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USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS
The Erie Otters entered Game 5 against the Soo Greyhounds with a chance to knock out the favorite – the Greyhounds are the No. 1 ranked team in the CHL – but were unsuccessful in their attempt to do so.
As was the case Game 4, I tracked Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome for Erie, while I did the same for Blake Speers and Zach Senyshyn off SSM.
Score: 4-2 SSM (ENG)
Dylan Strome was used primarily for defensive zone faceoffs early on, but started more shifts in the offensive zone late in the 3rd while Erie was trying to tie the game.
It was clear Erie’s coaching staff wanted to make things as easy on Connor McDavid as possible. He’s still Connor McDavid and is capable of driving play up ice against anyone, but it’s a lot tougher when you’re playing against Darnell Nurse and have guys like Nick Ritchie hunting you down from behind in the neutral zone.
Zach Senyshyn really didn’t play much in this one.
Blake Speers is another guy who is pretty good at driving play up ice, so starting him outside of the offensive zone is not an issue.
As is often the case with Strome, he showed the ability to drive play up ice but didn’t do it all that often. Playing with a guy like Alex DeBrincat, who is also good through the neutral zone, takes some of the load off of him.
McDavid wasn’t as dominant through the neutral zone as he was in Game 4, however, he was still darn good — especially when you factor in who he was playing against. He’s almost impossible to contain with the dynamic skating ability he possesses.
Senyshyn and, to a much lesser extent, Speers didn’t play a lot so naturally their zone entry attempts were low. They made the most of them, though, combining to go 3-for-3.
Once again Strome fared poorly in possession. Soo dominated from start to finish and he saw a good chunk of ice. His numbers reflect that.
McDavid coming out at 50% in this game is pretty ridiculous. He was spoon fed offensive zone (and neutral zone) starts, but he played against some of the best players the league has to offer and still came out even in a game where Soo outshot Erie significantly.
Senyshyn didn’t really play much and spent one of his few shifts caught in his own zone, so his numbers aren’t very good.
Lastly, Speers played a real solid game. He didn’t start one shift in the offensive zone and came out at 57% possession against a very good team. That’s tough to do.
If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!