While many Flyers fans are quite pleased with the Flyers’ offseason so far, one area where I am most excited to see some probable improvement is in the faceoff department. With the re-signing of fourth line center candidate Adam Hall, and the signing of Vincent Lecavalier, the Flyers add some capable centerman to a young group.
The Flyers finished 23rd in the league in faceoffs as a team in 2012-2013. Claude Giroux was their only reliable drawman which resulted in him taking a league leading 1182 faceoffs. The next closest Flyer was Sean Couturier at 553 attempts. While Giroux was a more than respectable 54.5% on the season, the rest of the team can’t make the same claim.
The only other centerman that took enough draws to qualify for the league leaders in the category were Couturier and Brayden Schenn. Unfortunately, they only won at a clip of 43.9% and 45.5% respectively. Max Talbot, who is not a natural centerman, was the Flyers second best faceoff man at 47.9%. Adam Hall, was a welcomed addition toward the end of the year and ended up winning 59% of his faceoffs with the Flyers, and 56.2% on the season, albeit only over 251 attempts. Needless to say, it wasn’t a very strong bunch in 2012-2013.
Now, it’s questionable as to how much faceoffs directly impact the game. I tend to think it’s an important facet of hockey and having multiple centers capable of winning a key faceoff is a luxury. Not to mention that, in theory, winning faceoffs means you are more likely to win the puck possession game.
If you simply look for any correlation between the league leaders in faceoffs and the league’s best teams…you won’t find one.
Here we have the top ten faceoff teams in 2012-2013 as compared to their place in the standings.
And here we have the top ten teams in the standings as well as their faceoff percentage ranking.
For kicks, I was curious if faceoffs might mean a little more in the playoffs when matchups can make or break a team. Chicago actually was the third worst faceoff team in the playoffs.
While the tangible advantages of being a good faceoff team might not be obvious when taking a surface-level look, it can’t hurt to improve the team in that area. The Flyers should most certainly be improved.
Adding Lecavalier’s 54.4% on draws from last season, and potentially an entire season of Hall, should markedly improve a Flyers team that had only one reliable faceoff man. Not to mention that both Couturier and Schenn (if he even plays center), should continue to improve as they gain experience.