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Analytics Profile: Brad Marchand

The results may shock you

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This is the first of sixteen player profiles. If you missed the introduction, you can find that here. Special thank you to Corsica, Evolving Wild, Micah Black McCurdy, for the data and visualizations.

Shot Production : A+

3 year WAR/82 : 0.66

3 year RAPM Z-Score : 2.14

The greatest strength in Brad Marchand’s game, is his ability to create offense. Between his illusive skating, stickhandling skills, and playmaking skills, he has no problem creating extra shots for the Bruins.

Over the last three seasons, Marchand’s shot production has been within the top ten percent of the league. Over the last three seasons, the Bruins’ shot rate increased substantially when Marchand was on the ice. The Bruins took over nine more shot attempts per hour with Marchand on the ice over the last three seasons as opposed to when he was sitting on the bench. Not many players are touching that, even on a bad team. Connor McDavid had a relCF60 of 7.65 on some pretty mediocre Oilers teams.

Shot Suppression : A-

3 year WAR/82 : 0.29

3 year RAPM Z-Score : 0.88

Marchand’s ability to suppress shots is not as great as his ability to create them. However, that is not a knock on him as much as it is a praise of how well he produces shots. Marchand’s relative to teammates corsi-against per sixty over the last three seasons is -3.41 (negative is good). That stands very well among his peers.

Whether you are using more traditional metrics like CA60, or more sophisticated ones like WAR or regularized adjusted plus-minus, They all tend to point to Marchand being around the top third of the league in shot suppression.

Offensive Shot Quality : B

3 year WAR/82 : 0.10

Brad Marchand may be able to create shots like a wizard, but when it comes to quality, it’s more of a mystery. Marchand, and his teammates while he is on the ice, have struggled to get to extremely high-danger scoring areas, but have certainly gotten to fairly dangerous ones. Using Corsica’s expected goals model, Marchand gives a 0.26% boost to the percentage of unblocked shots that are expected to go in. However, when we look at the results, Marchand has boosted the Bruins’ shooting percentage of unblocked shots 1.52%.

I would shy away from calling Marchand’s shot quality much above average. His own skill, combined with his teammates, has really driven up his on-ice shooting percentage.

Defensive Shot Quality : C

3 year WAR/82 : -0.05

This is certainly a shot heard around the world, but Brad Marchand’s weakness, statistically, is his shot quality against. For many this comes at a shock. I also was surprised when I did my research to find this to be true.

Based on Manny Perry’s WAR model, he is below replacement level in this area. Taking a step further, while Marchand is on the ice, Bruins goalies’ save percentages on unblocked shots are expected to drop 0.51%. And unlike Marchand’s on-ice shooting percentages, the results are about the same. Bruins goaltenders can be expected to save less while Marchand is on the ice.

Author’s Comments

While doing my research, I was baffled to find Marchand was generally average at 5v5 defense. When looking at his Edgar Isolate, courtesy of Micah Blake McCurdy, while on the ice, the Bruins tend to give up more shots from just inside the home plate area. Marchand and his teammates still prevent very high danger shots, and given his shot suppression, his defensive abilities at 5v5 are average, which is not a big deal.

Since Marchand is given penalty killing time and plays with Patrice Bergeron, it appears that he is a two-way forward. However, what makes him a top tier player, is his shooting abilities as well as his ability to create shots. I’ll leave the rest up to your eye test.


How would you rate this assessment of Marchand?

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    I agree on parts
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