Great results ?? In what world, when Benning moves above 3rd pairing minutes he is often exposed and turns the puck over constantly. The contract situation matters nothing if Benning does not factor into next years plans, which in my opinion he should not. If EDM traded 1 for 1 Benning for Pysyk it is a gamble based on this years stats/metrics however historical data leads me to believe there is a marginally better player there. Next season EDMs blueline will likely be composed of Larsson/Bear/Bouchard/Persson making Benning expendable which makes the gamble on Pysyk palatable because at years end EDM can walk away if the fit is not there.
You are right about Pysyk last season and this season however over his career he has shown himself to be a better defender which is shown in the link i sent comparing 3yrs worth of defensive metrics. If you expand the natural stat trick reports you linked you can see metrics like giveaways and takeaways per 60 which speak more to the players defensive play versus corsi/HDSC% which is more a team based metric.
Maybe you should look at the facts?
Is 1250 minutes over 3 years a large enough sample size to prove anything? I’m genuinely asking, because on another forum I’m the only guy that sees any value in Matt Benning at all, and looking at the numbers I think he can play 2RD. Certainly between him, Sekera and Russell we should be able to cover 2RD next season, but the numbers for Benning are intriguing.
To start with I used a proxy for “top-4” each year going back to 2016-17, based on TOI v Elites taken from puckiq.com, as follows:
2016-17: Sekera (35.5%), Klefbom (34.6)
2017-18: Nurse (34.9), Klefbom (32.3)
2018-19: Klefbom (35.1), Nurse (33.8)
Next I went to naturalstattrick.com and, using their “Teammates” tool, filtered all the stats for each year for the TOI Benning spent with each player listed above. I realize there were times when Russell-Benning were the 2nd pairing, but there may have been games that they were 3rd pairing too and I didn’t want to confuse the numbers with 3rd pairing data. Then too, who you play with is as important as who you play against, so showing those games where Russell-Benning played 2nd pairing probably doesn’t give us much information about potential combos this coming season, unless the injury bug strikes down 2-3 of the top-5 guys. For reference though, Russell-Benning were together just 21:04 in 2018-19 and outscored the competition 2-1. Negligible.
So I built an excel spreadsheet combining all the figures for Benning’s ice-time with the top two LHD for each season and the results were interesting to say the least. For the 3 years combined, 5v5 minutes in the top-4 only:
Again, this is just the time he spent in the top-4, these numbers don’t include any bottom-pairing play at all. This looks like a decent top-4 blueliner from here. Is it the McDavid push? Let’s look at the numbers with and without McDavid, filtered by the aforementioned top two LHD:
The truth is that Benning, even when playing top-4 minutes, isn’t getting a ton of “McDavid time”, just 33.6% of his TOI was spent with the world’s best center. Of course his numbers in those minutes are better, but he performed quite well even without the CMD push.
And then there’s this: Benning personally posted amazing boxcars during these minutes. His .912 points/60 puts him tied for 58th best defenseman in the NHL over the past 3 years, while his .29 goals/60 puts him in a 5 way tie for 24th, with Jones, Ekblad, Markov and our own Darnell Nurse. (I can’t believe so many Oilers fans are calling for these two to be traded). These are phenomenal numbers.
The list of marquee players that couldn’t match Benning’s .912 p/60 over the past 3 years is long, including Slavin, Petry, Morrissey, Ekholm, Heiskanen, Gostisbehere, Miller, Pesce, Ekman-Larsson, Parayko, Ekblad, Brodin, Doughty, Lindholm, Fowler, Ristolainen, Klefbom, Hamonic and Vatanen.
Now, I’m not suggesting that Matt Benning is a top-pairing guy or even a sure-fire top 4. I do know for sure that he’s played a reasonable amount of top-4 minutes over the past 3 years and has won those minutes even playing behind a piss-poor forward group. NONE of the other top blueliners can touch Benning’s GF% without McDavid, and it isn’t close:
Benning: 49.18 (while in the top-4 only)
Sekera: 40.00 (includes bottom-pairing time)
For reference, Benning’s overall GF% without McDavid (just so we’re comparing apples-to-apples) is 51.45%.