What’s up with Marco Scandella pt 2 – Defensive Pairings

Earlier in the week, I looked at Marco Scandella’s underlying stats. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to go check it out! It lays down a foundation of where Scandella is, and leads into the discussion today of who he’s playing with.

Today, I wanted to dive deeper into some analysis of Scandella when paired with other players on the Wild blue line. I haven’t done a lot of this type of analysis, and I’m also using Corsica’s ‘Pairing’ feature to begin, so bear with me if I’m sort of feeling my way through this post. First off, let’s look at pairings over Scandella’s whole career. Here’s who he has been paired with most frequently:

  • Jared Spurgeon: 1,687′
  • Matt Dumba: 886′
  • Nate Prosser: 865′
  • Jonas Brodin: 811′
  • Christian Folin: 395′
  • Ryan Suter: 212′

Nick Schultz, Brent Burns (yep!), Jonathan Blum, Justin Falk, Tom Gilbert, and Cam Barker all skated with Scandella for 125 minutes or less, and are excluded from this analysis.

The above chart shows expected goals for and against for each combo, along with Corsi%. The first thing to notice (which I mentioned in the earlier post,) is that Scandella is not over 50% corsi with any D partner–he’s closest with Spurgeon, 49.6%, and around 45-46% with most others. I’d bet that the Spurgeon numbers are heavily driven by Jared, who is simply a beast…and the rest of them are just…yuck. In terms of xGF and xGA, Scandella/Suter have a wide disparity, but recall that there’s just about 120 minutes over the last seven years there. Scandella/Spurgeon have a very slight edge in goals scored (0.08 goals per sixty, so basically no difference,) while Scandella/Brodin have a noticeable edge in preventing goals. Scandella/Dumba have a fairly pronounced tendency to allow more goals, which is troubling considering how many minutes they play together, and also they are the third pair under Coach Boudreau. Taken together, this data suggests that there isn’t really a pairing where Scandella has thrived–his numbers are the best with Spurgeon, but again…I think that’s driven by #46 moreso than #6.

Now, let’s examine the Scandella/Dumba pair, which is the most common third pair this year. Here’s the same chart as above, but only for these two, and shows their production over time. Real quick, these two skated 136′ in 14-15, 420′ in 15-16 (nice), and 331′ so far in 16-17.

These two had a great year in 14-15, but I really think it’s a factor of sample size, with just 130 minutes and change. For the last two years, their CF% has been around 45%, which is just no bueno. There was a pretty wide gap in their expected goals in 15-16, which has shrunk a bit in 16-17, but the trend is still not great.

Finally, a quick look at Scandella’s WOWY numbers. This type of analysis has a lot of data points, so it’s tough to put on a chart, so this table will have to suffice–click through to enlarge the image.

Looking specifically at Scandella/Dumba, they do not appear to have significantly different corsi production when apart from each other, about 46-47%. One thing we do see is that their GF/GA numbers are stark, but that’s a factor of the team showing a great goal differential this year. It can be confusing to show expected goals and actual goals in the same post, so I hope that’s not misleading, but the data comes from different sites. It’s interesting to note that Scandella/Brodin have about a 55% corsi percentage together, and separately they both have sub-50%, but again, that’s probably a product of sample size, just 85 minutes together this year.

Ultimately, there’s not a lot of optimism coming from these underlying numbers. At 27, this is probably who Scandella is as a player, and at $4 million AAV, he’s likely to be exposed to the expansion draft, but there’s no guarantee that Vegas will take him. So, we’re left hoping he gets his groove back or continues to develop. With Suter, Spurgeon, and Dumba looking like core components of the Wild blue line, Scandella may end up as an expensive role player on the third pair. Which is too bad, because I still like him…and I sure hope he breaks out of this funk he’s been in over the last two years.