A Statistical Look Back At The Flyers Defenseman

Kimmo Timonen was the best that the Philadelphia Flyers had on the blue line last year.With the NHL season over for the Philadelphia Flyers, we are taking a look back at the numbers for players by position. Last week we covered the forwards, which you can read here.  This week we will look at the defenseman, statistically, and see how they measured up league wide and on their own roster. With the forwards, we extrapolated the goals, assists and points to project full season statistics. The defensive unit does not put up scoring numbers like the forwards, so we will look at a different set of statistical categories to gauge the effectiveness of the blue-liners.

The stats we will feature for the defenseman are games played (GP), Goals (G), Assists (A), Points (PTS), Plus/Minus (+/-), Hits (H), Blocked Shots (BS), Minor Penalties (MP) and Time On Ice per game (TOI). Each player will also have their age, contract status and annual salary cap hit listed.

Enjoy!

Kimmo Timonen- Age 38

2012/13 Stats- GP- 45, G- 5, A- 24, Pts- 29, +/- (+3), H- 31, BS- 79, MP- 18, TOI- 21:45

Contract- Signed through 2013/14 season with a cap hit of $6,000,000

Recap- Timonen was the winner of the Barry Ashbee Award, given each season to the team’s best defenseman, and deservingly so, as he was the best defenseman on the roster this season. He led all defenseman on the team in goals, assists and points while averaging just over 28 shifts per game and 21:45 in time on ice. Timonen has noticeably lost a step over the last few years and had times where a minor penalty had to be taken as the lesser of two evils after getting beat. He was tied for 5th among NHL defenseman in Minor Penalties taken. Of the 18 penalties taken, three were for hooking, tripping and roughing, four for holding, two for interference, and two for cross checking and one holding the stick minor. Much is made of Timonen not being the player he used to be and there are some fans that are not happy with his one year extension through next year and the cap hit it brings. The fact is, Kimmo is the best defenseman on this team and would have been the best defenseman in a very weak free agent market. The classy, hardworking veteran is also good for a younger play like Luke Schenn and his development into a top three defenseman in this league.

Luke Schenn- Age 23

2012/13 Stats- GP- 47, G- 3, A- 8, Pts- 11, +/- (+3), H- 187, BS- 102, MP-12, TOI-21:51

Contract- Signed through 2015/16 season with an annual cap hit of $3,600,000

Recap- Schenn was acquired over the offseason from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward James van Reimsdyk. As injuries took their toll on the Flyers blue-line, Schenn stepped up and took on more minutes and an increase in responsibilities. He led the league in hits with 187 and was in the top 15 in the league in blocked shots. Schenn played at least 26 shifts and exceeded 21 minutes of ice time over the last 18 games of the season. As the season progressed, Schenn began to show the type of player he can be and certainly met, if not exceeded, expectations for his first season in Philadelphia.

Braydon Coburn- Age 28

2012/13 Stats- GP- 33, G- 1, A- 4, Pts- 5, +/- (-10), H- 76, BS- 61, MP- 18, TOI- 22:36

Contract- Signed through the 2015/16 season with an annual cap hit of $4,500,000

Recap- Coburn struggled until his season ended on March 28th due to a shoulder injury, causing him to miss the last 15 games. When Coburn did play, there was a lot to be desired, especially when taking his contract and cap hit into consideration. When the Flyers lost Matt Carle in free agency, it was expected that Coburn would take on an increased role and continue to progress, which did not happen this season. Coburn was tied for the team lead with Timonen with 18 Minor Penalties, but did it in twelve less games. Coburn also finished the season with plus/minus rating of -10. Coburn did play a lot of minutes and the team was hurt by his struggles. The hope is that Coburn can rebound and be a more effective player next season, or the franchise will be paying a lot of money to have a weak link exposed with 22+ minutes on the ice per game.

Nicklas Grossmann- Age 28

2012/13 Stats- GP- 30, G- 1, A- 3, Pts- 4, +/- (-1), H- 81, BS- 82, MP- 8, TOI- 18:19

Contract- Signed through the 2015/16 season with an annual cap hit of $3,500,000

Recap- Grossman did not play after March 18th after suffering a concussion. Prior to the injury, he was among the league leaders in blocked shots and despite missing 18 games, still finished second on the team behind Luke Schenn in that statistical category. Grossman’s injury is concern though all reports out now are that he is expected to be ready by the start of the season. With the Flyers lack of depth on the blue-line, Grossman’s health will be a big storyline as the summer leads to fall.

Andrej Meszaros- Age 27

2012/13 Stats- GP- 11, G- 0, A- 2, Pts- 2, +/- (-9), H- 18, BS- 24, MP- 1, TOI- 18:27

Contract- Signed through the 2013/14 season with an annual cap hit of $4,000,000

Recap- The 2010/11 Barry Ashbee Award winner has had a rough go of it for the last year and a half. At the end of last season Meszaros had back surgery, then ruptured his Achilles in the offseason, returned on time for the start of the season thanks to the lockout, injured his shoulder four games into the season, missed six weeks, returned for a two and half week stretch in March and re-injured his shoulder, costing him the rest of the season. The Flyers should invest in a bubble for Andrej and have him live there until training camp begins.

Bruno Gervais- Age 28

2012/13 Stats- GP- 37, G- 1, A- 5, Pts- 6, +/- (-17), H- 25, BS- 41, MP- 5, TOI- 17:07

Contract- Signed through the 2013/14 season with an annual cap hit of$825,000

Recap- When Gervais was signed, the expectation was not that he was going to play 37 games. He was meant to be a 6/7 defenseman on this team and took on a larger role because of injuries. He was awful this season and was tied for the third worst plus/minus ratio in the NHL and was easily the worst in that category on the team.

Erik Gustafsson- Age 24

2012/13 Stats- GP- 27, G- 3, A- 5, Pts- 8, +/-(-1), H- 15, BS- 39, MP- 1, 20:08

Contract- Gustafsson is currently a Restricted Free Agent

Recap- Gustafsson played a lot of minutes at the end of the season, again due to the number of injured defenseman on this team, and it will be interesting to see how the team handles his contract situation going into next season.

The Flyers dressed 13 defenseman over the course of the season and there several that we will not be doing a full recap for due to their contract status or number of games played. Kurtis Foster and Kent Huskins are both Unrestricted Free Agents and it is conceivable that neither player will be on the roster next season.

Oliver Lauridsen is an interesting player to watch as he got to into 15 games at the end of the season and played decently for a young defenseman getting his feet wet in the NHL. Lauridsen did have issues with taking penalties, 7 minors in the 15 games he played, and certainly has things he can improve on, but it was fun to watch this kid play real minutes and he will be another to watch in training camp.

Andreas Lilja played just four games for the Flyers and he has signed outside of the NHL for next season.

Brandon Manning played in six games and Matt Konan played in two games toward the end of the season.

The main storyline for the defensive unit this season will obviously revolve around the injuries. Losing Grossman, Coburn and Meszaros for significant amounts of time hurt a group that didn’t enter the lockout shortened season with a lot of depth. Timonen will most likely be playing his last season in the NHL next year and one has to wonder how his body will hold up, especially with Olympic hockey back in the mix. Schenn, Grossman and Coburn are all signed through the 2015/16 season and Meszaros through next year.

The interesting part of the defensive group is that the team will be spending roughly one third of their salary cap on their top five defensemen. Timonen, Schenn, Grossman, Coburn and Meszaros will account for $21.6 million of the $64.3 million cap number the teams need to get down to next season. The team, which will certainly be looking to make some moves this offseason, run the risk of entering next season with a lot financially riding on a small group that, if they cannot stay healthy or underperform, could torpedo this team into the bottom half of the conference standings for a second straight year.

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Joshua Herb

Josh was born, raised and still resides in Central PA. He is a die hard Philly sports fan. He can be followed on Twitter @joshua_herb.