The Flyers, at 16-14-8, are last in the Metropolitan division. They have been better of late, posting a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games. Heading towards the February trade deadline, it remains unclear whether the Flyers top brass will decide to be buyers or sellers – but the latter appears more likely. Today we look at the team’s back-end.
Provorov logging the toughest minutes
+ Provorov (PMF -1.55) has performed admirably when taking into account the heavy workload he’s assigned. IP plays some of the toughest 5v5 minutes for Philly. While his puck movement score is not “top notch”, it does represent solid improvement from last season (a reassuring sign in just his second season – more on that later)
+ Hagg (PMF -4.94) and MacDonald (PMF -4.36) have both struggled immensely as puck movers in 2017/18. While MacDonald has played tough minutes, Hagg’s struggles are particularly noteworthy. He’s playing 2nd pairing QoC and not driving the play effectively at all. Makes you wonder why Gudas, who excelled last year playing top-3 QoC, isn’t taking on more of those minutes (more on that later, too)
+ Gudas and Sanheim have both been excellent in third pairing roles. The high PMF scores are slightly inflated by the smaller sample size, but the takeaway is clear: both are driving the play and helping their teammates generate scoring chances (but against weaker competition)
+ No surprises on Shayne Gostisbehere (PMF +0.3). Having an improved season 5v5, but against weaker QoC in a more sheltered role. But the “Ghost” is one of – if not THE – premier powerplay QBs. He has 17 powerplay points (5g, 12a). This summer we introduced our PPQB metric:
No surprise to see Gostisbehere near the top.
Now back to Gudas and Provorov… we looked at their change in usage and performance from last season to this one:
Provorov showing steady improvement
Provorov is not competing for the Norris…yet. But he’s shown solid improvement from year 1 to year 2. While his PMF score (-1.55) is slightly better than last year (-1.82), he’s faced tougher QoC in year 2 (i.e., the coaching staff is giving him more responsibility). This QoC shift is notable because it highlights the fact that his improvement is more than a +0.27 improvement.
Gudas playing a third pairing role – could it be time to move him up the lineup or to a different lineup?
Gudas has excelled driving the play in each of the past 2 seasons. Most fans associate Gudas as a “goon” or “old fashioned d-man”. While it’s no secret that Gudas has disciplinary issues (just completed a recent 10 game suspension), his play on the ice has been extremely productive. Last season, his PMF of +1.85 was excellent, especially considering the fact that he played some of the toughest minutes for Philly. This season, he’s been excellent (playing against weaker QoC). How big is his impact? Every single Flyers’ forward has better possession numbers (CF%) with Gudas on the ice.
With Hagg struggling immensely, it may make sense for Philly to move Gudas back into the top-4. Or, if he’s fallen out of favor, other teams looking to make a playoff run should take notice.