Vancouver Canucks Season Player Evaluation: Luca Sbisa

Nov 25, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa (5) passes in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa (5) passes in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Luca Sbisa 2015-16 Synopsis /

Luca Sbisa: The Advanced Analytics

What do the numbers guys tell us about Sbisa?

Impact on Primary Linemates

A player’s impact on linemates is shown through WOWY (With Or Without You), courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com. WOWY can show what kind of impact a player has on his teammate by comparing the teammate’s performance with or without the player in consideration.

Doing the WOWY analysis of Luca Sbisa shows that Ben Hutton and Matt Bartkowski were the two primary D-pairing for Sbisa. Be ready to be pleasantly surprised.

Ben Hutton TOI GF/60 GA/60 Goals For % Corsi For %
With Sbisa 246:06 2.44 2.19 52.6 41.5
Without Sbisa 928.53 1.36 2.20 38.2 50.06

Ben Hutton, Sbisa’s primary linemate, fared extremely well with Sbisa. Although Hutton’s possession stats took a major blow when playing with Sbisa, everything else about Sbisa seems to have allowed Hutton to play with confidence. While the defending did not benefit, the scoring certainly did.

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The Goals For per 60 column saw a dramatic increase. For every three games Willie Desjardins play Sbisa with Hutton, the coach pretty much got one more goal for than he would have had he not played Sbisa with Hutton.

So what does this say about the effect of Sbisa on Hutton? Sbisa’s physicality allows Hutton to make better plays with the puck out of the zone. After all, if you play with Luca Sbisa, you are going to be the person passing or skating the puck out of the defensive zone about 80 percent of the time.

And when that person is named Ben Hutton, the offense is going to be pretty happy with the break out. Sure, Sbisa gets roughed around, but just as Brandon Prust and Derek Dorsett made the NHL a “safe playing environment” for a guy like Jared McCann, I am sure that Sbisa made Hutton’s life easier.

M. Bartkowski TOI GF/60 GA/60 Goals For % Corsi For %
With Sbisa 160:40 2.61 1.87 58.3 44.81
Without Sbisa 1152:29 1.67 2.81 37.2 46.5

The Sbisa-Bartkowski pairing was the Canucks’ most physical pairing this year. Though Bartkowski had the skating that Sbisa did not, Bartkowski did not have the defensive acumen that Hutton did. This showed when Sbisa came and played with the two of them.

Similar to the effect that Sbisa had on Hutton, Sbisa’s effect on Bartkowski is one of greater goals for. Again, a Bartkowski with Sbisa meant that nearly 20 percent more of all goals were going in for the Canucks than when Bartkowski was not with Sbisa.

However, a Bartkowski-Sbisa pairing proved to be a defensive failure as the pairing saw their Goals Against per 60 column shoot up when Sbisa came to Bartkowski’s side.

Bartkowski simply did not have the ability that Hutton did that took advantage of the puck on his stick. Bartkowski could not handle the puck that Sbisa had dished off to him, unlike Hutton who quickly transitioned the play up the ice.

So what did Sbisa do? He was the catalyst to everything on the ice. More goals went in for the Canucks when his partner was capable of playing with the puck. A great trait to have as a top-six defenseman and not a top-pairing guy who needs to dominate the play by himself.

Next: The Verdict: What's for Next Season?