Is Lecavalier proving to be a hindrance to his linemates?

Image c/o Amy Irvin

When the Philadelphia Flyers signed Vincent Lecavalier to a five year, $4.5 million per year (cap hit) contract, after Tampa Bay exercised one of their two compliance buyouts, most Flyers fans were ecstatic. I initially didn’t really understand the acquisition, but felt that the contract was good value (especially considering some of the comparable free agent deals from this past summer). However, 47 games into the season, I can’t help but wonder if Lecavalier is shaping up to be a disappointment.

He’s already dealt with a pretty serious injury, and since his return has a measly four points in eleven games. Point totals aside, I couldn’t help but notice he seemed to grind Sean Couturier and Matt Read to a screeching halt after being placed on their line.

Couturier, Read, and Downie were a downright dominant line for weeks. Couturier and Read in particular were incredibly impressive. However, once they became saddled with Lecavalier their play declined. As it turns out, they aren’t alone.

Many people may not be aware but player performance is tracked down to the finest of details. We can now easily take a look at a specific player and see who they play well with and who they don’t. This is tracked based on the amount of ice time those players spend together.

The statistic is commonly referred to as WOWY, or with or without you (I actually was not aware of that common name until recently). Let’s take a quick look at Lecavalier’s WOWY. I eliminated anyone that didn’t have at least 20 minutes of ice time with Lecavalier on the season. Disclaimer: this is very small sample size.

The two statistics I compared for players with and without Lecavalier are:

Goals For Percentage - the percentage of goals scored while the player is on the ice at even strength.

Corsi For Percentage - the percentage of shot attempts while the player is on the ice at even strength.

Using Brayden Schenn from the first line below as an example, you’ll see that when he is not with Lecavalier 53.3% of the goals scored while he is on the ice are in his favor. Also 50.4% of the shot attempts are also in his favor. If we compare that to when he has played with Lecavalier his GF% slightly increases to 53.8% and his CF% decreases to 44.7%.


Literally every…single…player performs worse with Lecavalier with respect to shot attempts. Every single one. Let that sink in.

Four of the eighteen teammates perform better with respect to goals for; but if we look a little closer you’ll see Brayden Schenn’s is actually almost a wash, and Voracek’s is sitting at 100% so that’s the result of the incredibly small sample size.

I can’t reiterate enough that these are very small samples. For example, Zac Rinaldo has only played just over 23 minutes of time with Lecavalier on the season. Brayden Schenn has spent the most time at over 165 minutes.We could revisit this again in a month and it could pull a complete 180; however, it’s hard to ignore all of those red boxes. Every single player performs worse from a shot attempts perspective. Are they failing to generate shots with Lecavalier or is it that they are giving up far more? I’d be inclined to think it’s the latter considering Vinny is known for his offensive abilities. Perhaps it’s something to watch for.

  • Curt Wood

    Maybe it is the guys expecting him to do more and feeding him and him not scoring? Chemistry may take longer, especially with his injury etc.

    • Stephanie

      Agreed. Give the guy a break. Remember at the beginning of the season before the injury how he was one of the only players scoring?

    • Kevin Christmann

      It definitely was a pretty significant injury. Also I think he’s better playing center. As someone asked on Twitter, I’d be curious to see the splits between him playing W versus C.

  • MGK

    So you’re taking a small sample size from a handful of games during a time where one player is clearly in a slump and trying to prove what…that said player brings his linemates’ shooting ability down? Is there a comparable chart for when Giroux went scoreless in the first quarter of the season?

    • Kevin Christmann

      I readily acknowledge that this is a small sample size, but I’m not taking it from when he’s “in a slump”. This is the entire season. I didn’t just look at it since he returned from his pretty serious injury. It also includes his pretty decent start.

      The small sample size does not render this statistically significant at all.

      With that said, it’s hard to ignore that we are halfway through the season and everyone performs worse with him.

      Here is Giroux (also for this entire season). My own chart doesn’t format well when I pasted it into this comment but 10 of the 17 perform better with him. Here is the link with a lot more data included.

    • Collin Mehalick

      Not a slump. WOWY from Tampa ’12-’13 shows he brought most frequent teammates/linemates down as well.