The season is still too far away. And while the Blue Jays are providing a pleasant distraction, I find myself going over advanced stats far too much for my liking. But the void has to be filled. And so in my reading I begun looking at the Swedish men who dominate the minds and hearts of grown men in a Nordic country and the little Nordic fiefdom that is called Vancouver. The Sedins are entering the twilight of their careers and still find themselves on the top line of the Canucks. How can this be? Witchcraft should be the first answer that comes to your mind, but it really is a combination of things. Henrik and Daniel are freaks of nature when it comes to conditioning, hockey knowledge, psychic abilities and poor drafting by the Nucks.
Having the Sedins has been a godsend which has spoiled the fans of Vancouver more than they realize. And yet having the wondertwins also creates two different scenarios that happen every year and create continuous debate on twitter and NM. First off, who should fill the role of the third Sedin and secondly, when the twins can’t score should they be split to create offence on two lines?
So I spent the little spare time I have away from a 5 year old dictator and started going through the WOWY numbers (With or Without You) for the Sedins and potential linemates to try and determine the answers to the two questions above.
Let’s answer the second question first. The Sedins cannot be split apart. Actually let me rephrase this, Daniel does not play as well when Henrik has been ripped apart from him. Henrik doesn’t seem to mind.
As the chart above shows, between 2011-15 when the situation is 5vs5 Daniel’s GF/60 is far less away from Henrik than with him (With Hank 2.61 vs without 1.83). Henrik on the other hand, when separated from his bro seems to take charge and make those around him better. (2.61 with Daniel and 3.38 GF/60 away from him)
As seen below last year was no different for the Sedins. While their time apart was hardly noticeable, the statistics stick out like Hansen singing karaoke. (Dogs cringe at the high pitch) Daniel didn’t drive play and was stuck in his own end.
So the verdict is in about that debate. No matter how much it seems like a great idea to separate to highly skilled players to create offence….it just hasn’t been the case. Danny needs Hank.
As for the other question, who should be the third Sedin, there are two obvious choices and then some wild cards. Both Vrbata and Burrows spent significant time with the twins last year. The theory behind the switch from Vrbata to Burrows was done to try and spread some of the scoring to the second line. But did it really do that or just decrease the production of the Sedins? Well, let’s look at the numbers.
So let's compare Vrbata and Burrows when playing with the Sedins. For those of you that have seen these WOWY charts before, you will notice that there is a vast difference between the two players right off the bat. When Vrbata plays with either one of the twins, the GF/60 is around .40 higher than when Burrows is with either Sedin. But more importantly, the GA/60 when Vrbata is with either Sedin 5vs5, is around 1.2 lower than it is with Burrows. It also seems that both players had a higher GF/60 when away from the Sedins, but this also led to a higher GF/60 as each one's CA/60 ballooned away from the Sedins.
These charts also explain why Jannik Hansen continuously get put with the Sedins each year.When paired with either Sedin the GF/60 was the highest. I still think it's a bad idea until Hansen can start thinking about getting into the right shooting spots. Hansen's numbers with each are a little skewed as their time together is relatively low.
Besides the three mentioned above, there could be some interesting possibilities if the scoring dries up. Chris Higgins had some good numbers with the Sedins. Sven might be that person who can cycle and drift off into shooting lanes. Hell, i would love to see Bo and Virtanen get a little time with the Sedins. But in all reality Radim Vrbata was brought in to play with the Sedins and the numbers back up that he was the one that clicked with each Sedin the best.