Better With Popcorn

Projecting the 2011-12 Philadelphia Flyers

Ok, so, I've been crunching numbers based on several factors, shooting percentage, career averages, progression and recent trends and a bit of guesswork, and I think I've done a pretty decent job estimating what the Flyers will do this upcoming season. So, let’s delve into the wonderful world of guessing, and yes, this is a huge guessing game, as to what the Flyers will do. After the chart, I’ll justify why I chose each player.

Forward Lines
Line 1: Hartnell-Briere-Voracek 
Line 2: JvR-Giroux-Jagr
Line 3: Talbot-Schenn-Simmonds
Line 4: rotating-Betts-Nodl 

13th: Holmstrom, Read, Shelley
(Yes, I waived Jody Shelley, mid season)

Now, because Shelley's been waived (midseason), and Carcillo is gone, the Flyers are going to take far less PIMs (ok, not as many less as people think, Danny Briere keeps his stick up and Hartnell's still gonna be 'fussy' around the net.) I will assume, based on the law of averages, that this roster will give up 300 PPs against (down from 313 in 2010-11) and because of the added skill, draw 310 PPs (up from 295 in 2010-11).  Using the numbers on NHL.com I calculated that the average PP/PK situation lasted 1:39 on a league wide basis and an average Flyers PP situation lasted 1:37 for, and PK’s lasted 1:39. Because this is close enough to the league average, I will, for TOI purposes when predicting even strength and special teams time use the league average of 1:39 each way.

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Also Read: 

 

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Anyway, enough on minutes, let’s see the stat chart:Now, since this assumes no OT, I’m going to try to factor some OT in. Since 24.96% of NHL games went to OT this past season and 18 Flyers games (21.95%) went to OT this past season, I’m going to split the difference (23.5%) which leaves 19 OT games. Since the Flyers are, well, kind of terrible in OT/Shootout situations, I’m giving them a 7-12 record in these 19 games, which leaves 63 games for the regulation record. Since we have the OT totals added, I will round up to 49:30 minutes of even strength time per game for the whole season. (19OT games, each adds about an extra 2:30 to those games and OT PPs are rare, which adds an 47:30 of game time which is just under 1 minute EV time per game. The reason we need to know the PK/PP time, the PIMs that don’t turn into PK’s are parts of offsetting penalties or 10 minute misconducts that don’t affect man power.

Now that we know that each PP/PK lasts 1:39 we need to find out how much time that is per game, the answer lies in taking the season total special teams time (avg PP/PK times total chances) which equals 862:06, over a whole season, divide that by 82 to get the per game average of 10:31 on special teams. For the sake of easy math, I’ll drop that to 10:30 of special teams time on special teams which leaves 48:30 of EV time per 60 per game. This will be used for the purposes of distributing my minutes with the lines later on in the post.Quick aside: since the Flyers PP was terrible, but they had less average PP time we can extrapolate 1 of 2 conclusions for the 2 seconds- Conclusion A: The Flyers had more 2 minute PIMs than average or Conclusion B: The Flyers scored early in their PP’s and the longer a PP went, the more likely it was to be killed off. Which is true, I’m not sure, I don’t have the time/ability to go through every Flyers PPG and powerplay to find out.

First the Skaters:

Name

Position

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMs

GP

JvR

LW1

28

27

55

32

82

Giroux

C1

24

44

68

44

81

Jagr

RW1

16

37

53

28

75

Voracek

RW2

21

36

57

36

79

Briere

C2

23

38

61

75

73

Hartnell

LW2

26

28

54

134

81

Talbot

LW3

11

13

24

67

78

Schenn

C3

14

19

33

51

72

Simmonds

RW3

17

14

31

87

82

Holmstrom

RS/W4

4

6

10

28

51

Betts

C4

7

9

16

22

70

Nodl

W4

11

8

19

14

73

Read

AHL-CU

2

4

6

9

13

Sestito

RS/W4

4

6

10

77

51

Shelley

RS-AHL

0

1

1

41

23

Totals FWD

 

208

290

498

745

984

             

Pronger

P1

6

21

27

44

67

Carle

P1

7

44

51

28

82

Timonen

P2

4

28

32

18

71

Coburn

P2

3

14

17

73

82

Meszaros

P3

11

32

43

56

82

Lilja

P3

1

2

3

26

59

Bartulis

RS

1

6

7

14

38

Gustafsson

IC

0

1

1

4

11

Totals D

 

33

148

181

263

492

Team Total

 

241

438

679

1008

82

Per 82 AvG

 

2.939024

5.34146341

8.280488

12.29268

1

 

First thing: LW1 means Left Wing line 1 and so on, for defense, it’s pair 1 and so on.

RS: Reserve, or, in more bitter terms “healthy scratch.”

IC: Injury callup, for Gus, the circumstances on defense, barring a trade, do not leave him in a position to play regularly. Pronger and Lilja have 35+ contracts and Bartulis needs to clear waivers, Gus/Marshall do not so they will be in the AHL.

Jody Shelley and Matt Read: Matt Read has 60 AHL/NHL games before he has to clear waivers, because of this, it seems likely he would start in the AHL, but then be called up in favor of Jody Shelley being waived down. Read would save 200K against the cap. Since the Flyers already have 50 contracts, making a rental trade at the deadline would require players moving, but Shelley down for Read up, gives the Flyers a pretty decent advantage. At least, if you believe the Matt Read hype, that’s a good a thing.

Now the reasoning for some of the players:

Claude Giroux: with no Carter or Richards, Giroux is going to take on the tough minutes and more PK time which in turn, will lower his offensive output. The 68 points in his projection may look like a step back, but it’s not because his defense will in fact make up the difference as Giroux will become a more well rounded player.

Hartnell-Briere-Voracek: Hartnell and Voracek will have better offensive numbers because Voracek has Leino’s hands, but better skating ability and no balky hip. Briere is missing games because of his propensity to get suspended for stick work and his injury history. Briere’s not getting younger and that was factored into this projection.

Jagr: Mr. Jagr’s experience and the fact he will see mostly PP and offensive zone time make 50 points reasonable. Also, he’s 39 and hasn’t played an NHL schedule in 3 years, this leads to the idea he might need a game off every now and then to be fresh for the playoffs.

Schenn-Talbot-Simmonds: The third line, will provide decent depth scoring, but will mostly see shutdown minutes. As horrible as this sounds, Schenn may have trouble handing a full NHL season. For the last 2 years he’s been shipped around the LA system and back to junior. He’s not played a full season in 3 years, this makes his risk of injury hire and being pessimistic, this was factored in.

Fourth line: Other than Blair Betts (who is injury prone and therefore should miss time as well) the fourth line will be a revolving door of Sestito, Holmstrom, Read and Shelley depending on who is healthy and what the team needs for a given game.

Defense: Chris Pronger has already admitted he won’t be ready for the start of the season; it was factored into the calculations for him. Luckily, by taking the proper time off at the start of the year, there is hope he will play at his full ability from his return. Kimmo Timonen is also 37 and known for being a warrior. This will eventually catch up to him and make him miss some time, hence the missed games for him. Luckily, on a positive note, Meszaros will improve on his numbers from last year due to increased time from Timonen/Pronger falling off and the fact that the Flyers PP should rebound as well, Coburn will turn into a top level shutdown D-man, his offense may not be there, but his D will be.

Andreas Lilja will be used, like Sean O’Donnell but hopefully will be rotated with Bartulis to avoid the late season fatigue that plagued O’Donnell last season.

Then there’s Matt Carle. Matt Carle is criminally underrated by most. In several statistical categories,Matt Carle was equal to or better than Nicklas Lidstrom. For Carle, he will also see increased ice time due to Timonen/Pronger which will lead to more assists. Also, an improved PP will help as well. Then finally, Carle will score more goals as he will shoot closer to his career shooting% rather than the abysmal number he had last year. These factors lead to the final Carle numbers.

Finally the goalies, the guys who will then determine the won-lost record with their numbers.

Goalies

GP/Starts

Shots

G-allowed

Saves

GAA

SV%

OT-results

Minutes

Bryz

58/57

1713

130

1583

2.28

0.924

5W8O

3426.1

Bob

28/25

747

62

685

2.49

0.917

2W4O

1494.08

Total

86/82

2460

192

2268

2.34

0.922

 

7W12O

4920.18

 

Explaining the goalies numbers is long but rather easy. First off, starts, 57-25, it seemed fair based on what the Flyers normally do, even when they have statistically superior goalies, like Martin Biron in 07-08 or Roman Cechmanek even though Cechmanek was winning the Jennings and being a Vezina finalist. Plus, 1.75M on a backup won’t be wasted, especially with Bryzgalov’s low playoff numbers in recent years possibly coming from being overworked during the season. As for the minutes played, that was based on the average Flyers minutes per goaltender appearance then distributed based on the games played/start ratio. Basically, the amount of times the Flyers would switch goalies (4) and the amount of time no goalie would be in net (whether delayed penalty or late game attempt to tie it) was factored in as well. Once the starts and minutes were distributed, the rest of the numbers could be filled in.

Shots Faced: This number was calculated based on the frequency of shots (1 shot every ~2.05 minutes last year) the Flyers allowed and adjusted to 1 shot every 2 minutes to make up for the fact that the team is slightly weaker defensively (Pronger and Timonen’s down turns will not be made up by Coburn’s upswing)

Save Percentage: For Sergei Bobrovsky, being relegated to the backup role means less fatigue and a full year of NHL experience means more smarts with positioning and anticipation. Therefore, his .915SV% from last year improves slightly. For Bryzgalov, the .924SV% is based on the fact that he’s posted a .920SV% or a .921SV% 3 of the last 4 seasons, but the added days off will mean less fatigue and therefore more consistency from Bryzgalov which brought him up to the .924SV%.

With minutes, shots and save percentages assigned, the remaining variables were all calculated by to fill in the gaps to satisfy the conditions.

Finally, for the sake of goals against, 7 empty net goals will be added since the league average was about 8 last season and the Flyers allowed 6. This leaves a team total of 199 goals against.

So, with 241 goals scored, 199 goals against in 82 games, it is actually possible to estimate a record. Now the 7-12 OT/SO record gives the Flyers a 7-0-12 record with 63 games left. Now, we just need to split OT/SO games, the league frequency for a shootout was 9.933 per 82 games played. The Flyers had a shootout every 8.2 games played last season (10 SOs, 82 GP) In order to reconcile the disparity based on the league average; the Flyers should have 9 SOs. Since the Flyers are terrible at SOs perennially, a 3-6 record will be assigned in these games and since SO’s don’t count towards goal total, the goals in these games are even. The Flyers would have a 4-6 record in OT which would grant them a goal differential in these games of -2 to be subtracted from the 42 goal differential total. This leaves the Flyers with a goal differential of plus 40 in 63 games.

Now, to calculate what that means based off a goal differential to points metric found here.

In a standard season, a goal differential of 0 is equal to 92.5 points in the standings or 1.13points per game. However, due to the OT games, this isn’t an 82 game season, but a 63 game season.  

But wait, something else needs to be factored in. Shutouts. Ilya Bryzgalov posted 21 shutouts in 257 games in Phoenix, or a shutout frequency of 8.17%. Assuming he keeps that pace in Philly, that’s 4.73 shutouts, or 5 shutouts for Bryzgalov over the course of the season. Since the odds of a 1-0 shutout in OT are slim, it’s safe to assume Bryzgalov will have 5 shutouts and Bob should finally get 1. That’s 6 shutouts where 1 goal will win the game. That means some goals won’t matter, because of that, let’s give the Flyers 6 more wins and leave 57 games with a goal differential of 40-(6 games x 2.939 goals per game) which leaves a differential of +28.244. And a record of 13-0-12.  

So in 57 games, a goal differential of 0 is equal to 62.299 points in the standings (rounding off will only be done with the final numbers to keep the calculations as close to accurate as possible). Now as the graph in the link shows, there’s a 10% margin for error with this, but for the sake of the next set of calculations, it will be assumed that there is no error and once the final calculations are done, a 10% window will be opened to hopefully correct for it. Now, 6 goals equals one win in the standings on average based on formula in the above article. This means that +28.244 in the goal differential column is equal to 4.707 wins or 9.415 standings points. Added together, in the 57 remaining games this gives the Flyers 71.714 standings points. However, to factor for shutouts against where one goal against is a an automatic loss, the Flyers will earn 70 points in the 57 regulation games, or go 35-22.

So here’s the bracket

Regulation games without a shutout for: 35-22+6 shutout wins for a regulation total of 41-22

OT/SO:  7-0-12 + regulation total of 41-22 gives…

A final Flyers record of 48-22-12 or 108 points total. Or 1 win more than they had this year. Now, the 10% margin of error means that this total can vary by 5% in each direction (10% total window). So that means the Flyers have an 11 (rounded from 10.8 which is 10% of 108 points) point window of 114 points at the top or 103 points.

To download the spreadsheet click here

2 Comments

George Prax's picture

I grew a beard while reading this.

Matt Bernot's picture

Sorry, Leafs up next week...