Jonas Siegenthaler has proceeded to make his mark on the Capitals’ defensive corps. The Zürich, Switzerland native has made a somewhat unlikely journey to becoming a key spoke in the Caps’ blueline wheel and has contributed greatly to the success the Caps have had so far this season on the penalty kill.
So let’s take a look deeper into what Siegenthaler is doing well today, and what we can identify as areas for improvement going forward as Siegenthaler continues to develop at the NHL level.
Shot Suppression Metrics
First, a look at a few of the possession/shot suppression metrics at 5 on 5 play for Siegenthaler, so far this season:
|Metric||Statistical Value||Team Rank|
|Corsi For %||51.23%||4th|
|Fenwick For %||51.98%||2nd|
|Shots For %||50.09%||3rd|
|Goals For %||55.81%||2nd|
As we can see above, Siegenthaler does well in shot suppression, indicated by the fact that he’s on the ice for more ‘shot attempts for’ than against. Although he’s currently 5th on the Caps’ defensive corps in overall time on ice this season (Michal Kempny is the only one trailing him, playing in 10 fewer games), Siegenthaler has given up the fewest Corsi ‘shot attempts against’ on the team, with 476. As for Fenwick shot attempts against, he’s also leading the way with 352 shot attempts against. To clarify, the difference between the Corsi and Fenwick numbers is that Fenwick does not account for shot attempts that resulted in a shot block. Speaking of shot blocking, Siegenthaler is second on the team in shot blocks.
The translation of the solid possession metrics for Siegenthaler shows up in his ‘shots allowed’ and ‘goals allowed’ stats. So far, there’s only been 269 shots on goal against and 19 goals against at 5 on 5 play so far this season. Those are good for first overall on the Caps.
Something to take into account is that Siegenthaler does tend to get more favorable and protected zone starts, taking the majority of his starts in the offensive or neutral zone. Those tend to skew numbers more on the offensive end, allowing him to be on the ice for more shot attempts, shots on goals, and goals scored.
Now, let’s see those stats visualized, thanks to Charting Hockey:
Siegenthaler is in a good spot, and he’s living up to expectations, especially considering his deployments. It’d be much more concerning if the shot rates weren’t up to snuff with those sheltered offensive and neutral zone starts on his shifts.
High Danger Chance Suppression
Let’s take a look at Siegenthaler’s high danger chance suppression, and how it relates to high danger scores for and against:
|Metric||Statistical Value||Team Rank|
|HD Chances For||98||6th|
|HD Chances Against||71||1st|
|HD Chance %||57.99%||1st|
|HD Goals For||11||6th|
|HD Goals Against||9||1st|
|HD Goals %||55%||1st|
The metrics above paint a clear picture regarding Siegenthaler’s value on the Caps’ blueline. You can see a clear translation here from allowing the fewest high danger chances against, resulting in the fewest high danger goals against.
The trade-off with Siegenthaler is that you’re not necessarily going to see high danger chances for at an extremely high rate compared to the rest of the Caps blueline, especially the more offensively-minded Dmitry Orlov and John Carlson. The important piece here is, Siegenthaler does a formidable job in limiting the amount of chances that have the highest chance of resulting in a goal against.
The great thing about the Caps’ blueline right now is that it has a group of six players that can fill the roles needed to succeed. Siegenthaler and Radko Gudas make a formidable, physical third pairing that’s relied heavily upon for penalty killing. Ultimately, the Caps defensive corps has three pretty strong pairings to lean on, and the addition of Gudas, as well as the ascension of Siegenthaler, have made that a reality for the Caps.
It’s been pretty clear that the Caps have been relying heavily on Siegenthaler to be the defensive anchor on the penalty kill thus far this season. He’s currently leading the Caps in time on ice while shorthanded, as well as shots blocked with 22 so far this season while a man down.
We can see Siegenthaler’s performance visualized below:
This graphic from MoneyPuck shows that Siegenthaler, while giving up the most shot attempts against on ice per game, he’s still one of the stronger performers when it comes to on ice expected goal percentage.
Another visual from HockeyViz.com can show Siegenthaler’s impact on the location of shots allowed on the PK:
You can see the lower left quadrant of the defensive zone and directly in front of the net is the area where the fewest shots are allowed while shorthanded. That also happens to be where Siegenthaler is stationed on the PK. I’ll let you determine whether or not that’s a coincidence.
Overall, Siegenthaler has really been the general of the penalty kill unit for the other three skaters on the ice in those situations. He’s really come into his own as a strong penalty killer.
The biggest thing for Siegenthaler here is that he really needs to reduce the amount of penalties he’s committing. He’s leading the defensive corps with 13 minor penalties, as well as one major penalty, resulting in 31 penalty minutes. That PIM figure only trails Radko Gudas by one penalty minute for the most on the Caps’ defensive corps. The brightside here is, Siegenthaler has also drawn 14 penalties, but it’d be optimal for both him and the Caps to not have their ace penalty killer in the box.
Siegenthaler is having a strong season so far defensively, and he’s really stepped up as a strong asset on the backend on the penalty killing unit. His play has elevated in that regard, and it has resulted in the Caps improving considerably in that area from last season. The Caps’ currently have an 84.9% success rate on the penalty kill, compared to 78.9% last season. Additionally, Siegenthaler’s ability to play both the left and right side helps add a bit of versatility to the Caps’ defensive group, and could result in him being a mainstay on the blueline for the foreseeable future. The biggest thing for Siegenthaler is that we’ll need to see a bit more from him on the offensive side of the ice. He doesn’t necessarily need to produce at the level that John Carlson is providing, but working on his shot and his passing surely could help bolster an already formidable Capitals’ offense.
By Justin Trudel