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Since there is a lot of talk on our threads regarding the horrendous play of our D (this and most every season), I thought I'd break down 2 of the biggest offenders on the team who seem to be the goats all the time.

Andrej Sekera:
32 Games, 8 Points (2G, 6A), +2, 20 Hits, 46 Blocks, 19:11 TOI/G

Marc-Andre Gragnani:
30 Games, 9 Points (1G, 8A), +11, 7 Hits, 20 Blocks, 17:45 TOI/G

Let's start with the basics:

Their stats are pretty equal, so there's not much to compare there.
PIM are close (12-10, Sekera with the 12)

Now on to a bit more in-depth inspection:

+/-: Gragnani is the team leader, and Sekera is 2nd among defensemen.

Gragnani has gotten +2 or +3 in individual games 6 times, Sekera 4 times. Gragnani had 3 of those efforts in close games (3-4 loss, 3-2 win - twice). Sekera had that effort once (a 3-2 win). The remaining 6 times combined these standout games were in "easier" victories (2 or more goal victories).

Sekera has gotten -2 or -3 in 4 games this season, one of which was a close game (a 6-5 win). Gragnani has had this happen twice, both in losses by 2 or more goals.

That breakdown shows there has been more ups and downs in these 2 players games, but I also found it telling that most of the "great" or poor play came in blowouts or "easy" wins. Also keep in mind that these 2 have been a pairing for over 20% of their time this season.

The bigger key to me, since +/- isn't a widely recognized stat in which to make decisions on the worth of a player (on it's own), is the Time on Ice comparisons.

Sekera: 614:10 total TOI, 19:11 TOI/G, 16:29 Even Strength/G, 1:56 Shorthanded/G, 0:45 Power Play/G

Gragnani: 532:59 total TOI, 17:45 TOI/G, 14:34 Even Stregth/G, 0:13 Shorthanded/G, 2:58 Power Play/G

On average, Sekera has more opportunity to have his +/- affected due to his Even Stregth TOI differential (an extra 3 shifts per game).

Sekera is 2nd on the team in total TOI, Gragnani is 5th. Sekera gets played in the more defensive parts of the game, playing 18:26 per game combined for Even Strength and Shorthanded, compared to Gragnani's 14:47 per game.

Gragnani has 4 PP points in 89:23 of PP TOI this season, compared to Sekera's 1 PP Point in 24:09. That is an average of 1 point per 22:21 for Gragnani, showing that his PP time is barely more constructive than Sekera's.

The last bit of breakdown I'll make is their other defensive stats, what I'd consider much more important than +/-: their hits and blocks.

Sekera has 20 hits and 46 blocks. Gragnani has 7 hits and 20 blocks. I'll be nice to Gragnani and say he has roughly half of the stats in each of these categories as Sekera has, but that still doesn't do him any favors.

With all of that said, it's (probably) obvious that I'm a bigger Sekera fan than Gragnani, so that's why I thought I'd lay out ALL of the facts. It's also unfair to make such a comparison of these 2 players' worth since Sekera has 265 NHL games played (regular season) to Gragnani's 45, but I'm just trying to point out their performances this season, and how ridiculous I feel it is that Gragnani keeps getting ice time.
Filed Under:   Buffalo Sabres  
December 20, 2011 7:53 AM ET | Delete
Sekera cap 2.75milGrags cap 550k Sekera makes 5 times as much as Grags, I hope he'd be better than Grags.
December 20, 2011 8:02 AM ET | Delete
nice write up though.
December 20, 2011 8:08 AM ET | Delete
That goes back to my comparison of their NHL Games Played though. Give Gragnani time, I'm sure he'll fetch in the 1.75M for his upcoming contract...We'll find out soon enough since he's an RFA again this offseason
December 20, 2011 8:12 AM ET | Delete
For a defensemen that gets 14 minutes a game (Gragnani) I find it ridiculous for him to only have 7 hits. I don't care if that is your game or not. You shouldn't be averaging 3 or 4 games in between hits at that position...
December 20, 2011 8:13 AM ET | Delete
Message PostedAlso the reason I really don't care for players in Gragnani's mold is that they are usually pegged as offensive defensemen but you would never know it from the numbers. 1 PP point for every 22:21 is laughable when that is his only real "asset".
December 20, 2011 8:13 AM ET | Delete
Message PostedGragnani is the Sabres version of Ryan Whitney, but not as good, and I detested Whitney's play by the end of his tenure in Pittsburgh. Doesn't hit or block shots, and doesn't add much to the PP, "What exactly do you do again?"
December 20, 2011 10:41 AM ET | Delete
Nothing Gunner much like the rest of this team.
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