Blanket Trends was a Mile High Hockey-based project attempting to understand Daniel Winnik's ice time trends in context throughout the month of November, 2011. Now that Winnik is a Shark (saying that still doesn't feel right), I decided to post this here as well in case any Sharks fans are interested. Below is the full article.
In "Mis-management?", Mike @ MHH established that Daniel Winnik led the team in even-strength Time on Ice (EV TOI), 368:36 total versus Ryan O'Reilly's 365:39 at No. 2; averaging 15:21, ahead of Ryan O'Reilly with 15:14. For the month of November, Winnik was ahead of Matt Duchene, 15:21:37 to 15:11:05.
Although this may be enough evidence to form an opinion on Winnik's role with the team, neither articles answer the question posed by Mike @ MHH in the comments section of "Stars at Avalanche Recap, Avs lose 3-1":
Is [Winnik's ES TOI of 14:40 against the Dallas Stars] indicative of the last 6-8 games or was this an outlier?
In this article, I will attempt to answer that question and more.
To answer the following questions within the context of an established time frame (2nd November, 2011, to 30th November, 2011):
I will also attempt to confirm or refute:
I copied the TOI, EV TOI, power play Time on Ice (PP TOI), and penalty kill Time on Ice (SH TOI) figures from the boxscores of the following games: Yotes @ Avs November 2, 2011; Avs @ Stars November 4, 2011; Flames @ Avs November 6, 2011; Avs @ Wings November 8, 2011; Isles @ Avs November 10, 2011; Flames @ Avs November 12, 2011; Avs @ Pens November 15, 2011; Avs @ Wild November 17, 2011; Stars @ Avs November 18, 2011; Sharks @ Avs November 20, 2011; Nucks @ Avs November 23, 2011; Oilers @ Avs November 26, 2011; Stars @ Avs November 28, 2011; Devils @ Avs November 30, 2011. Then, I put them in tables and ranked every player in every category from highest TOI to lowest TOI, both overall and by position (Forward and Defence).
Here are the tables:
2nd November, 2011
6th November, 2011
30th November, 2011
As the text versions of these tables may be too wide for some readers' monitors, I converted them to .pngs, which you can click to view in full size. I have also provided the Excel file for those that want it; you can find it in the Resources section.
After ranking every player in every game, I created a dedicated table for each player that allowed me to more effectively plot each player's TOI trends. This is Winnik's table:
In the month of November, Winnik never led the team in EV TOI. He was 2nd once (7.14% on 8th November), 3rd three times (21.43% on 6th; 10th; and 12th November), 4th once (7.14% on 18th November), 5th twice (14.28% on 17th and 26th November), 6th once (7.14% on 4th November), 7th once (7.14% on 2nd November), 9th once (7.14% on 28th November), 11th once (7.14% on 30th November), 12th once (7.14% on 20th November), 13th once (7.14% on 15th November), and 15th once (7.14% on 23rd November). He was 3rd 21.43% of the time, more than anything else, followed by 5th.
Winnik led all forwards six times out of 14 (42.86% on 6th; 8th; 10th; 12th; 17th; and 18th November). The eight times he didn't lead, he was 2nd among forwards three times (21.43% on 2nd; 4th; and 26th November), 3rd once (7.14% on 28th November), 5th once (7.14% on 30th November), 7th twice (14.28% on 15th and 20th November), and 9th once (7.14% on 23rd November). Although Winnik was 1st among forwards less than half the time, he was 1st most often, and in the top-3 71.43% of the time. He led forwards more often in the first half of the month (four times to two).
EV TOI trend during November:
Starting with the 6th November Flames game, Winnik's ice time steadily declined, before erratically jumping between high and low numbers.
Although his ice time was declining, here you can see that he was still ranked 1st among forwards. You can also see the greater trend hinted at in the previous chart: Winnik's rank would jump abruptly, decline, jump abruptly, and decline again.
Winnik was rarely used on the power play, logging zero seconds five times (35.71%), never appearing higher than 7th, when he logged 28 seconds against the Penguins on 15th November, and appearing in the top-5 of forwards only once, in the same game. His highest minutes were 01:29, on the 23rd November Canucks loss, a game in which the only players to not see time on the PP were Ryan O'Byrne, Jan Hejda, and TJ Galiardi (all used almost exclusively on the PK).
November justifies Winnik's reputation as a penalty killer. The only game in which he saw no time on the PK was in a penalty-light Stars game on 18th November. After that, only three times did he have less than a minute on the PK (2nd; 6th; and 17th November).
He led the team in SH TOI five times (35.71% on 2nd; 4th; 6th; 8th; and 28th November), was 2nd three times (21.43% on 15th; 20th; and 30th November), 3rd three times (21.43% on 12th; 23rd; and 26th November), 6th once (7.14% on the aforementioned 17th November), and 9th twice (14.28% on 10th November, when he still had over a minute with 1:21, and the Stars game on 18th November). Winnik led the team in SH TOI more often than anything else, 35.71% of the time, and led more often than everyone but Quincey, one ahead of McClement.
Positionally, Winnik led seven times (50% on 2nd; 4th; 6th; 8th; 12th; 20th; and 28th November), 2nd four times (28.57% on 15th; 23rd; 26th; and 30th November), 4th once (7.14% on 17th November), and 5th twice (14.28% on 10th and 18th November). He led all forwards in SH TOI half the time, and wasn't in the top-3 only three times all month, along with sharing the seven times he led all forwards with McClement for most on the team.
The short-handed trend:
This chart would have us believe that Sacco was fickle in the way he used Winnik on the PK, but the next one elucidates:
Winnik's SH TOI varied wildly in the first four games of the month, but he still led the team all four times. In the middle of the month, there was indeed an inconsistent streak, but it soon picked up when he started sharing the main PK duties with McClement.
As with EV TOI, Winnik never led the team in total TOI. The closest he came was 2nd, against the Red Wings on 8th November, when he led the team in SH TOI, but also ranked 2nd in EV TOI. Then he was 3rd once (7.14% on 26th November), 4th twice (14.28% on 4th and 6th November), 5th once (7.14% on 30th November), 6th twice (14.28% on 15th and 28th November), 8th three times (21.43% on 10th; 12th; and 20th November), 11th once (7.14% on 2nd November), 10th once (7.14% on 17th November), 13th once (7.14% on 18th November), and 14th once (7.14% on 23rd November). He was 8th most often with 21.43%; and in the top half (9th or higher) 10 out of 14 times (71.42%), but in the top-3 only twice (14.28% of the time).
Winnik led all forwards four times (28.57% on 6th; 8th; 26th; and 30th November), and was 2nd three times (21.43% on 4th; 15th; and 28th November), 3rd once (7.14% on 20th November), 4th once (7.14% on 10th November), 6th three times (21.43% on 2nd; 12th; and 17th November), 7th once (7.14% on 18th November), and 8th once (7.14% on 23rd November). With a percentage of 28.57, he led all forwards more often than anyone else, one ahead of Duchene and Paul Stastny, who each led three teams. He was in the top-6 all but twice, and in the top-3 eight times, more than half the time (57.14%).
Winnik's TOI was more subtle than his EV TOI. After rising to above 21 minutes against the Red Wings, his ice time declined through-out the month, occasionally rising slightly, but never reaching that point again (coming close against the Oilers, however). If we were to have ended the month on the 18th or even 20th, one may have predicted that Winnik's TOI was on a downward trend towards an "acceptable" level more befitting of his perceived importance to the team, but the last three games made up for the middle-period slide, somewhat, even ending on a higher note than the beginning of the month's ascension.
Speaking of the middle-period slide:
This chart shows it off with much less subtlety. Although those that subscribe to the "Winnik Shouldn't Be in the Top Six" newsletter (henceforth known as WS'tBITT6ers, or Wistbitsixers) would argue that starting at 6th is not a good thing, it was still far lower than the chorus of "Winnik is the TOI leader". After that brief ascension, his Rank took a steep dive and he spent the next seven games lulling between two forays into the top-3.
Comparison between EV TOI and TOI
The difference between EV TOI eventual TOI at the end of a game is, of course, highly contingent on what the player did in special teams. And as we (now) know that SH TOI is erratic by nature, this means that the difference will, by nature, not maintain any sense of consistency. We can see that here:
The time Winnik spent on the PK and PP made a large difference in some games - occasionally, the TOI would mirror the EV TOI fairly accurately; sometimes, when Winnik saw a decline in EV TOI, the hopes of Wistbitsixers would be dashed as a penalty-heavy game would propel him upwards when a penalty-light or -free game created the illusion that he was on a downward trend. Curiously, though, the games in which he saw the least disparity between EV TOI and TOI were when the EV TOI was, a) the highest all month, or, b) higher than it had been in previous games, when he saw a much larger block of time on the PK. In fact, he was 1st among forwards in every game in which he wasn't in the top-3 (among forwards) in SH TOI.
Relationship between EV TOI, PP TOI, SH TOI, and TOI
Of the seven games in which Winnik led all forwards in SH TOI, he led all forwards in TOI twice (28.57% on 6th and 8th November); of the 11 times he was in the top-3, he led all forwards in TOI four times (36.36% on 6th; 8th; 26th; and 30th November) and was in the top-3 eight times (72.73% on 4th; 6th; 8th; 15th; 20th; 26th; 28th; and 30th November) - in other words, when Winnik was in the top-3 on the PK, he was also very likely going to be in the top-3 in TOI at the end of the game. For comparison with the next two to lead all forwards, when Duchene was in the top-3 in PP TOI (nine times, for 64.29% on 4th; 6th; 8th; 12th; 15th; 17th; 18th; 26th; and 28th November), he was in the top-3 six times (66.67% on 4th; 6th; 12th; 15th; 17th; and 18th November), and when Stastny was in the top-3 in PP TOI (nine times, for 64.29% on 2nd; 4th; 10th; 15th; 17th; 20th; 23rd; 26th; and 28th November), he was in the top-3 TOI among forwards five times (55.56% on 2nd; 10th; 15th; 17th; and 23rd November). However, before we start grabbing the straws, more information is required:
Winnik was never in the top-3 in TOI when he was not in the top-3 in SH TOI; of those eight times in which he was in the top-3 in both TOI and SH TOI, he was also in the top-3 in EV TOI five times (62.5% on 4th; 6th; 8th; 26th; and 28th November); and of his 10 appearances in the top-3 in EV TOI, he was also in the top-3 in SH TOI seven times (70% on 2nd; 4th; 6th; 8th; 12th; 26th; and 18th November), and of those seven times, he was also in the top-3 TOI five times (71.43% on 4th; 6th; 8th; 26th; and 28th November).
Duchene was in the top-3 TOI once when not in the top-3 PP TOI (20th November); of the six games in which he was in the top-3 in both TOI and PP TOI, he was also in the top-3 in EV TOI three times (50% on 4th; 12th; and 15th November); and of his five games in the top-3 in EV TOI, he was also in the top-3 in PP TOI three times (60% on 4th; 12th; and 15th November), and of those three, he was in the top-3 in TOI every time.
Stastny was never in the top-3 TOI when he was not in the top-3 PP TOI; of the five times he was in the top-3 in both TOI and PP TOI, he was also in the top-3 in EV TOI twice (40% on 15th and 23rd November); and of the four games in which he appeared in the top-3 in EV TOI, he was also in the top-3 in PP TOI twice (50% on 15th and 23rd November), and also appeared in the top-3 in TOI those two times.
Now, you can draw some conclusions, if you choose to.
Let's answer the questions established in the Objectives section.
- Has Winnik consistently led the team in Time on Ice (TOI)?
Winnik never led the team in TOI, so the answer is no.
- Has Winnik consistently led the team in EV TOI?
Winnik never led the team in EV TOI, so the answer is no.
- Did Winnik consistently lead all forwards in TOI?
Winnik led all forwards four times, two on each end of the month. Although those four times leads all forwards, it is my determination that no, Winnik did not consistently lead all forwards in TOI.
- Did Winnik consistently lead all forwards in EV TOI?
Winnik led all forwards in EV TOI 42.86% of the time, six out of 14. Those six games all occurred from the Flames game on the 6th to the Stars game on the 18th, a seven-game span in which the only time he wasn't 1st he was 7th. This period was bookended by two games on one end, and five games on the other. Therefore, my answer is no and yes. Overall, Winnik did not consistently lead the team, but the seven-game span in which he did cannot be ignored.
- If all of the previous are positive, why?
This question is invalid. Only one of the four had a yes.
- Is there a large discrepancy between TOI and EV TOI compared to the rest of the team?
One of the arguments used to explain the perception that Winnik is getting too much ice time - TOI, specifically - is that it is because he is getting more minutes on special teams than the rest of the team. Here is a table with the combined PP TOI and SH TOI for every player:
(If your first thought is how it's possible for Quincey to be that far ahead, it's because he had fifty minutes on the PP and over 34 on the PK. For comparison, as Johnson is the likeliest to have been near Quincey's level, in his final game of November, Quincey had 64:44 minutes already, nearly twenty minutes more than Johnson. Those that paid attention during the "Comparison between EV TOI and TOI" section, however, may note that, despite missing the last four games of the month, Johnson still led the team in EV TOI more often than Quincey, three to two. I also want to briefly give Ryan Wilson some love here: he picked up the slack when Johnson went down.) Although the number is quite high, Winnik's total does not stick out; therefore, my answer is no.
- Are there correlative factors that affected Winnik's TOI and EV TOI within the established time frame?
This is related to Mike @ MHH's statement. Since Winnik's linemates were O'Reilly and Landeskog, they were the likeliest candidates for an explanation as to why Winnik's month trended as it did. Here are their charts (I included Winnik's, too, for easier reference):
Is there a parallel between the three players? To make determining this easier, here are trendlines, both Linear and Polynomial:
Parallel, no, but the similarity is nevertheless not hard to notice. Let's look at the more specific EV TOI and TOI Ranks. First, the EV TOI/P and corresponding trendlines:
Winnik was either ahead or behind by one eight out of 14 times, and there were five times that all three appeared sequentially. This means that while one may disapprove of Winnik appearing in the top-3 among forwards, when both O'Reilly and Landeskog appeared in the top-3, seeing Winnik there should not have been a surprising fact, especially when we consider how cohesive that line was, as the Trendlines chart shows - when one player went down, so did the rest.
Although this is conjecture, the chart may also hint at where Winnik was headed, line-wise, as the team entered December. He started November first among his linemates in EV TOI, and he ended it last.
The TOI Rank/P charts:
As TOI is affected by PP TOI and SH TOI, these two say less than the EV TOI charts. They simply show how much of a role special teams played in their TOI from the perspective of the three as linemates. I have nothing further to add on this matter. The answer is yes.
Confirmation and Refutation
I will now confirm or dispute the following statements:
- "Joe Sacco is rolling two lines heavily: a) Ryan O`Reilly's line with Winnik locked in on one wing and Gabriel Landeskog locked in on the other (for the most part) as the top line".
This was discussed in the previous section. Confirmed.
- Winnik "has been on the ice about 9 minutes more than any other forward on the avs".
The four games in which Winnik led, with Winnik's TOI and the forward that followed him:
- "[H]e's playing about 18-21 minutes a game over the last 15 games or so."
Technically, Winnik had over 21 minutes twice, but I assume that wasn't the point An Unmitigated Disaster was trying to make. Besides that, Winnik had fewer than 18 minutes five times. Conversely, he had more than 18 minutes nine times. So, An Unmitigated Disaster was 64.29% correct. My verdict: Maybe.
In conclusion, while Winnik may, or, indeed, did average a higher EV TOI than his teammates, he did not actually consistently lead in EV TOI, and, further, by the time Wistbitsixers caught on and Mike @ MHH wrote the objective "Mis-management?", he had not led in seven games. Basically, by the time everyone jumped on the bandwagon, it had lost its first wheel.
All TOI statistics are from NHL.com.
Mike @ MHH’s article can be found here.
An Unmitigated Disaster’s article can be found here.
The conversation that spurned this project can be read here.
Myth "Confirmed" is from Wacky Owl.
Myth "Busted" is from Nerd Me a River.
"Maybe" is from Good Mountain Press Monthly Digest.
As of 1st January, "Wistbitsixers" is not yet in the Urban Dictionary.
You can download all related files, including this article, the tables of every game played in November and tables for every player that played for the Avs in November, and .pngs of the tables and charts here: