Before the Kings landed Christian Ehrhoff, I had been planning on putting a quick project together detailing the team’s record with different sets of defensive personnel. What were their records when the defensive corps was fully healthy? How many different defensive combinations did they use? The importance of such a project has decreased (from a low perch) with the addition of Ehrhoff, but I had time to kill and sorted through the results to see if the data indicated anything interesting. It did!
Kings Defensive Groups / Games Played / Record:
Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Regehr: 28 GP, 11-12-5
Greene-McNabb-McBain-Muzzin-Doughty-Regehr: 15 GP, 11-3-1
Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Sekera-Doughty-Regehr: 11 GP, 5-4-2
Greene-McNabb-Doughty-Voynov-Martinez-Regehr: 6 GP, 4-1-1
Greene-Muzzin-Sekera-Doughty-Martinez-Regehr: 5 GP, 3-2-0
Greene-McNabb-McBain-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez: 5 GP, 2-1-2
Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Schultz: 5 GP, 1-1-3
Greene-McBain-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Schultz: 4 GP, 1-2-1
Greene-McBain-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Regehr: 2 GP, 1-1-0
Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez: 1 GP, 1-0-0
-The sample sizes for all but the three most frequent defensive combinations are small and probably irrelevant. Still, it’s hard to ignore the results when Jamie McBain was in uniform. Though the offensive defenseman averaged only 12:41 of ice time per game, the Kings were 15-7-4 when he dressed, and the club’s 11-3-1 record when he skated alongside Greene, McNabb, Muzzin, Doughty and Regehr was the clear-cut winner amongst the different combinations (and the 55.8% Corsi-for rating was higher than the club’s 55.3% season-long and league-leading Corsi-for). I’m not sure what this says about what appears to be a Jamie McBain / Jeff Schultz camp battle to open the season as the seventh defenseman – Schultz did average over six minutes of ice time per game more than McBain – but Los Angeles was 15-7-4 when McBain dressed and 2-3-4 when Schultz dressed. (There were four games in which they both dressed.) Note that this presents a widely independent set of circumstances that won’t be replicated this coming season, so there’s really not much use drawing any firm conclusions from these numbers. But outliers are always fun, and who doesn’t love a good factoid or two?
-Interestingly, when the Kings operated with the full assortment of defensemen available, they posted a winning percentage below .500. Some would argue that the Kings never had that luxury this season; when Slava Voynov was available, Jake Muzzin was injured, and Muzzin’s first game back was the first game in which Voynov was suspended. But when the team did not have any players miss a game due to injury (this includes 22 games of Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Regehr prior to Andrej Sekera’s arrival and the five games of Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Sekera-Doughty-Regehr), the Kings were 11-12-4.
-Six games does not allow for a lengthy enough sample size. We know this because the Kings were a fortunate 4-1-1 in the six games Slava Voynov played despite the club’s 47.6% Corsi-for rating over that span. You remember this, because you watched Jonathan Quick lead the team to narrow victories over St. Louis and Minnesota despite L.A. being outshot 84-34.
-Matt Greene and Drew Doughty were the only defensemen to appear in all 82 games. Jake Muzzin ended the season with a 76-game consecutive games played streak, while Brayden McNabb’s nine scratches were all due to a coach’s decision, and not due to injury (based on the information available).
-The Kings were 5-4-6 in the 15 games Robyn Regehr was injured. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CAN’T USE REGEHR IN THE SHOOTOUT.
-A stick tap to the five defensemen who dressed on November 8 and picked up a win over Vancouver while the Kings were climbing out of salary cap purgatory. Oh, what a season it was!