One full week into free agency and there are plenty of good free players still on the market. Among defenders, Carlo Colaiacovo offers a nice combination of skill and defensive ability.
It appears Ian Cole (above) will take his spot on the blueline and send Colaiacovo packing. Is Colaiacovo a fit for the Oilers?
QUAL COMP-THE TOUGHS
This is Corsi Qual Quality Comp. CorsiQC gives us the results from every Corsi event, not just the goals. So it is a stronger indicator of performance throughout a season. Colaiacovo ranks at the top of an impressive list of defenders and that’s a major tell in terms of who he was playing against during this past season. The toughs. Since Colaiacovo played his minutes with Pietrangelo (for the most part) this season it may well be a case of who’s zooming who (another example: Carle/Pronger) but that’s a solid number for Cola.
We know that the Cola-Pietrangelo pairing played the toughs, and here we see the performances compared to the rest of the group. A solid number from Colaiacovo and it reflects performance against tougher competition. Again, the only real question is how much Pietrangelo is pushing the results.
Interesting to see how the Blues deployed their defenders last season. Jackman got the toughest zone starts, played with a weaker partner (mostly Shattenkirk but a nice helping of Polak) and middling toughness of competition. The Cola/Piet pairing is middle of the road in this discipline.
WHO’S ZOOMING WHO?
The numbers are real and they’re pretty spectacular! Well, maybe that’s a stretch to justify the photo and we don’t know who’s zooming who. Actually, we can find that out courtesy this website and a hat tip to our friend Woodguy for passing it along. The page I’ve linked to is the 11-12 season during close games and adjusted for faceoffs. The key numbers are "with or without" and in the case of Pietrangelo/Colaiacovo it is severe:
- The pairing together: .581 (level is .500, that’s an excellent number)
- Pietrangelo without Cola: .556
- Colaiacovo without Pietrangelo: .444
It appears the young Pietrangelo is indeed a difference maker and that Colaiacovo benefited a great deal from the pairing.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Blues are moving Ian Cole to the NHL and have allowed Colaiacovo to reach free agency. Their conclusion is that Pietrangelo carried the load for the pairing and that Cole (or another defender) can perform ably beside the gifted player in 12-13.
Colaiacovo’s numbers show an effective puck mover, who can also play defense and for the last few seasons has been able to stay healthy for 60+ games each year. Should the Oilers sign Colaiacovo to a contract it is unlikely they would get the same results.
Why? Alex Pietrangelo is in St. Louis.