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How Has Chicago Blackhawks’ Player TOI Shifted from Regular Season to Playoffs

By Melissa Peterson
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So how does the regular season then compare with the first series against the Nashville Predators?

Chart compiled by melissa peterson

We start to see a little more diversification of time amongst forwards, but not so for defensemen. If this current series, though only two games in at this point, is any indication, it isn’t coming any time soon (pending special circumstances) either.

Chart compiled by melissa peterson

The most concerning part about a lack of diversification in time usage is the possibility of injury or suspension. With the diversification of forwards slowly taking place this post-season (as evidenced by the non-injury based swaps of Teravainen and Versteeg as well as Nordstrom and Desjardins), it’s shown that forward injuries don’t have to be quite as devastating to the team as they could be, although it is fair to note that none of the players swapped out are players filling in for the likes of Patrick Kane, but still.

Head coach Joel Quenneville‘s continuing to “blender” the lines also speaks to this point, even if it’s incredibly frustrating. Switching up the lines allows players to play different amounts of times as well as with a variety of players, which could help minimize the effect of injury if lines had to change.

The same “swap-o-rama” is being done with the defensemen pairings, but without the time shifting from one player to another. This allows for the defensive pairings to be tailored to different circumstances, but does not offer the same protection in terms of minimizing the effects of injury or suspension. When it comes to the defensemen, it does beg the question of just how long Duncan Keith can keep up with taking on 40-45% of the total time-on-ice for Chicago after a season of doing it and the possibility of OT that looms in Chicago’s playoff future.

Sources

Stats and charts courtesy of war-on-ice.com

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