Mason Marchment, Hubert O', Barkov discussed on The Hockey PDOcast
Name is Dimitri fel povich and joining me is my good buddy Jack on Jack, what's going on man? So Dmitri, you've been asking me about the secrets behind the Florida Panthers. I think everybody in the NHL wants to play more like Florida and I think I've kind of figured out why that is. Okay, well, that's great that you got us there. That was going to be the first topic I want to talk about. Well, let's set it up. I think just so people kind of get a feel for what we're going to do on today's show. Usually when I have you on, it's a very open platform. We just kind of talk about whatever's been interesting to us. Usually in between shows we do, we're texting each other, being like, oh, we should talk about this sometime, blah, blah, and then once the list gets long enough we're like, all right, let's just record. And so I've had a bunch of them. We're going to try to kind of nerd out on either style of player strategy or whatever and just talk about a bunch of teams. And the Florida Panthers are certainly the top of my list. And I'm going to give you some stats. Just to set the table and then you can get into your fine kind of findings on it. So as a team, they're scoring nearly 3.5 goals per 60, 5 one 5 this season, which is the highest rate we've seen in the analytics era just ahead of the 2009 ten capitals in the 2018, 19 lightning in all situations on a per 60 basis, the average 4.1 goals, 3.7 expected goals and 37 shots on goal, all of those are also number ones since 2007. They have 5 different players already with 20 goals, which doesn't include Jonathan Hubert, who has 18 of them, but is also on pace for a 116 points. And Aaron ek wat, who, I think it's under talked about because kill McCarthy has been so transcendently good offensively this season and Victor hedman's return to form, and we're just blessed with amazing two way defenseman now, but Aaron ekblad coming back from a brutal devastating leg injury to play at the level he's played out so far is similarly remarkable. He's got 15 goals. He's on pace for nearly a point per game as a defenseman. Anyone that's been paying attention knows about barkov's line and Hubert O's line and we've talked in the past about how they've gotten value from splitting those two guys up. But now they've also got this third line of Sam Reinhart Anton lundell and mason marchment. That just has preposterous on ice dads. I know a lot of it is inflated from that one game against Columbus where mason marchment had a million points. But they've played a 115 minutes together so far. And they're up 17 to three in that time. And it's an interesting use of Sam Ryan, 'cause when they acquired him, I was like, all right, I wonder if he's going to play as the furniture on Hubert O's line, or if he's going to and center it, or if he's going to play on the wing on barkov, and it turns out neither because there have such a wealth of talent and depth that they can afford to kind of split it out this way. So that's all setting it up for you. What have you seen from the Panthers and sort of what do you take away from that? I've kind of seen them coming for the past couple of years now because in the past three seasons they've gone from like a very mediocre offensive team at 5 one 5 to really show signs of becoming elite last year and then just being ridiculously good this year and you know I wrote about them last year on my newsletter and basically it was the roster turnover, right? They've added a lot of guys. We're good off the rush and also they've added a lot of defensemen who are very comfortable jumping to the play. And then this year it just seems like they've kind of done some fine tuning. Some of their players have stepped up. So their newer players and now they're just historically good, which I wouldn't even have expected. And I think that the bedrock of what they're doing is they're doing a lot of damage off the rush. And then once they get into the offensive zone, they kind of take advantage of that confusion to win these retrieval races to extend their ozone possessions and then they attack a lot downhill, which means that instead of having three players down low, they're only having one or two players, but then always having some movement diving toward the net, which is not unique to them. Toronto uses it quite a bit. Colorado's another team that actually predates Florida in this regard, same thing with activating their days off the rush. So they've basically taken, I think, Colorado's playbook from a couple of years ago and kind of pushed it to the limit. Yeah, I would say I'm completely entranced by watching them play with all due respect to the abs who have a remarkable combination of players. I think the Panthers right now are the best show in hockey, just in terms of stylistically the games that they're able to put together. They obviously have a bunch of talented players. And that plays a big role. It's a talent driven league. If you don't have the personnel in the firepower, you can be the best coach in the world, but you're only going to be able to get so much out of them. But I think the bigger functional takeaway here and sort of just kind of looking around the league and talking with people and as you said, everyone's trying to figure out like, okay, how are they doing this? How are they adding these players who otherwise seem very flawed or weren't getting these results in their past stops and all of a sudden inserting them into this lineup and just getting the absolute best possible scenario out of them. And I think the functional takeaway here is that way they play, like how they generate those results. It's this kind of complete buy and to push the pace, right? Like I know this is a concept that you're really high on in terms of defenseman sprinting up the ice and actually putting in that effort to involve themselves in the play. But there's so many situations where you're trained just watching games that at the NHL level for the most part, especially if it's nearing the end of a shift and the guys don't have a full tank of energy left. It's like a harmless looking two on two or three on three scenario and most teams are kind of content just dumping the puck in or stalling for time and potentially just kind of kicking the can down the road and living to fight another day and getting fresh skaters out there. And instead with a panther, it's like all of a sudden whichever really any of their top three defense pairings, you'll have someone just sprinting up and joining and making it a three on two or a four on three and they're actually actively trying to score or at least create something from that sequence. And there's a game a while back against the rangers that I was watching and I really just stuck in my head just seeing I believe ekblad and Uighur were the two leading the rush. It was like a three on two and they were the two guys up high like really pushing it and it just like when do you ever see a scenario where there's the two defensemen are the ones that are so aggressively both willing and able to actually execute that way. And so I think it's like a philosophical thing more so than a talent thing, obviously they have great players and you don't want to diminish that by any means. But I think there is something actionable there in seeing the way they're playing. And I know it's like, oh, well, if you play it that way, are you giving up too much defensively? Are you opening yourself up for these fun track meet games that ultimately aren't going to result in playoff success, but I think this is just a really good team that is also kind of found this nice match.