2.59 2.02 0.57
 Thomas Vanek 2.59 2.19 0.4
 Derek Roy 2.56 2.13 0.43
 Tyler Myers 2.42 2.25 0.17
 Steve Montador 2.38 2.24 0.14
 Mike Grier 2.34 2.37 -0.03
 Tim Connolly 2.33 2.31 0.02
 Jochen Hecht 2.32 2.31 0.01
 Tim Kennedy 2.28 2.3 -0.02
 Henrik Tallinder 2.25 2.34 -0.09
 Jason Pominville 2.14 2.38 0.24
 Toni Lydman 2.04 2.7 -0.66
 Craig Rivet 1.99 2.54 -0.55
 Adam Mair 1.95 2.7 -0.75
 Patrick Kaleta 1.8 2.18 -0.38
 Nathan Paetsch 1.19 2.23 -1.04
 Matt Ellis 1.18 2.36 -1.18


When looking at this chart I decided to think about comments to recent posts and think about the players that are being criticized. Craig Rivet and Toni Lydman are two defensemen that Sabres fans love to criticize but the numbers show that when they are on the ice the opponent doesn't score. On the flip side when Chris Butler is on the ice the opponent has a pretty good chance to put the puck in the net.

As far as the forwards I would not expect that Matt Ellis, Patrick Kaleta and Adam Mair would be the best defensive forwards on the team whil C-Mac, Gaustad and Stafford are the worst.

Goals For and Against

This chart is a better way to judge a players plus/minus because it is based on ice time. It takes numbers from both of the charts above and gives a players plus/minus.


 Player GF on/60 GA On/60 +/- GF/GA
 Nathan Paetsch 2.37 1.19 1.18
 Jason Pominville 2.9 2.14 0.76
 Tim Connolly 3.02 2.33 0.69
 Jochen Hecht 2.96 2.32 0.64
 Matt Ellis 1.62 1.18 0.44
 Henrik Tallinder 2.65 2.25 0.4
 Patrick Kaleta 2.13 1.8 0.33
 Toni Lydman 2.33 2.04 0.29
 Tyler Myers 2.68 2.42 0.26
 Thomas Vanek 2.78 2.59 0.19
 Andrej Sekera 2.71 2.59 0.12
 Drew Stafford 2.72 2.63 0.09
 Tim Kennedy 2.28 2.28 0
 Derek Roy 2.48 2.56 -0.08
 Steve Montador 2.24 2.38 -0.14
 Craig Rivet 1.75 1.99 -0.24
 Mike Grier 2.05 2.34 -0.29
 Adam Mair 1.63 1.95 -0.32
 Chris Butler 2.13 2.87 -0.74
 Paul Gaustad 1.66 2.61 -0.95
 Clarke MacArthur 1.93 2.94 -1.01
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