There has been so much talk this season of the Oilers making a trade in the off-season to bring in a true top pairing D-man. Much of the talk has Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent Hopkins being sent out to acquire Travis Hamonic or Kevin Shattenkirk, both of whom would likely improve this team a great deal. I don’t want to get into the pros and cons of dealing Ebs or the Nuge but we all know that you need to trade value to get value and for the first time in a while I trust the GM to make the right deal.
So the question remain: Should the Oilers trade for Hamonic or Shattenkirk? I’ll admit that before doing research for this article I would have picked Shattenkirk, I’m just more familiar with the player so I have less doubt that he can come in and help the team win. I put together a player usage chart over at hockeyabstract.com to compare both of these guys to defensemen already on the Oilers and I’m actually a bit surpised:
A little info about the chart if your not familiar with these:
The higher up on the chart a player is the tougher the opposition is that he is facing and the further to the right a player is the more defensive zone draws the players takes. That means that the upper right corner of the chart is where players who are trusted most by their coach and get the least protection are found. The color of the players bubble is determined by their relative corsi to the rest of their team. The deeper the blue in the bubble the better the players Corsi is and the deeper the red the lower the players Corsi is. I chose rel corsi because I believe its a better indicator for the individual player regardless of how good of a possession team they play on. Lastly the size of the bubble is determined by the time on ice the players plays, the larger bubble indicates more minutes.
Hamonic VS Shattenkirk
Its pretty clear to me looking at this chart that Hamonic is a top pairing d-man and Shattenkirk is a second pairing. Hamonic is starting more shifts in the defensive zone and doing it against tougher competition than Shatenkirk and still has a bit better relative corsi. He also plays substantially more minutes than any body else on this chart. Shattenkirk is playing 2nd pairing minutes, getting the offensive zone push and playing easier competition than Hamonic and really isn’t the proven top pairing defenseman the Oilers need.
Personally, I’d love to get both of these guys but if I had to choose one it would hands down be Travis Hamonic.