How is Shea Weber Really Doing Without Ryan Suter?

Christian Petersen

Saturday night's game against the Minnesota Wild (get your tickets right here) brings former Predator Ryan Suter back to Nashville, the perfect time to examine how Shea Weber is faring without his former defense partner.

One of the consolations that Nashville Predators fans are taking these days is that at least Shea Weber's been playing well, right? Much better apparently than Ryan Suter, who spurned Nashville's overtures in free agency last summer and left for the Midwestern comforts of Minnesota.

Sure, Suter has 1 goal and 14 assists in 22 games for Minnesota, but he's also sporting a -6, so LOL, the reasoning goes.


Ryan Suter

#20 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild

6-1

198

Jan 21, 1985



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Ryan Suter 22 1 14 15 -6 8 1 0 0 40 2.5

The problem is, Weber isn't exactly enjoying a fine season himself, and contrary to Barry Trotz's endorsement a few weeks ago, he won't garner serious Norris Trophy consideration unless things turn around quickly. Once upon a time, the pairing of Suter & Weber was a dominant force, eating up huge amounts of ice time against top opposing forwards, while managing to churn out positive results for a Predators team that generally struggled otherwise.


Shea Weber

#6 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

6-4

232

Aug 14, 1985



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Shea Weber 23 3 6 9 +3 13 0 0 1 60 5.0

That effect which Weber & Suter had together is best reflected by Corsi Relative, also known as the difference between the balance of Total Shots For & Against while a player is on the ice, and when he is on the bench during 5-on-5 play. For years, Weber has been a strongly positive force for puck possession, standing head & shoulders above his Nashville teammates in that regard. That's no longer the case this season. Let's review some of those possession measurements and how they've trended over the years (data from Behind the Net):

SEASON Corsi Relative Corsi On Off Zone Start % Off Zone Finish % Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel QoT
2007-2008 +3.2 +4.4 48.3 49.6 -0.09 -0.01
2008-2009 +13.3 +5.8 48.5 48.4 +0.62 +2.77
2009-2010 +7.0 +7.3 44.2 46.5 +0.94 +1.59
2010-2011 +7.2 +2.7 45.3 48.4 +0.94 +1.89
2011-2012 +11.2 -0.9 44.6 47.3 +1.33 +1.46
2012-2013 -7.5 -12.6 40.4 38.4 +1.78 +0.64

Put simply, when Weber hopped over the boards in years past (usually with Suter by his side), the flow of play turned remarkably in Nashville's favor, but this year he's been forced to scramble in his own end more often than not. Interestingly, Ryan Suter is experiencing the same phenomenon up in Minnesota. Like Weber, his Corsi-based metrics have fallen off the table.

SEASON Corsi Relative Corsi On Off Zone Start % Off Zone Finish % Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel QoT
2007-2008 +9.1 +7.6 53.4 50.6 +0.13 +2.50
2008-2009 +10.9 +4.4 48.4 49.4 +0.66 +3.21
2009-2010 +5.3 +6.7 44.8 46.4 +1.01 +1.82
2010-2011 +8.9 +4.3 44.7 48.1 +0.97 +1.95
2011-2012 +7.3 -2.9 45.7 47 +1.26 +2.05
2012-2013 -5.0 -8.7 49.3 45.5 +0.73 +2.68

Neither defenseman is playing at his best right now, and that's hardly shocking. You don't just split up a world class defense pair that had been together for years, and expect both guys to prosper right away independently. It will be worth checking back on these measures at the end of the season, to see if another 20 games or so helps them gain familiarity with their new partners.

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