NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Anaheim Ducks.
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1. Shutdown line
Unlike most teams, the key difference-maker for the Anaheim Ducks isn't the scoring line, which includes center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry, but the second line.
Along with center Ryan Kesler, who was a Selke Trophy finalist as the top defensive forward in the NHL for the second consecutive season, Anaheim's second line includes speedy Andrew Cogliano, whose streak of 786 consecutive games leads active NHL players and ranks fourth in League history, and Jakob Silfverberg, one of the most underrated do-it-all players in the NHL. Together they shut down the opposition's top players while driving possession and posing a strong scoring threat.
There are modern stats that can defend each of these assertions. To choose one example, in the three seasons that Kesler has played for Anaheim, his most frequent opponents on rival Pacific Division teams include Henrik Sedin (113:52) and Daniel Sedin (112:16) of the Vancouver Canucks, Joe Pavelski (99:14) and Joe Thornton (96:04) of the San Jose Sharks, Anze Kopitar (97:31) of the Los Angeles Kings, Sean Monahan (90:07) and Johnny Gaudreau (89:19) of the Calgary Flames, and Connor McDavid (77:10) and Leon Draisaitl (71:14) of the Edmonton Oilers, according to Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com. Effectively handling tough minutes against these top opponents has helped open up the ice for the rest of Anaheim's lineup.
2. Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson
Likewise, Anaheim's advantage on defense is its second pair of Lindholm and Manson.
New shot-based metrics are an excellent way to demonstrate the advantage Lindholm and Manson provide. Over the past three seasons, the Ducks have a 3,709-3,136 advantage in shot attempts with Lindholm on the ice at 5-on-5. That works out to an SAT differential of plus-573, eighth among active NHL defensemen. Manson, who played 28 games as a rookie in 2014-15, ranks 12th (plus-495).
Placed in other terms, Anaheim's share of 5-on-5 shot attempts rose from 49.3 percent when Manson wasn't on the ice to 55.0 percent when he was. That works out to a relative SAT percentage of plus-5.7 percent, best among active NHL defensemen who have played at least 50 games during the past three seasons. Lindholm ranks fifth (plus-4.7 percent).
Video: NSH@ANA, Gm1: Lindholm strikes off a faceoff
3. Value goaltending
In the NHL salary cap era, there is a huge advantage to having solid goaltending with a below-average cap charge. With a combined average annual value of $4.3 million this season for John Gibson and Ryan Miller, that's exactly the case in Anaheim.
Gibson, 24, has an NHL career save percentage of .922, ninth among the 64 active goalies who have played at least 50 games in the League. He makes $2.3 million annually, 40th among goalies this season.
His new backup is Miller, who won the Vezina Trophy with the Buffalo Sabres in 2009-10 and played the past three seasons for the Vancouver Canucks. The 37-year-old's .915 save percentage ranks 33rd, and his average annual salary of $2 million is 41st.
The average save percentage for the other seven goalies with a cap charge of at least $2 million but less than $3 million is .912. Gibson and Miller have an average save percentage of .919.