BLOCKBUSTER! Subban vs Weber - Part I
Photo: Christopher Szagola/Icon Sportswire
The ground shook in Montreal when Marc Bergevin announced he traded former Norris trophy winner PK Subban to the Nashville Predators. At the same time a smaller tremor registered in Nashville as Predator fans realized stalwart Shea Weber would be leaving town. The personalities of the two defensemen could not be more different, just as the two cities differ considerably when it comes to hockey. Amidst the fascinating backdrop of the deal, we will do our best to restrict our analysis to the contributions each player makes on the ice.
Everything a player does on the ice falls on a scale from the most positive impact to the most negative impact, with the middle ground being little to no impact. Plays at the extremes of very positive and very negative are considered High Impact Plays. These plays have a greater impact on the game and are easier to see. In comparing Subban and Weber, Subban makes 77% more High Impact Plays. We call this the Fan Quality Score (FQS) of a player. Subban spends 77% more time identifying with fans on a high profile basis. Nashville was the clear FQS winner in the trade.
Just like all plays fall on a positive to negative scale, they also qualify as offensive or defensive. Subban produces 118% more High Impact Offensive Plays than Weber. This means he is at the center of important offensive plays more than twice as often as Weber. How these two numbers contribute to winning and losing has yet to be seen, but they shed light on the powerful on-ice presence Subban had established in Montreal. The numbers suggest he is significantly more noticeable than Weber, and arguably offers more entertainment value than Weber.
We know Subban makes more High Impact Offensive Plays than Weber, but how many are positive and how many are negative? High Impact Positive Offensive Plays are ‘great’ rushes, shot’s, carry’s, etc., while High Impact Negative Offensive Plays are primarily ‘bad’ turnovers. Subban makes 122% more Great Offensive Plays than Weber but also makes 110% more Bad Offensive Plays than Weber. This shows Weber as being much more responsible with the puck even though he makes less than half the Great Offensive Plays Subban does. Subban’s high level of turnovers often put significant stress on his Canadien teammates and goalie, but when they were up to the challenge the Canadien’s received full benefit of Subban’s tremendous offensive contributions.
Subban makes 34% more High Impact Defensive Plays but most of those are High Impact Negative Defensive Plays, or simpler said, Bad Defensive Plays. Subban makes 70% more Bad Defensive Plays than Weber and Weber makes 90% more Great Defensive Plays than Subban. This is a huge swing considering these type of plays often have a huge affect on the outcome of a game.
In this analysis, we started with High Impact plays to help explain why Subban was embraced in Montreal. If we back up just a bit and look at total Positive and Negative Offense, and total Positive and Negative Defense, the results are not as dramatic but similar. In Positive Offense created, Subban (rank 3) has a 49% advantage on Weber (rank 28), but Weber has an 89% advantage in lower Negative Offense over Subban. In Positive Defense, Weber has a 58% advantage over Subban, and in Negative Defense, Weber has a 52% advantage on Subban. Just as in High Impact Plays, Weber wins three of the four categories: Negative Offense, Positive Defense and Negative Defense. Subban dominates in one category: Positive Offense. This area is easiest for fans to see and appreciate, but from a pure contribution standpoint, Positive Offense always has to be balanced against Negative Offense. It is also worth noting that Positive Offense, especially High Impact Positive Offense, is the most difficult for teams to find....and keep.
Next we will take a closer look at each player's Offense and Defense, including their performance in each game situation. All Truperformance data feeds into one number, so once we are done the analysis, we will have a clear picture of what each player contributes….. whether each player's strengths and weaknesses are maximized within their respective teams requires further analysis.
Read BLOCKBUSTER! Subban vs Weber - Part II Offense here
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