Last season vs this season: 18-game edition

We're taking a break from the game day posts while the team is on the East Division trip. The game day posts will return next week. Here's the first of a periodic feature that we will be doing this season.

After the last game vs Saskatoon, the TBirds had played 18 games or 1/4 of the season. A good opportunity to compare this season to the same point of last season. So let’s take a look at some numbers.

Overall record:
2013-14 11-5-0-2 24pts (6 OT/SO games)
2014-15 8-7-2-1 19pts (7 OT/SO games)

Last season in the first 18 games, the TBirds had a 5 game win streak. That helped get them to the 11 wins. This season, Seattle has yet to win more than 2 games in a row.
Last season had 7 1-goal games in the first 18, this season has had 9.

Home and away record:
2013-14 Away 5-4-0-1 Home 6-1-0-1
2014-15 Away 5-3-1-0 Home 3-4-1-1

Seattle just isn’t dominating at home like it did at this point last season. It took 6 games this season before the TBirds won a game at home.
TBirds have as many road points as last season in one fewer road game. Being able to win on the road should come in handy come playoff time

vs the US Division
2013-14 3-4-0-1
2014-15 5-3-0-2

A little more success against the US Division so far this season. Tough to compare seasons because of the distribution of games. Winning 50% of games against the division, as they have done so far, should be the minimum expectation for the team this season.

Average goals per game:
(does not include 1 goal given to shootout winning team)
2013-14 Opponent 3.39 Seattle 3.5
2014-15 Opponent 2.61 Seattle 2.5

No Kozun to start the season last year. Given how many starts he has so far this season, and his low GAA, he is probably contributing a lot to the .78 decrease in goals per game.
Shea Theodore returned in game #3 last season but has yet to play a game for Seattle this season. He may be part of the reason for the 1 fewer goal per game.

Average shots on goal:
(does not include 1 shot on goal given to shootout winning team)
2013-14 Opponent 36.6 Seattle 34.6
2014-15 Opponent 29.6 Seattle 28.3

It would appear that the defense has clamped down a bit, dropping opponents shots on goal by an average of 7 per game. Unfortunately, that has also come with an almost equal amount of drop in shots for Seattle.
Even though they have closed the gap between the teams in shots on goal compared to last season, the difference between goals for and against has grown. Not a good sign.

Special teams:
2013-14 PP 12/72 16.7% PK 72/90 80.0%
2014-15 PP 12/75 18.0% PK 60/72 83.3%

Power plays against are way down this season (1 less power play per game) and they are doing a better job of killing them off.
Power plays for are pretty much on par with last season, scoring the same amount of goals in 3 fewer chances.

Leading scorers:
2013-14

  1. F Mathew Barzal 3G 17A 20P
  2. D Shea Theodore 7G 11A 18P
  3. F Roberts Lipsbergs 11G 5A 16P
  4. F Alexander Delnov 7G 8A 15P
  5. F Seth Swenson 8G 6A 14P
  6. F Justin Hickman 4G 9A 13P
  7. F Branden Troock 4G 8A 12P
  8. F Riley Sheen 3G 5A 8P
  9. F Erik Benoit 3G 5A 8P
  10. D Adam Henry 1G 6A 7P

2014-15

  1. F Mathew Barzal 7G 11A 18P
  2. F Ryan Gropp 9G 7A 16P
  3. F Justin Hickman 5G 9A 14P
  4. F Scott Eansor 3G 8A 11P
  5. D Jerret Smith 1G 9A 10P
  6. F Keegan Kolesar 5G 4A 9P
  7. D Ethan Bear 2G 4A 6P
  8. F Alexander True 4G 1A 5P
  9. F Lane Pederson 3G 2A 5P
  10. D Jared Hauf 1G 4A 5P

As we can see, the top-10’s bear out the drop in goal scoring. 7 of the top 10 of last season had 10+ points where only 5 this season do.
4 of last season’s top-10 scorers had more than 5 goals in the first 18 games. This season only 1 player has scored more than 5.
7 of last season’s top-10 scorers in the first 18 games are no longer with the team.
The defense has picked up their scoring in Theodore’s absence. Smith is on pace to doubling his career high in points. if that trend continues and Theodore contributes his point per game average, will end up being a very potent defense group.
(In case someone is thinking scoring is down because of assists, the numbers don’t really show that. This season there have been 17 goals with 1 or fewer assists while last season had 15 such goals. This season has had 2 unassisted goals while last season had 4. So the drop in overall points is not because of fewer assists being given out.)

That’s our look at the 1/4 season mark between this season and last. Game #36 this season will be on 12/30 vs Everett so, around the start of 2015, we’ll take a look at the 1/2 season comparisons then.