The Detroit Red Wings have been unproductive at 5 on 5.
This isn’t new information, it’s something that has plagued them for a while now. Their 2.25 goals for per 60 minutes is the ninth-worst mark in the NHL.
In years past, their struggles could be attributed to offensive playmakers, like Andreas Athanasiou, receiving just 11 minutes of 5 on 5 ice time per game. Athanasiou led the team in goals per 60 minutes last season with 1.28 and was sixth in points per 60 at 1.96.
This season, Athanasiou is receiving nearly 12:30 per game this season at 5 on 5. Anthony Mantha (14:04) and Dylan Larkin (13:52) also are receiving more ice time at 5 on 5 this season, which no doubt has resulted in the Red Wings scoring slightly higher at 5 on 5 compared to last season (2.19).
How productive have the Red Wings been with their time on ice this season? Let’s look at the forwards first.
As you can see in the chart by Sean Tierney, the usual suspects of Athanasiou and Mantha are in the productive quadrant, meaning they are using their ice time effectively. Athanasiou accounts for 26.27 percent of his team’s 5 on 5 play, and Mantha accounts for nearly 30 percent. Keep in mind, the chart only has 23 games worth of data for the majority of players.
Not on the chart is Larkin, who is registering 2.37 points per 60 minutes and accounting for 29.94 percent of his team’s ice time, according to Corsica, which puts him right next to Mantha.
I was surprised to see Justin Abdelkader in the productive quadrant, but the 30-year-old is having quite a productive season, with 17 points in 23 games, 10 of those points coming at 5 on 5.
With the season Tomas Tatar has had thus far, I’m not surprised to see him in the overused quadrant. Tatar has just 11 points in 24 games (six of which came at 5 on 5), putting him on pace for his lowest career point total at about 38.
Gustav Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg are around the league average of 1.58 points per 60, right between productive and overused. Again, not surprising, considering Zetterberg isn’t on the torrid pace he was last season (he has 15 points in 24 games, including 10 points at 5 on 5), and Nyquist has 11 points in 24 games, but Nyquist has been slightly better than Tatar at 5 on 5, recording nine points.
The unmarked player on the chart is Frans Nielsen, who is recording just 0.9 points per 60 this season, a far cry from his 1.45 last season.
Another good sign for the Red Wings is seeing Martin Frk straddling the line between underused and unproductive. He has 1.6 points per 60 and has shown some value in the 18 games he has played.
Now, for the defensemen.
I’m not at all surprised to see most of the Red Wings defensemen clustered in or around the overused quadrant. Mike Green leads the defensemen with 17 points (six 5 on 5 points), followed by Nick Jensen’s six points (four at 5 on 5).
Trevor Daley, the summer’s free-agent signing, has just one 5 on 5 point in 23 games. An argument could be made for Jensen to get some of Daley or Niklas Kronwall’s ice time. He won’t dramatically improve the lack of offense, but Jensen has shown he can contribute at 5 on 5 this season, and his possession numbers this season are second among Red Wings defensemen (51.56).
The Red Wings defensemen have just 20 points at 5 on 5. For perspective, the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg has 11 5 on 5 points.
There are a few surprises that show who is producing at 5 on 5 this season, but ultimately, the trio of Larkin, Mantha and Athanasiou are leading the way.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick unless otherwise noted.