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St. Louis Blues Players Mid-Season Review

NHL: Florida Panthers at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

By-week for the St. Louis Blues just happened around the mid-season point. This is good, because we can take a quick snapshot of what the Blues’ players’ performance looks like right now at the half-way point.

I have embedded a fancy looking dataviz at the bottom of the article provides a variety of stats and comparisons for each of the Blues’ players that have played at least 10 games this season.

Let’s review how to use this tool real quick before we get into the evaluations. All the data for this is 5v5 and comes from Natural Stat Trick. First, you can choose one of the Blues’ players from a drop down in the upper left corner. The next row down you see the player’s summary stats for the season to date (std). Next is the player’s usage using Rob Vollman’s Player Usage Chart. The usage is plotted on two axis. The bottom is the % of offensive zone starts. The side is the player’s quality of competition based on his on-ice opponent’s relative corsi for%. From left to right you have the numbers for the player, then where he sits on the chart highlighted in blue, and then a standardized description created by Vollman based on the player’s usage stats and other metrics.

Underneath the usage Is a series of bar charts and sparkline charts that are used to compare a player’s stat against the average of the players with similar player usage. The player usage averages are shown as a thin black line. The bars are shaded based on the corresponding relative stat. Where no relative stat exists, it is shaded based on the how far they are above or below the team average for that stat. The sparkline trends shows the players stat for each game as a bar, while the line is a season-to-date (std) stat.

Vladimir Tarasenko

Makes sense to start with Tarasenko since he has been the source of so much consternation amongst Blues fans the past few days. Tarasenko seems to be in a slump of sorts, and he while he was in the voting for Central Division Captain for the All-Star game, he was overlooked by the selection committee to actually play in the game. For all the talk about him being in a slump, Tarasenko is still out performing his peers in terms of primary points per 60. However, the slump is somewhat apparent when you look at the blue trend line for his primary points per 60 (std). It dips down starting about 15 games back, reached its lowest point after the Nashville game and has started to rebound. In terms of shot attempts, Tarasenko’s corsi rates slightly above peer average for corsi for per 60 (good) and corsi against per 60 (bad). He is also not performing as well as his teammates in the corsi against per 60 either. That being said, his goal rates are both stellar especially when compared against both his peers and his teammates (relative). And he is generating individual shots at a well above average rate, while his shooting % is average. So yes he is in the slump. Is it horrible? No. Will he rebound? Looks like he is already starting to rebound. All he needs to do is tighten up his defense and otherwise keep doing what he has been doing and the goals will start flowing again.

Vladimir Sobotka

To say Sobotka has been disappointing Blues fans this season would be an understatement. I even got into the act when they were in DC. Anyone within a 20 seat radius could hear me yelling at Sobotka throughout the game. But is he really deserving of this scorn? Pretty much. His primary point production is anemic compared to his peers and teammates. His shot attempt metrics are below his peers’ average and are just average for the team. When he is on the ice, the Blues see more goals against than goals for. His underlying metrics are in support of the Blues’ fans’ eye test. Sobotka has been less than stellar so far this season.

Paul Stastny

Stastny’s play of late has also gotten the attention of fans, but not in a good way. Stastny’s point production is average and his shot attempt metrics are looking good. But the goal scoring is a problem. He is below his peers in the rate of goals for and above his peer’s average in goal against per 60. His goals against rate is also bad relative to his teammates. His shot rate is low but his shooting percentage is above average for his peers. He had some good goals early on. Probably inflated a lot of fans’ expectations, but he has since been playing pretty much how we would expect. Except for the goals against. He has to improve his defensive play, and it probably will improve as long as the possession metrics stay where they are.

Patrik Berglund

One last write up and then I will leave you on your own to play with the dataviz and post your analysis in the comments below. Patrik Berglund is the perennial whipping boy for Blues’ fans. Even when he is playing well, it still is not good enough for some fans. There is a lot of orange bars in Berglund’s charts which means he is not playing as well as his teammates. And while his shot attempt numbers are decent, his goals against is abysmal. He is way above average of his peers and is an ugly shade of orange. His shooting percentage is unsustainable while he is making individual shots at a rate just below his peers. His only redeeming stat on this chart is his primary points per 60. However, his below 50% goals for washes out any potential upside of his point generation.

Play around with the viz, let me know what you think. I look forward to reading your comments and your own analysis about these or other players on the team.