An Advanced Look: Evaluating the Blackhawks’ Defense

By Melissa Peterson
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Feb 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) skates with the puck during the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Player Breakdown

I thought it might be helpful to look at the defense on a more individualized level to try and identify issues. I focused on the top four because they had played both full seasons with the Blackhawks and had a significant amount of usage throughout the seasons (All players below have played at least 59 of the 60 games this season at at least 17 minutes on the ice per game at even strength; Michal Rozsival played 48 games at 14.7 minutes per game).

Charts courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 23 February 2015

Charts courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 23 February 2015

Charts courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 23 February 2015

Charts courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 23 February 2015

What you can tell from these charts is that everyone’s numbers appear to be down. What needs to be taken into consideration when looking at these charts between the two seasons, however, is how usage has shifted for these four players (See chart below). The entire team’s  5-on-5 Offensive Zone start percentage shifted from 55.4% in 2013/14 to 54.7% in 2014/15. In other words, each player’s starts would be effected by that shift to an extent. Overall, out of all starts, 0.7% more of them would begin in the defensive zone.

As players shift further into the defensive zone, they face more shots against. Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson have shifted towards having more defensive zone starts than offensive zone starts, which would increase their overall shots against.

But how can we tell based on shifting usage whose performing about as expected? The largest shift in overall usage on 5-on-5 play has been Seabrook (approximately -4% shift from OZ), which is reflected in his being the largest increase in shots against rate. Johnny Oduya, on the contrary, is looking at about a +3% shift towards OZ starts. Oduya’s shift into more Offensive Zone starts should lower the amount of shots he faces. His numbers exhibit minimal change in overall shot rate against (although it is still increased) when compared with the other three, but the effects of said shift in deployment into more sheltered use could be preventing the numbers from being worse than what they appear. Hjalmarsson and Keith see much less severe deployment changes.

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 23 February 2015


  • Corsi: For those that are unsure of what Corsi even is, it is measured as Corsi For and Corsi Against (CA). Corsi is the total number of on-ice shot attempts (on goal, missed, or blocked) taken during a game/series/season. Corsi For is the amount of the total Corsi taken by one team or player on said team. Corsi Against is the amount of the total Corsi taken against one team or player on said team.
  • CA% : Corsi Against Percentage (of total) What this means is they’ve totaled up the Corsi Events that took place for both teams, and divided the individual team’s total by that number and multiplied it by 100 to get a percentage.
  • CP60 : Corsi Per 60. What this means is they’ve totaled up the Corsi events that took place for both teams and divided it by 60 to get an average Corsi Events per 60 minutes.
  • G+/- : Goal Differential. The total number of Goals For (GF) minus the total number of Goals Against (GA). If it is a positive number, the team is outscoring their opponents.
  • FO%: The percentage of Face-offs won.
  • OFOn%: On-Ice Unblocked Shot Attempts on Goal
  • OSh%: On-Ice Shooting percentage
  • OSv%: On-Ice Save percentage
  • PDO: On-Ice Save percentage + On-Ice Shooting percentage
  • ZSO%: The amount of Offensive Zone starts. The larger the number, the more often a team starts (with a Face-off) in their Offensive Zone


Stats and charts courtesy of

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