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Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 02/23/2011

Statistical analysis: Scott Hannan's impact

By Neil Greenberg
Statistical analysis

I was asked in the comments of an earlier post to take a look at the impact Scott Hannan has had on Washington's defense. Has the unit been better or worse since the Nov. 30 trade that brought the veteran blueliner to D.C. from Colorado?

Before Hannan tradeAfter Hannan trade
Penalty kill6.
Even strength14.582.8415.442.63

Injuries to the defensive corps after Hannan's arrival may explain the slight increase in scoring chances against per 60 minutes (SCA/60), but his veteran presence has helped keep the goals against (GA/60) relatively constant during both even-strength and short-handed shifts.

The real benefit of the deal is how Hannan has improved the play of his teammates during even strength, especially his three most common pairings: Mike Green, John Erskine and Jeff Schultz.

With HannanW/O Hannan
All data during even strength

Green sees more chances (SC%) go in the Caps' favor, half as many chances against and almost two-thirds fewer goals against per 60 minutes of ice time when paired with Hannan. Erskine and Schultz also see dramatically better results with Hannan as a defensive partner, giving up far fewer goals and chances against during even strength.

As the Feb. 28 trade deadline approaches and fans clamor for General Manager George McPhee to fill some of Washington's glaring needs, the Hannan acquisition should signal that management is already on the right track.

Neil Greenberg also writes for Russian Machine Never Breaks. You can follow him on Twitter.

By Neil Greenberg  | February 23, 2011; 10:56 AM ET
Categories:  Scott Hannan, Statistical analysis  
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Thanks Neil, makes for interesting reading. And to all you who say Sarge hasn't improved, guess the number say your wrong

Posted by: bqts | February 23, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Neil: Thanks. What's confusing is the SCA ES per 60 mins is better (w/Hannan) for everyone but Poti, but the SCA ES per 60 mins overall team has gotten worse (6.17 --> 9.16). That's almost 50% worse.

So, they all play better with Hannan but since he's come over, the non-Hannan pairings are playing way worse?

The data also seems to suggest that the Alzner-Carlson pairing is giving up a lot of chances.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 23, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Trade Green...we can obviously win without him...

Both high scoring games and low scoring games.

And be sure he ends up either far west, or on a team out of the playoffs...

Heck, send him to Toronto...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 23, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1 I have noticed the chances against with Hannan on the ice have not been great, but the pucks haven't gone into the net. As for the team overall, I would not be surprised if that is the Sloan effect due to Poti/Green injuries but I would have to look deeper.

Posted by: NeilRMNB | February 23, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Hannan has been great! He is the guy we needed last year. If we can get one more like him, then all of Green's playoff fumbles might be covered.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 23, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

@ Lylewimbledon

That's alot of work for any 2 players to cover :) I think that SoaringCaps idea might be the better choice but no one at Kettler would even consider that as an option.

Posted by: bqts | February 23, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Erskine has been the glue thats held the backline together this year, no doubt he's the mvp of that group. Funny how only Poti and ****55 have worse +/- stats than Hannan since his arrival, yet Hannan is portrayed as being the guy who makes everyone play better?? Right.....


Are you serious in suggesting ****55 has improved? If you weren't joking, you'll have to please enlighten me as to how he's improved

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 23, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Need someone to cover for Schultz and Sloan too. Maybe we need 10 defensemen.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 23, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Oh yay... Here come the Green haters again.... sigh.....

Posted by: green52fan | February 23, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

sugar schultz improved last year, but I don't think he has gotten any better this year

Posted by: _stevo | February 23, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The data also seems to suggest that the Alzner-Carlson pairing is giving up a lot of chances.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 23, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

They also have been playing against the other teams top line most often so that is expected.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 23, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@ vermontcaps

JOKE !!!!!!!!!!

@ lylewimbledon

Easy cover Sloan, just send him to the hot dog stand

Posted by: bqts | February 23, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1 Apologies. I mislabeled the data in the top chart. Even Strength and Penalty Kill were flip-flopped. Labels are now correct. Again, sorry for confusion.

Posted by: NeilRMNB | February 23, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

icehammer: Over all chances are up are up since Hannan arrived. Meanwhile Alzner and Carlson numbers show high % of scoring chances allowed. Maybe this data suggests Hannan should be playing against other teams top line. They have him paired with everyone on the team at one time or another and apparently they have shut down the second lines very well.

Everyone raves, "Alzner and Carlson are our shutdown D!" but this data perhaps contradicts that.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 23, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@Ovi08 - I've been a ref more than anything else when it comes to hockey. When you do that for a long time you meet many people who go on to other positions through the NHL and other leagues. I've stayed in contact with some people and they know I'm a Caps fan. I get info about all teams but only really talk about the big ones on here or the ones involving the Caps.

I cheer for the Caps but I cheer for players more than teams outside the Caps. Some I've ref'd, coached or whatever. The hockey community is a very tight. You always seem to run into somebody who knows somebody you know. Pretty cool stuff.

That being said please do NOT try to put me out there w/an Eklund. I'm not and don't want to be. I don't have time to come on here every day much less do a blog! LOL! My only reason for sharing the info is just that, to share info. I'm a Caps fan and I want to know what's going on and others do too so I don't mind sharing.

Typically what you'll get from me more than anything else is the background of what went on like in the Flash deal. Or what GMGM's thinking is etc. You will see me state that I'm not saying that what GMGM is doing is right, but at least I can give you a different perspective on his thinking/plan. Some come on here and do nothing but bash GMGM. Just work through all of that. I'm not saying he hasn't made mistakes but you don't get nominated for "executive of the year" by screwin the pooch a bunch. Understand that the majority of what is said about GMGM and his drafting etc can be said about every single other GM who is in the game or has been in the game. Some people refuse to acknowledge that but that's on them not me.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 23, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@ pokerface1208

Great post, THANKS !!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | February 23, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse


For example, I just now got a text stating, "your boy might be staying in DC you know". This was in reference to us discussing Hannan. It appears as if GMGM has expressed interest in extending Hannan. It appears it won't get done until after the playoffs but both sides have expressed interest in an extension.

I'm 100% on board with this (altho I'm partial). I've said from the moment he got traded here that he was a solid solid Dman who would help this team beyond numbers. Hmmmm......

As a side note, do you know how odd that was to type that? I'm sitting in Colorado and saying "here" is DC! LMAO!

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 23, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@tom. I am not sure I made my point clear. What I was pointing out is the high number of chances against Carlson and Alzner could be because they are playinga against the other teams' top line who are in general going to get more scoring chances no matter who is on D. I think that Hannan has been good for the team but I think if you put him out against the guys Carlson and Alzner play against his scoring chances against numbers would rise big time. I may be right, I may be wrong but looking at the numbers I think that plays a very big part into the numbers. It would be interesting to see if, and I don't know if this stat is tracked at all, you could look at scoring chances against the players and compare it to the average amount of scoring chances the players they are out against have. It would be interesting to see if Alzner/Carlson for example reduce the number of scoring chances a line like Stamkos's in TB compaired to what they get in other games.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 23, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface. Interesting, I like Hannan as a player don't get me wrong, but it would depend on the money as to how much I like resigning him. If for instance we could afford Hal Gill for the same or less money I would be against it. If Hannan is willing to take less then what we could get a Hal Gill type player for so we have more $$ for a #2 center then like you I really like keeping him.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 23, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse


PHEW!! I was pretty sure you were, and I'm glad I don't have to get all worked up refuting any "improvements" :)

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 23, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Neil: No, I think you had it right before. Now it looks like we give up three times as many goals ES as we do PK. That simply can't be true.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 23, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I think Hannan staying next year would be good. As this gives us 7 NHL D, I wonder if someone else could be moving.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 23, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse


I've heard nothing about numbers. Only interest in keeping him here.

Our top 4 D are pretty decent in 52/23 & 27/74. Our 3rd pairing isn't bad with 3/4 & 89 filling in.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 23, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: You forgot 55. I know, easy to do.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 23, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't sure in the beginning with Hannan, but he has turned into a solid defenseman for the Caps. Now if Sloan and Schultzy can just learn a little from Hannan, we may be in good shape.

Posted by: la_terp | February 23, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Hannan has definitely grown on me.

I would definitely be open to an extension for Hannan.

Posted by: digster1013 | February 23, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

As for those who constantly bash Schultz: Sure it may seem like he isn't doing a good job because he isn't scoring lots of goals or blowing up every opposing forward that enters the D zone.

Then again, maybe he is smarter than people give him credit for. Toughness is important, sure. But consider the toll that hitting takes not just on the recipient, but also on the person dishing out those hits. Also, consider that fact that one could define a defenseman's key responsibilties thus:

--Keep the other team from scoring.
--Get the puck away from the other team.
--Keep the puck away from the other team.
--Get some goals/assists if possible.

Granted, highlight-reel open-ice hits are impressive, but given these basic responsibilities, isn't it better for the player and the team if he can carry them out without an excessive toll on his own body--thus keeping him available to continue doing those things game-in and game-out?

Just my $0.02

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 23, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Hannan has been a great improvement to the defensive corps - watch him in his own zone.. He plays the body well and never panics. All around smart, solid defender and a goaltender's friend which is what you need.

Now #55 is a different story - what a waste of size! Shultz is the most un-physical presence they have.. the guy stands around and can't clear the zone to save his life. Watch him! I have no idea what they see in him - for every blocked shot he gets b/c of his wingspan he turns the puck over at least 3 times in his zone or stands around in front of the net with his head up his arse while the opposition is crashing through our crease.

Having planyed and watched hockey for 30+ years - this guy is a stiff. Reminds me of Joe Reekie another overrated Caps defenseman.

Give me the Sloth-footed Erskine anyday! At least he isn't punked on any physical play in front of the net. What a god given waste of size! Yes playing Defense is more than Physical but THATS WHERE IT STARTS! If the opponent doesn't respect you in front of your own NET your done.

Posted by: rskinsfan | February 23, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

As a goalie I have noticed some Dmen are great at forcing shooters to take bad shots. Usually this is becuase they have such solid positioning. Guys end up firing from the top of the circle and you see it all the way into your chest. Carlzner may be giving up more shots, but they may be lower quality. Don't they have some rushed attmepts in NBA or NFL stats. Wonder if that matters in this case.

Posted by: CapsDK | February 23, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

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