Defensive pairings available, gently loved

I can&#39;t <strike>live</strike> win, with or without you

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.

Which little-used defensive pairing has the most potential?

Karlsson - Wiercioch38
Methot - Gryba19
Methot - Wiercioch61
Cowen - Borowiecki11
Wiercioch - Borowiecki7
Wiercioch - Corvo7
Corvo - Borowiecki5
Gryba - Borowiecki18

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