The Detrimental Pairing Of Brent Seabrook And Trevor Van Reimsdyk

The defensive pairing of Brent Seabrook and Trevor Van Reimsdyk (TVR) played a stretched of games together this season that saw the opposition consistently controlling the puck against them. Opponents were outshooting the Blackhawks greatly when the pairing was on the ice. After many games together, it was decided that those two would be broken up, much to the delightment of yours truly.

You see, I watch every game, and I also track the stats for every game. After almost every game where Seabrook and TVR were paired together, I noticed they had the worse possession numbers on the team game in and game out. The pairing obviously wasn’t working. So when Q put them back together, I was very apprehensive but wanted to wait and see if things would be different. However, through two games of this duo being back together, they have been near the bottom in possession and shot differential.

So I set out to see what the numbers say about how this duo has played together and how they have played apart over the season.

“Wait, they have stats for that?”

Yes. Yes they do. Now let’s dive on in.   

Seabrook and TVR have played 352 even strength minutes together this season. This is important when analyzing the pairing. If they played few minutes together such as 50 or maybe even 100, then there wouldn’t be enough data to stake a claim. But with over 350 minutes of Icetime together this season, that’s enough of a sample size for one to analyze. 
First, let’s analyze the pairings offensive output.  
When on the ice together, the Blackhawks as a team produce under 50 shots every 60 minutes of play. When Seabrook is on the ice without TVR, the team has produced almost 60 shots per 60 minutes. The numbers are similar when TVR is on the ice without Seabrook.

In the chart above, we can see that the team has produced more shots when Seabrook and TVR aren’t paired together.

Now, let’s take a look at shot suppression.

When Seabrook and TVR are paired together and on the ice, opponents are producing over 65 shots per 60 minutes of play. When Seabrook is on the ice with anyone except TVR, opponents are producing under 60 shots per 60. When TVR is on the ice without Seabrook, opponents are producing a mere 50 shots per 60 minutes.

In the chart above showing shot suppression, a lower number is desired. We can see that the Blackhawks greatly limit opponents shots better when Seabrook and TVR aren’t paired together.

Alright, let’s use the data from the two charts above to produce shot differential.

When Seabrook and TVR are on the ice together, opponents are outshooting the Blackhawks by 18 shots every 60 minutes. 18 shots! The point of the game is to produce more shots than your opponent in hopes of scoring more goals. When paired together on ice this season, opponents have the edge over the Blackhawks. 

We can also see that playing without each other, each player has a positive shot differential. By using this chart, we can see a huge discrepancy when the two are paired together and apart from each other.

We can take these shot differential numbers and turn it into a percentage to see their possession numbers.

With possession numbers, one wants to be over 50%. For example, if a player has a possession % (also known as Corsi For%) of 75%, that means his team is controlling the puck 75% of the time and the opponent only 25%.

From the chart above we see that when paired together, the Blackhawks possess the puck just above 40% of the time. This means the opponent has the puck more resulting in more chances to score and win the game. When apart from each other, both players have a possession percentage over 50% which is good.

Questions Raised

When TVR is paired with Seabrook, Trevor has to play his off side. Both players are right shot defensemen and therefore right side defensemen. When together, TVR plays on the left side. This means he has to use his backhand to pick the puck off the boards and make passes up the boards. Being a young defensemen, maybe he can’t handle playing his off side.

Left shot defensemen 

  1. Keith
  2. Hjalmarsson
  3. Gustafsson
  4. Svedberg

Right shot defensemen

  1. Seabrook
  2. Van Reimsdyk 
  3. Rozsival