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Vulgar Statistics: Is the Top Line Consistent?

11/28/10

I’ve seen a few comments recently that one of the reasons for the Sabres’ struggles has been the consistency of their top like of Vanek, Ennis, and Roy.  I don’t really feel as though this is accurate.  Personally I believe it’s inconsistency from the second line combined with the third line failing to chip in that’s doomed us.  Time to find out!

I took that Sabres top line and checked to see how many games they played where they tallied a point, goal, multiple goals, or multiple points.

Tyler Ennis – 25 games played, 8 games with a point (32%), 5 games with a goal (20%), 1 multi-point game, 0 multi-goal games.

Derek Roy – 25 games played, 16 games with a point (64%), 8 games with a goal (32%), 5 multi-point games, 1 multi-goal game.

Thomas Vanek – 25 games played, 13 games with a point (52%), 7 games with a goal (28%), 5 multi-point games, 2 multi-goal games.

Now obviously by themselves those stats don’t really mean anything alone.  Does tallying a point in 64% of the games you play mean your consistent?  I don’t know.  To figure that out, you need to compare to another team.  Let’s take a playoff team (because that’s what we want the Sabres to be), but not someone spectacular.  I took the New York Rangers (6th place).  Now a couple things:  The Rangers have 11 more goals than the Sabres in the same number of games.  Their top line should by significantly outpacing that of the Sabres consistency or no.  Also, I did not include Gaborik because he’s spent half the season hurt and he’s been playing with Frolov and Christensen/Stepan anyways.  The basis for being the top line is Average Time On the Ice (ATOI) because I’d rather shotgun sand than watch the Rangers to figure out who their top line is.

Brandon Dubinsky (LW) – 25 games played, 14 games with a point (56%), 9 games with a goal (36%), 5 multi-point games, 3 multi-goal games

Artem Anisimov (C) – 25 games played, 14 games with a point (56%), 6 games with a goal (24%), 3 multi-point games, 1 multi-goal game

Ryan Callahan (RW) – 24 games played, 14 games with a point (58%), 7 games with a goal (29%), 3 multi-point games, 0 multi-goal games

On a team with more goals, Dubinsky, Anisimov, and Callahan aren’t any more consistent than the Sabres top line aside from Tyler Ennis which highlights what many fans have suspected all along.  Roy and Vanek struggle at times because they have lacked a third top line talent to complete them.

The shortcomings lie on the second line which is closely resembling something the Republicans want to outlaw.  (Hey it could be an abortion OR a gay marriage!)  The Ranger’s second line of Frolov, Steppan, and Fedotenko (basis – ATOI) has 15 goals and 21 assists.  Hecht, Connolly, and Pominville have 8 goals and 16 assists.  Ladies and gentlemen, your consistency problem!

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