Better With Popcorn

Betting on Briere

With all of the moves made by the Flyers this offseason, a lot of attention has been paid to the changing of the guard from Jeff Carter and Mike Richards to Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk. However, while many are assessing whether Giroux can take over for Richards or if van Riemsdyk is up to the challenge of replacing Carter, an older member of the team is flying under the radar.

                                

Next season will be Daniel Briere's fifth with the Flyers. Briere finished last season second on the team in goals scored as well as total points. His 34 goals were the single highest total of his entire career. In addition to his stellar performance in the regular season, Briere added seven goals and two assists in eleven playoff games. When discussing next season, Briere’s responsibility is simple; he needs to take over for Carter and lead the Flyers in goals scored.

When analyzing the production of Briere and Carter from 2010-11, one will find that the two players were similar. On the surface, it’s easy to see that Carter scored two more goals then Briere and that Briere finished with two more points than Carter, but when analyzing these two players one must look deeper then just goals, assists, and points. The context of the points is far more important. After analyzing their production it’s clear that Briere’s production made Carter expendable.

Last season, Briere registered 22 points in the first period (10 goals, 12 assists), 16 points in the second period (eight goals, eight assists), 29 points in the third period (16 goals, 13 assists) and one point (an assist) in overtime. Carter registered 20 points in the first period (15 goals, five assists) 22 points in the second period (nine goals, 13 assists) and 24 points in the third period (12 goals, 12 assists). Briere’s 29 points in the third period was the most of any one on the team (Giroux had 25 and Richards had 19). In a general sense, it’s fair to say that the third period is probably the most valuable period to produce in.

 

Points Per Period Breakdown

 

FIRST

SECOND

THIRD

OVERTIME

BRIERE

22

16

29

1

CARTER

20

22

24

N/A

 

The two players both scored 11 go-ahead goals last season and produced similarly per period. Briere scored seven in the first, two in the second, and two in the third. Carter scored six in the first, three in the second and two in the third. From here on the similarities begin to dissipate and Briere’s value becomes more apparent.

 

Goals Per Period Breakdown

 

FIRST*

SECOND

THIRD

BRIERE

10

8

16

CARTER

15

9

12

 *When breaking down first period goals, the amount of times each player scored either the first goal of the game or the first goal for the Flyers was noted. Seven of Briere’s 10 first period goals fit this category and eight of Carter’s 15 fit this category.

Carter scored four goals last season that tied games whereas Briere scored eight. Carter registered two of those four in the first period, whereas Briere scored four of his in the third period. This again is a generalization, but game tying goals are probably more valuable in the third than the first.  Even without discussing the importance of when they occur, Breire registered just as many if not more game-tying goals in every period in comparison to Carter (Briere: 2-2-4 and Carter: 2-1-1) and registered Carter’s entire total in the third period alone.

Assists Per Period Breakdown

 

FIRST

SECOND

THIRD

OVERTIME

BRIERE

12

8

13

1

CARTER

5

13

12

N/A

 

Carter’s claim to fame is his goal scoring, and over the last three seasons he has been the Flyers’ leading goal scorer. Interestingly enough, eight of his goals last season either gave the Flyers a three-goal lead or came with a three-goals or more lead. All of those goals came from the second and third period (four for each period). With the exception of a few games (December 8thagainst San Jose and March 22nd against Washington come to mind) a three-goal lead is typically clean-up time. Briere only scored three goals in these types of situations.    

Many have been quick to justify the movement of Carter by saying that van Riemsdyk’s second half performance made Carter expendable. In reality, Briere’s performance may be what made the young forward expendable. It’s disputable whether or not Briere is more valuable than Carter. What is indisputable is that the team had a spoil of riches and allocated funds to areas that they saw as weaknesses.

One area of weakness that Briere needs to work on is the amount of time he spends in the penalty box. Last season, Briere took 35 minor penalties, which tied him with line-mate Scott Hartnell for the highest total on the team. In comparison, Carter took only 16 minor penalties. For Briere to have an effective role on the team, he is going to need to find a way to stay on the ice. Because of Briere’s size he largely has to swing his stick around to protect himself from bigger players. Hopefully with the aid of two big forwards in Hartnell and newly-acquired Jakub Voracek, Briere won’t have to take as many penalties to protect himself.  

While many are quick to point to Giroux and van Riemsdyk as the key players of the Flyers future, it seems that Briere is just as important. While Briere may only apply to the near future, he will have a huge responsibility over the next couple seasons. He’s going to have to prove that his production can stand on its own and isn’t aided by the threat of Carter (a valid argument). When looking towards next season, it certainly seems that Briere is expected to lead the team in goals. Anything less may not be an option for the Flyers to be successful.

Follow me on twitter:

@mattbrigidi

2 Comments

John Russo's picture

Read this a few days ago and never commented on it. Briere will need to step up BIG time for the Flyers this season. People talk about Giroux and JvR but forget that Briere was the one who was toe-to-toe with Carter as far as scoring goes last season. If he keeps up that pace and one or both of JvR/Giroux step up, the offense may not take the hit people were thinking this season after all. It's not a top-contending season for the Flyers but nonetheless, it could make for a huge step in the right direction

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

Briere is going to have to play very strong this season. He is now a leader of that youthful offense and going to have to continue strong production late in games if the Flyers want to continue their winning ways. I don't think he will be at 34 goals again, but 30 goals will be very effective for this club.
I also have to say that you love your stats and it always makes a good read.