Red Wings and consistent line combinations have never really been something that go together. And since the Wings have been shall we say inconsistent so far this season it seems like a good reason to try and rethink the lines and dig into some advanced stats.
The twelve players below (plus Bertuzzi who the computer decided to leave in the press box) were fed into the computer and the shared ice time stats for every possible line combination of those thirteen players was calculated back to the 2008 season. This formed the baseline for the analysis which was augmented by a fair bit of manual experimentation with the stats system.
All stats are taken from the 2008-2011 seasons unless specifically noted otherwise. All stats also reflect Even Strength ice time only.
Filppula – Zetterberg – Franzen
This line had barely played together until the 2011 season. They continued the success indicate by a small 2008-2010 sample. So far during the 2011 season the opposition has not scored while these three skaters where on the ice. No sense in messing with this line.
|1 Hour, 44 Minutes, 19 Seconds||Goals||Assists|
Cleary – Helm – Eaves
Its hard to believe these three skaters have been on the ice together for less than an hour over the last 3+ seasons. And of course its too small of a sample size to infer too much from but it was a great 47 minutes with 5 goals scored and 0 allowed. This line combo also gets Cleary back to his grinding roots.
|47 MINUTES, 43 SECONDS||GOALS||ASSISTS|
Hudler – Datsyuk – Miller
This is where things start to get a bit crazy, but stay with me. Miller has been playing well lately and has arguably been the Wings most consistent forward. He is also the only skater outside of Lidstrom who hasn’t made me scream with rage lately. I really believe Datsyuk could benefit playing with a fast grinder like Miller who lately has been more Cleary like than Cleary. Hudler also plays much better with Datsyuk than without.
Since these three have essentially never played together before we will break down the stats by each pair. All three pairings have positive results. I would be very interested to see this line in action.
|3 hOURS, 42 MINUTES, 36 SECONDS||GOALS||ASSISTS|
|1 hour, 13 MINUTES, 30 SECONDS||GOALS||ASSISTS|
|1 hour, 25 MINUTES, 20 SECONDS||GOALS||ASSISTS|
Abdelkader – Emmerton - Holmstrom
Once again these three have never truly played together, so we will examine each pair separately. I really believe that Holmstrom belongs at the end of the bench during even strength situations. I am all for him getting a lot of PP time but his ES time should be used to keep his legs warm for the PP. I would even say that giving one of Helm, Eaves, Miller, or Cleary an extra shift on the 4th line would be a good idea.
|0 hours, 20 MINUTES, 39 SECONDS||GOALS||ASSISTS|
|2 HOURs, 43 MINUTES, 44 SECONDS||GOALS||ASSISTS|
|0 hours, 34 MINUTES, 16 SECONDS||GOALS||ASSISTS|