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Defensive pairings available, gently loved

I can't live win, with or without you

Could these two make a good defensive pairing?  This picture doesn't help their case.
Could these two make a good defensive pairing? This picture doesn't help their case.
Drew Hallowell

Looking back at the Vancouver game, the pairing of Eric Gryba and Mark Borowiecki had an absurdly good possession game. Their 5v5 Corsi was 81% and 80% respectively. It was the second best game either of them have had this year, #fancystats wise. It drove their CF% as a pairing up to the absurd 76.2%.

It's also the only game they've played significant amounts of 5v5 time together, making that 76.2% a viable poster child for "small sample size".

But do we write that off as a fluke, or say hey, maybe there's something to this pairing that might be worth trying again. With numbers that high, it's almost certainly at least a bit of a fluke - but how much? Could they stabilize in the 50s somewhere?

Obviously we won't be trying again anytime soon with Borocop back down in Bingo, but what about other little-used pairings that have had success in their limited ice time together? Is there any untapped potential within them?

Karlsson - Wiercioch

Erik Karlsson and Erik Karlsson lite have spent a grand total of 18:31 together during 5 on 5 play. During that time, their CF% was 57.8. That's a significant improvement compared to their average CF% apart from each other.

There is some sense to this, as they're both puck moving defensemen. That, as well as the downside, show in the numbers going into that CF% - it's all from an increase in the rate they generate Corsi for, but Corsi against is nothing to write home about. I'd worry a little about them in the defensive zone, but they could be gold on the rush and in the offensive zone.

Methot - Wiercioch

If Methot - Karlsson works, why not try Methot - Wiercioch?

This one actually has been tried a bit more than the others on this list, at 33:03 minutes of 5 on 5 play. Their 56.1 CF% together is respectable, and as with every pairing on this list is better than their individual average CF% apart. It's a pairing that certainly makes sense when Karlsson is paired with other.

Methot - Gryba

A shut-down pair in the making, maybe? Not so fast - while their 60.9 CF% is built on a pretty good Corsi against rate in their 10:51 together, it's also got a surprisingly high Corsi for rate.

I'm guessing the CA is a bit more sustainable than the CF, though I could definitely see their CF% staying above 50. That would be more in line with what seems like a defensive minded pairing. But who leads the breakout?

Cowen - Borowiecki

Only 2:16 in ice time together, but a totally sustainable (snicker) 100 CF%!

I mean, might as well consider it. The only other D that Cowen has a CF% above 50 with is Karlsson...

Wiercioch - Borowiecki

The least successful pairing on the list, they hit an even 50 CF% in 8:29 together. It does seem like it could be a passable combination of stay-at-home and puck-mover.

The rates going in to that CF% showed outstanding (though brief) defensive play, but little in the way of offensive possession. Potential breakout issues maybe? I can't remember just when they were on the ice together for 5 on 5 play. My money would be on both the Corsi for and against rates going higher if they had more time together, though I think the Corsi for has more room for growth.

Wiercioch - Corvo

This totally feels like a spare parts pairing to me. It's like chocolate and peanut butter - who in their right mind would think of putting those together at first? But they've had the second most time together out of the pairings discussed here at 21:12.

In that short time together they had one of the best Corsi against rates on the list, and an above-average Corsi for. I'm not sure which one really represents what we could expect from this pairing over the longer term though, if either, but for now they combined for a 63.2 CF%.

Corvo - Borowiecki

Noticed something yet? (name) - Borowiecki makes this list a lot. He's in 4 out of 8 pairings talked about here.

This one is the smallest of the small sample sizes, with only 1:55 of 5 on 5 ice time together. But hey, the 66.7 CF% means they had twice as many Corsi events for (4 of them) to Corsi against (2 of them). I'm not sure this one makes any more sense than Wiercioch - Corvo, and it's got far fewer data points going in to it.

Notably missing: Chris Phillips

Simply put, his two most common pairings - with Gryba and with Corvo, are also his two most successful pairings.