Over a month into the season now and while our Silent Jay For Selke campaign has met with plenty of grassroots support, as well as some national recognition among the blogerati, we've also run into plenty of people who don't believe that the Selke, awarded to "the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game," should actually go to a player who doesn't put up 20-plus goals and 60-plus points.
To those people we say, let's put the defense back in the defensive forward award. We also say, what if our guy scores a hat trick? Is that enough for you?
But back to defense, because that is truly what the Selke Trophy is about and it is what Jay McClement's game is all about. Thanks to GTer Icion and his ability to puull together all of these statistics for us, we can compare McClement's early season work against that of last year's Selke finalists Pavel Datsyuk and Ryan Kesler. We left off last year's other finalist, Mike Richards because, well, come on. Richards?
Selke Consideration Statistics - Nov. 14 2010
|Category||Jay McClement||Pavel Datsyuk||Ryan Kesler|
|ESGA every||26.1 min||23.5 min||31.1 min|
|SHGA every||15.3 min||15.0 min||10.6 min|
|% starts in DZ||56.0%||61.2%||54.8%|
|% shifts end in OZ||53.6%||50.4%||51.8%|
|SH FO %||44.0%||43.0%||43.0%|
|ES FO %||46.0%||60.0%||59.0%|
|Key: GP - Games Played; ES - Even Strength; TOI - Time On Ice; GA - Goals Against; SH - Short Handed; QoC - Quality of Competition; DZ - Defensive Zone; OZ - Offensive Zone; FO % - Face Off Percentage; PIM - Penalties In Minutes; SHP - Short Handed Points|
Surely the stat-savvy amongst you will break down this chart on your own, but we'd like to point out a few of the statistics that we find particularly interesting at this point:
- While all three players have been in about the same number of games, McClement sees most of his ice time in less than optimum circumstances. While Datsyuk and Kesler have over 200 minutes of even strength time, McClement has only 183. Basically, Datsyuk and Kesler are considered offensive players for their team, so they play more 5-on-5 and also play against a lower Quality of Competition - they are put in a position to score by their coaches. But the Selke is about defensive forwards, is it not?
- On the other hand, McClement consistently goes up against a higher Quality of Competition, by a large margin, than the other two players do. This obviously points to his defensive responsibilities and the trust that his coaching staff has in those aspects of the game. McClement also sees a majority of his faceoffs in the defensive zone (56%). He is usually put in that position as a defensive forward to win those faceoffs and to help defend his zone if he loses the faceoff.
- Interestingly, while McClement wins more defensive zone faceoffs than Datsyuk and Kesler (by the narrowest of margins), his overall faceoff percentage is very similar, while Datsyuk's and Kesler's take a dramatic dive when they are in the defensive zone as compared to the other two (60% down to 43% and 59% down to 43%).
- In one of the truest tests of a forward's defensive ability, McClement continually excels. He has played more short handed minutes by a large margin and plays the most short handed minutes between goals against of any of the three. More interestingly, the Blues, Canucks and Red Wings have been shorthanded this year almost the same amount of times (62 for Detroit, 60 for both St. Louis and Vancouver), meaning that McClement is playing a much higher percentage of his team's short handed minutes than either other player and at a much more effective rate.
- In terms of some of the other statistics that fans want to throw out as indicative of Selke-worthiness, McClement is also fairing well. While he has the fewest takeaways of the three, he has the fewest giveaways by a good margin - a number that would indicate his care of the puck when in his possession. He has the fewest hits, which may or may not indicate any defensive prowess and is coparable in blocked shots with his counterparts. In terms of penalty minutes, he has far fewer, which is more Lady Byng than Selke, but it does keep him on the ice against the other teams' best players more and keeps him available for his all-important penalty killing duties.
Make your own arguments and comparisons in the comments, or just feel free to post more of your "McClement for Selke" posters because we can't get enough of those.
Vote for Silent Jay. He'd vote for you.