The Detroit Red Wings are off to a chaotic neutral start. They sit at 3-3, with their wins coming in electrifying fashion and their losses looking uninspired. The eye-test suggests a team that isn’t quite clicking on all cylinders. There’s been plenty to like, but just as much to balk at.
So what do the numbers say? It’s easy to say a player has excelled or dropped the ball, but is their underlying proof of the fact? As far as the Red Wings go, the numbers are pretty self-explanatory.
As a team, the Red Wings are in the middle of the road when it comes to PDO – a measurement of how lucky a team has been. PDO is found by adding a team’s save percentage to their shooting percentage. An average PDO is around 100 – anything below would be considered unlucky, and anything above would be considered lucky.
The Red Wings sit 16th in the league when it comes to PDO with a mark of 99.49. Basically, if anything, they’ve been slightly unlucky, but they’ve more than likely earned the results they have.
With a success rate of just 72.2%, the Red Wings’ penalty kill unit ranks 24th in the league. This rate made much worse following last night’s special-teams beating from the Canucks.
The other end of their special teams, the power-play, is struggling just as much, if not more. With just a 11.1% success rate, the Red Wings’ power play ranks 25th in the league. These early results suggest that any damage the team is doing has come at 5-on-5.
Among players to skate in all six of the Red Wings’ games this season, only five of them have a positive Corsi rating (CF%). Corsi is a metric designed to determine what percentage of offensive opportunities are earned by individual players and teams. The highest mark belongs to Anthony Mantha (53.89%) while the lowest mark is Luke Glendening’s putrid 29.41% (per Corsica Hockey)
Mantha has had a seismic impact on his team’s offense thus far. You don’t need stats to tell you that. However, the amount of impact is worth reporting. Mantha’s relative-Corsi – the impact having him on the ice does for the team’s overall Corsi share – is a strong 11.44%. This means Mantha elevates the Red Wings’ offensive chances by that number. This should come as no surprise: he is tied for third among league-leaders in goals.
Mantha’s line with Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin has been noticeably dominant through six games. With a 54.36 CF%, they represent the team’s second-most potent offensive threat. Yes, you read that right: second.
The team’s top creators of offensive pressure has been the fourth line of Jacob de la Rose, Justin Abdelkader, and Darren Helm. This trio has a 58.14 CF%, which puts them among the most dangerous fourth-lines in the league. Who knew?
Athanasiou Needs to Wake Up
Through four games, Andreas Athanasiou has seemed dormant in the lineup. With just a single assist, he has yet to assert himself in ways that Red Wings fans know he can. Truthfully, there seems to be something wrong with the 25-year-old.
His 31.82 CF% is the second-lowest on the team. Athanasiou is a player who thrives in transition and in the offensive zone. So when he’s forced to play defense for nearly 70% of the time, the team isn’t getting the best version of him.
Athanasiou represents what is plaguing the Red Wings the most through six games: a lack of depth scoring. A truly successful team will have multiple options to score throughout their lineup. In the case of the Red Wings, it seems that all of their options are at the top or the bottom of the lineup. This is not a recipe for success.
Six games are probably not enough to draw any meaningful conclusions from. After all, six games don’t even represent a tenth of the regular season. However, for a team like the Red Wings, having a strong start is the foundation for any success they hope to have. Otherwise, they’ll learn quickly that they have further to climb to fit in with the top teams in the league.
If the team’s top line can continue to capitalize on their chances, and then they add in production from guys like Athanasiou, this team could go off on a nice run. Without that, the chaotic neutral they find themselves in will only spiral into the depths of mediocrity.
The stats don’t lie, and the Red Wings need them to look better.
I am a Western Michigan University alum whose passion for hockey knows no limits. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Catch me and my fellow Red Wings writers’ YouTube show “The Hockey Writers Grind Line” which drops every Saturday.