Sens Chemistry Lab: Erik Karlsson and the Top Three Playmaking Duos
Mathew Brown is a postdoctoral fellow in Computer Science at the University of Toronto. Check him out. His work includes a study of carbon, water, and energy balance after a pine beetle attack in B.C. and the regulation of soil surface respiration in New Zealand.
Oh, and he’s done some work with hockey too.
Somewhere in the midst of all his study, Brown has found time to produce a data visualization that displays the “chemistry” between hockey players.
Here’s a look at which Ottawa Senators have displayed the best on-ice chemistry so far this season.
Erik Karlsson and the Senators Offensive Chemistry
First, for the purposes of this study, chemistry is defined as two players connecting to score a goal.
This chart show which players have the best offensive chemistry. Hover over to display the goal production between two players. A thicker line indicates more goals. A line that is thicker at one end indicates that player scores more of the goals when those two connect. Colours just differentiate the chords.
If you haven’t already clicked on the link, now’s the time – otherwise, the “thicker lines” part is a little tough to follow.
Second, defenseman Erik Karlsson displays great chemistry with virtually every player on the team. As per Brown’s data display, Karlsson has combined to score:
- eight goals with Bobby Ryan
- seven with Kyle Turris
- five with Clarke MacArthur
- four with Mark Stone
- four with David Legwand
- three with Milan Michalek
Karlsson has the greatest quantity and variety of goal-scoring partners on the team. He only factors once into the top-three discussion but his team-wide chemistry and influence is worth noting before we get started.
Top Three Ottawa Senators Playmaking Duos
Third Place – Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan
Tied for the team lead in points with 33 each, it isn’t surprising that Senators stars Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan are one of the top playmaking duos in the lineup.
Fortunately for Ottawa, the team’s two biggest stars not named Craig Anderson have developed good chemistry playing together.
In Brown’s goal-scoring visual, Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan have combined on five of Ryan’s goals and three of Karlsson’s – a total of eight goals produced together. This total is good enough for third place on the Ottawa Senators top three playmaking duos list.
*check out Erik Karlsson’s slick assist on Ryan’s third goal against the Sabres (Dec. 29th, 2014)
Second Place – Bobby Ryan and Mika Zibanejad
Much like Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan’s offensive importance is hard to overstate. Although Mika Zibanejad’s meagre 23 points in 44 games has been a mild disappointment, Z-Bad’s chemistry with Ryan is a pleasant surprise.
Together, the two spend the majority of their even-strength and powerplay ice time playing together. Ryan has factored in on seven of Zibanejad’s goals this season and Zibanejad has assisted on two of Ryan’s goals. Together, the pair has produced nine goals, good enough for second on the Sens’ top-three playmaking duos list.
*check out Ryan’s feed to Zibanejad for a powerplay marker against St. Louis (Nov. 22nd, 2014)
First Place – Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris
Since joining the Senators in 2013, MacArthur has found a very comfortable spot playing left wing for Kyle Turris.
This season, MacArthur and Turris have continued to show great on-ice chemistry. Together, the pair has produced ten goals, each assisting on five goals scored by the other.
Both forwards have produced a little less than the Senators have needed this season. Turris has posted 29 points, MacArthur only 24. However, the pair’s on-ice chemistry remains strong. That’s reason enough for hope that better offensive days are still to come.
*it was tempting to choose MacArthur’s beauty between-the-legs pass to Turris for a goal last season. Instead, check out the high-speed, wraparound, goal-mouth feed by Turris to MacArthur against the Coyotes (Jan. 10th, 2015)
Some Parting Shots…
Young defenseman Cody Ceci displays some evenly-dispersed chemistry with most forwards. This bodes well for the development of the youngster’s offensive game going forward.
Colin Greening, Zack Smith, Patrick Wiercioch, Jared Cowen, Marc Methot, Chris Phillips, Erik Gryba, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Mark Borowiecki are the anti-Erik Karlssons. Each shows very little chemistry with anyone due to low point totals.
And finally, kudos to goaltender Robin Lehner who has a slot on the Sens’ chemistry wheel.
Whose goal did he assist on?
You guessed it. Erik Karlsson.
What do you think, Sens fans? Does this data visualization reveal anything to you that you didn’t already know?
Sean Tierney writes articles about the Sens, working to include analytics whenever possible. He has also written about the Leafs, Habs, Sens, Raptors, and Blue Jays for Fansided and Bleacher Report. He enjoys long walks on the beach and candle lit dinners and definitely isn’t the tallest guy in the men’s rec basketball league.