The 2010-2011 Player Review: Henrik Tallinder
Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will break down the 2010-2011 Devils season. We’ll cover the big team stories, but also offer a breakdown of individual player performances. In today’s second review, we focus on Henrik Tallinder.
When New Jersey Devils’ general manager Lou Lamoriello signed Henrik Tallinder last season, several fans showed surprise by the move. Tallinder, who posted point totals of 15 or more in just three of his eight seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, wouldn’t provide any offensive value. Tallinder didn’t fit the mold of a puck-moving defenseman the team desperately needed. But Lamoriello didn’t sign him for his offensive skill.
While in Buffalo, Tallinder helped mentor Tyler Myers, the eventual Calder Trophy-winning defenseman. The Devils’ new defenseman is also Swedish, and could help mentor the three young Swedes in the organization. Lamoriello believed that role played an integral part to the signing.
“In Tallinder, you’ve got somebody 6-4, 240, played under an outstanding coach (Lindy Ruff in Buffalo), mentored (Tyler) Myers in Buffalo this year,” Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “We’ve got three young Swedish players coming in (Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby and Alexander Urbom). He’s 31 years old. He’s in his prime. He’s a mature guy.”
Tallinder brought skill to the blueline, but not exactly what the Devils needed. As the season wore on, however, we saw two different Tallinders. The first half of the season he was atrocious, and the second half he became a rock on the team’s defense. His numbers in all areas display that, showing a player who played well on the Devils’ blue line this season.
Tallinder At Even Strength
Tallinder, one of only two Devils defenseman to play all 82 games, led the defense in even strength time on ice per 60 minutes with a 19.04. That number sat almost a full minute higher than Andy Greene, the next closest player. He also faced solid competition, with the opponents averaging a plus-.03 rating. He continually faced the opposing team’s top two lines (evidenced by his plus-.079 quality of team rating), a testament to his solid play and the trust both John MacLean and Jacques Lemaire placed in him.
If you’ve read some of the other previews, you’ve noticed a trend with Devils defenseman. Each carries a negative plus/minus rating per 60 minutes. With the season the team played, especially during the first three months, it’s expected. Tallinder was on the ice for 54 goals scored, most on the defense. But he also was on the ice for 64 goals scored against, once again tops on the team. His minus-0.38 rating isn’t positive, but it also isn’t terrible. The team posted lower numbers in goals scored and higher numbers in goals against, showing Tallinder’s true impact on the ice.
The positive feedback continues while looking at more data. While on the ice, the team averaged 2.46 goals, 26.9 shots and 22.7 shots against per 60 minutes. When off the ice, the numbers dipped across the board. Goals for dropped to 2.15, shots for dropped to 25.7 and shots against rose to 23.9.
Tallinder’s Corsi numbers wrap up his even-strength performance nicely. On the ice, Tallinder posted a Corsi of 9.30, helping generate offense and shutting down the opponents. Off the ice, the team’s Corsi dropped to 0.87. He clearly put those first half struggles behind him to have a solid second half.
Tallinder On The Penalty Kill
Tallinder played a prominent role on special teams, mostly on the penalty kill. His average time on ice was 2.29, second to only Colin White. The quality of competition of plus-.380 meant he routinely saw the opponent’s second powerplay unit. His player rating wasn’t good at all, checking in at a minus-1.58.
The Devils’ penalty kill wasn’t great this year, and Tallinder’s numbers reflect those struggles. He was responsible for 20 goals, and opposing powerplay’s averaged 6.38 goals against when he was on the ice. The minus-5.74 rating was one of the worst on the team. The numbers improved significantly with him off the ice, improving to 4.44 goals against and a minus-4.16 rating. The shots against dropped from 38.3 while he was on the ice to 38.0 off it.
The Corsi numbers are pretty ugly with Tallinder on and off the ice. I tend to think the numbers reflect the poor first half. The team cut down on penalties taken significantly under Lemaire, which lessened the chance for Tallinder to improve his stats. The player does share some of the responsibility, so he shoulders the blame for that poor showing.
As I said in the opener, this season showed two different Tallinders. During the Devils abysmal 9-22-2 start, he looked terrible. It seemed he was victimized for every goal against, and he looked slow. For a 31-year old, that wasn’t encouraging news. I remember sitting in my home, watching games and seeing Tallinder look helpless on the ice. It was a frustrating feelings for both player and fan as he attempted to find his footing.
The second half of the season, Tallinder turned around with the rest of his team. All of sudden, we saw the solid player Lamoriello signed on July 1. Tallinder no longer represented the defense’s futility. He went from being an absolute atrocity to stud. He played well in his own zone and even contributed offensively, scoring the game-winning goal against the Carolina Hurricanes on February 19.
Tallinder looked to be a bust until January. After that, he took off and proved his worth. He represented the fall and rise of the Devils, and he’ll hopefully continue that strong play for the next three seasons.