The first post (here) dealt with the negative aspects of the Souray signing. This post will deal with the obvious aspects of the signing. This will mean, mostly, that this post will be about stats.
Btw, I won't be getting fancy here. The stats I am using come from established sources. I will only be providing some analysis.
2006/07 ... +/- of -28
TOI . 1,878 min .. 23.11 /gm . 4.52 PP . 3.01 SH . 15.58 EV
.... NHL rank ....... 40 ....... 48 ..... 141
PTS ... 81 gms ... 224 sht ... 11.6% ... 26 g / 38 a / 64 p
.. 3rd highest point score for dmen
.. PP ....... 19 g (2) .. 29 a (9) . 48 (5) - of all NHL
.. EV/SH ..... 7 g ....... 9 a ..... 16 - not worth it
-1.51 = EV +/- On Ice
-0.23 = EV +/- Off Ice
-1.28 = EV +/- Overall (#619 of 676 / 0 pt. at rank 319)
+8.20 = PP +/- (#9 of 428)
-3.10 = SH +/- (#66 of 395) - note Pisani #64 / Markov #61
+0.016 = Quality of Comp. (#299 of 676 / 0 pt. at 400)
-0.100 = Quality of Team. (#505 of 676 / 0 pt. at 338)
2005/06 ... +/- of -11
TOI . 1,669 min .. 22.14 /gm . 4.23 PP . 3.34 SH . 14.57 EV
.... NHL rank ....... 57 ...... 147 ..... 131
PTS ... 75 gms ... 202 sht ... 5.9% ... 12 g / 27 a / 39 p
.. 31st highest point score for dmen
.. PP ......... 7 g (132) . 14 a (120) . 21 (133) - all NHL
.. EV/SH ...... 5 g ....... 13 a ....... 18 - not worth it
The raw counting numbers presented are drawn from NHL.com while the EV work is, obviously, from The Great Desjardins! site. I wish I could add the 2005/06 Desjardin numbers to this work but c'est la vie.
Note that I added raw, and very rudimentary, ranking numbers in some categories. A more serious review would run the basic median and mean numbers as well as do some more stats work but the raw rankings provide most of the context I wanted so I stuck with that.
Souray plays a lot of minutes. A quick review of the TOI stats from the NHL reveal that the kinds of minutes he plays aren't remarkable for anyone considered a top-pairing d-man. Most of guys in the top-60 have multiple minutes played PP and PK.
The only conclusions that I can draw from this information is that he is capable of playing a lot of minutes and that he isn't a specialist. How effectively he plays those minutes is what will matter.
In 2005/06 Souray was a pretty decent PP performer. In 2006/07 he became a god. 3 of the members of his PP unit place in the top-10 PP +/- spots using Desjardins numbers while 2 of them are top-10 in PP scoring (the counting numbers).
Note that from year-to-year he only gained 30 seconds in PP icetime per game. An extra 30 seconds doesn't explain the incredible jump in performance. His numbers more than doubled year-to-year.
Even if one assumes all other hypothetical factors:
-- he was healthier than ever before
-- he finally 'really-figured-it-out' as a player
-- the team fed the PP offense entirely through him
-- the PP unit had incredible player chemistry
come into play - it still remains an outlier of a season. His numbers were just that good. Gonchar also scored 48 pts on the PP but he played an extra 2.30 a game on the PP (an increase of 50%)... and he played with Sydney Crosby.
The only conclusions that I can draw from this information is that it is an outlier year and that if Montreal fed the offense through Souray then so should the Oilers. One doesn't f*&k up perfection. How skewed the outlier is, is what will matter.
Per the NHL numbers we know that Souray is pretty consistent year-to-year in regards to his time spent playing short-handed. he can handle 3+ minutes a game without issue.
Per the Desjardins numbers we find that he is also a fairly efficient PK performer. Coming in at the #66 spot, close to players as well-regarded as Pisani and Markov, is no mean feat.
The only conclusions I can draw from this information is that Souray is a good PK performer and that it is probably the most consistent part of his game. How important his PK partner was is what will matter.
Souray's EV time played is consistent and significant. First thing to note is that at 15+ minutes a night at EV he isn't producing the points he should be. His rankings were so far down, even when adjusted to look for d-men only, that they weren't worth ranking.
So then, if he isn't scoring he should be preventing. Big EV minutes like that can't be hidden very easily. Normally those kinds of minutes are reserved for rookies and for players who just aren't that good. Souray wasn't playing all butter minutes.
Lo and behold his Quality of Competition number bolsters that arguement. His Desjardins number may not be great, but it isn't a disaster either - he was playing some decent opposition. Even if the standard deviation spreads are wide he will be nearer the good than the bad.
Odds are good that if I sifted through his shift charts I would find that he played 25-35% of his time against solid-to-good opposition.
That is what makes his EV +/- so interesting. He was getting killed out there.
I can't provide an absolute answer but the Quality of Teammate number does provide a clue: he just wasn't playing with anyone that good at EV play.
Souray played most of his minutes with Rivet, Ryder, Koivu and Kovalev. A murderer's row of EV +/- if there ever was one. The only guy on that list that even aspires to be decent defensively is Rivet and thinking he alone can power that boat is insane.
Assuming that Rivet was meant to be the defensive anchor (in the good sense) for Souray makes sense if the forwards are also, even somewhat, defensively sound. But that isn't the case here. Since Souray alone can't have sunk that line it must have been a collective effort.
And it appears it was. Every member of that Fab-5 sucked at EV play last year. Just liked they should have. Note these words: Carbonneau should have known better. Souray just isn't good enough at EV outscoring to help an offense-only line.
His EV scoring numbers do not justify the ice-time he was getting with those players and all-together those players cannot justify the ice-time they were getting against semi-solid competition. Can't blame it all on Carbonneau however, his top-line isn't good enough to go power-vs-power and he doesn't have the 3rd line stoppers that can allow his best to play the other guy's worst.
The only conclusions that I can draw from this information is that Souray is mis-cast per his PP results and is getting EV minutes he shouldn't be. How he gets his time allotted in the EV role is what will matter.
From what I have looked at Souray should be playing:
-- 1st unit PP for some 4.5 to 6.0 mins a game,
-- 2nd unit PK for some 3.0 to 4.0 mins a game, and
-- 2nd or 3rd pair EV for some 9.5 - 12.0 mins a game
-- 19.0 to 20.0 mins a game overall
His stats seem to support the anecdotal/observational evidence about him:
-- first: that he isn't that fast, not a great lateral step, doesn't have great puck control and isn't a great passer - i.e. not a great transition game guy
-- second: that he is good to great when he isn't required to have those qualities - i.e. put him in a 'set-up' situation and he is good to go
It explains why he is good on the PP (set-up the big shot) and why he is good on the PK (set-up to protect the crease) and why he can get his ass handed to him at EV.
The biggest mistake to be made here is to think that his PP effectiveness can carry forward to his EV effectiveness - this mistake should not be made by the Oilers.
Or by himself.
Remember Peca? When he embraced the 3rd line shut-down role he was GOLD. When he tried to play 2nd line point producer he took his whole line down with him.
Just because Souray is paid 1st pair dollars it doesn't mean he is a 1st pair defender. The sooner he, and the team, recognize that the better off we all shall be.
I hope this has been informative. For better or worse.
Have a great evening everyone.