BLOCKBUSTER! Subban vs Weber - Part II Offense
Photo: Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire
Results compiled from 13/14, 14/15, and 15/16 seasons
In the past three years, PK Subban has created 49% more positive offense than Shea Weber. To put Subban’s positive offense in the context of league defensemen, only Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns have created more positive offense. Weber ranks 28th.
We also noted Subban had 89% higher Negative Offense or ‘cost of offense’ than Weber. Only Karlsson (runaway leader) and Keith Yandle have a higher Cost of Offense over the same time period, with recently signed Alex Goligoski and John Klingberg rounding out the 4th and 5th spots. Weber ranks 97th.
It is not uncommon for players who create high levels of positive offense to have a high Cost of Offense. Creating offense involves taking a certain level of risk. Strong defensive ability and a strong supporting cast helps to ensure the bad checks being written don’t bounce. It is a very rare defenseman that can create offense among the best in the league and not have a similar high Cost of Offense…. think multiple Norris winner Nick Lidstrom. The best offensive defensemen in the league should be striving for Lidstrom like efficiency.
Digging deeper into the offensive contributions of Subban and Weber, we next look to game situations: Breakout (BO), Rush Attack (RA), and Offensive Zone Play (OZP).
BO - Weber (rank 83) leads Subban (rank 109) by a modest 11%, but neither are among the best in the league. Weber is reliable but unspectacular on the BO, not evading nor using the middle as much as the leaders. Subban ranks in the top 30 in positive BO plays but his negative BO plays drop his score significantly. He has often resorted to rimming the puck when he comes under pressure, which may be a strategy to simplify his breakouts, reduce turnovers and avoid taking contact.
RA – As the puck breaks out of the defensive zone and into the Rush, Subban (rank 17) starts to display his offensive superiority over Weber (rank 51). Subban has a 34% advantage on RA. He ranks 10th in positive offense on RA while Weber ranks 79th. Note how their respective negative contributions on RA pull Weber’s RA ranking up from 79 to 51, and push Subban’s down from 10th to 17th.
OZP – Both defensemen are strong in OZP and patrolling the offensive blue line, but this is Subban’s playground. He leads Weber by 31% and ranks 3rd among all defensemen. Turnovers are much easier to clean up in OZP, therefore Subban’s proficiency is not hurt near as much with negative offense as it is on RA, or especially on the BO. Weber still ranks among the best at 15th.
Turning to Skills, we get more resolution on how each Defenseman delivers his offense:
Note: TP Skills are a net score per 10 minutes. Skills executed poorly will reduce the Skill score according to the effect on the particular play and game.
Protect – Subban has the puck on his stick more than Weber and not surprisingly has a Protect ranking of 31 to Weber’s 79.
Evade – Subban is much more dynamic with the puck and uses Evades much more often than Weber, ranking 16th to Weber’s 172. Defensemen who do not have the physical skills of Subban learn to move the puck before they are forced into using an evasive move to escape and find space. At the NHL level a defenseman quickly learns what he is capable of and respects those limits….. or he won’t be there long. If he comes with a strong offensive pedigree he is usually given more room to explore those limits.
Carry – Subban leads in Carries but at a ranking of 55, he is not as prolific of a puck transporter that some may expect. Weber has relatively few Carries, ranking 156.
One-Time Shot – Both Subban and Weber take their share of shots, but Weber in particular ranks 3rd among all defensemen in One-Time Shots, indicating where a good portion of his OZP contribution comes from. Subban ranks 51.
Forehand – Subban 24, Weber 85
Forehand Sauce – Subban 39, Weber 168
Backhand – Subban 9, Weber 86
Backhand Sauce – Subban 12, Weber 19
Subban leads Weber in all passing categories, and is particularly strong in Backhand and Backhand Sauce. Weber is very strong at Backhand Sauce but relatively weak at Forehand Sauce, which may be an area to mark for development.
Wrapping up the Subban Weber offensive comparison, in Even Strength Offense, Subban (rank 11) leads Weber (rank 24) by 43%. In Power Play efficiency, Subban (rank 5) and leads Weber (rank 17) by 32%.
In Overall Offense over the last three season, Subban contributes 38% more than Weber. Despite Subban’s considerably higher negative offense, he still ranks 3rd offensively among all defensemen. Weber produces 49% less positive offense than Subban but his low negative offense nets out to place him 22nd, which is a very respectable position among the top 30 offensive defensemen.
The analysis details the general premise that Subban provides more offense but he delivers it in a roller coaster like fashion, while Weber’s offensive production is lower but much smoother. Having an appropriate partner and strong goalie are often essential to ensure the ride is fun for the whole team.
The key to the Canadiens and Predators unlocking the strongest offense from their newly acquired defenseman will be understanding each player's offensive profile and how it best fits with their respective teams.
Next we compare Weber and Subban’s defensive proficiency….
Read BLOCKBUSTER! Subban vs Weber - Part III Defense here
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