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Which is better? Enstrom of Havelid?

The Thrashers Swedish Defensive Duo of Enstrom and Havelid have played together from most of this season and last season. They are the club's best defensive pairing.

Both players bring things to the table. Enstrom brings his skating and passing and Havelid brings physicality and hitting. Perhaps it is an unfair question, but which of these guys is contributing the most?

To try and get some leverage on this question I looked at their ES Plus/Minus Rating while together (-2) to their ES rating while playing apart from one another. Enstrom is +4 and Havelid is a -1. Using this measure, Enstrom comes out looking better.

ES Goals For ES Goals Against ES +/-
Enstrom + Havelid 27 29 -2
Enstrom with Other D 18 14 +4
Havelid with Other D 14 15 -1

Defensemen are supposed to try and prevent goals, but goals are rare compared to shots. Because shots occur more frequently than goals they can give us a more fine grained feeling for what is going on out there on the ice. When Enstrom and Havelid have been on the ice together this year at Even Strength they have been out shot by a margin of -99. When Havelid played apart at ES the team was out shot by -62 and when Enstrom played apart the team had a positive shot differential of +4


ES Shots For ES Shots Against ES Shot Differential
Enstrom + Havelid 271 370 -99
Enstrom with Other D 142 138 +4
Havelid with Other D 96 158 -62


Perhaps you're thinking "well who did each guy play with when there were apart. Here are the ES playing time minutes for each.

Enstrom ES Partners Minutes Havelid ES Partners Minutes
Havelid 562 Enstrom 562
Oystrick 143 Valabik 122
Schneider 49 Exelby 48
Hainsey 47 Hainsey 33
Valabik 13 Oystrick 28
Exelby 11 Schneider 26
Bogosian 8 Bpgosian 6

Conclusion: Whether we look at Plus/Minus or Shot Differential the stats indicate that Havelid performs about the same whether he is with Enstrom or apart from him. Enstrom on the other hand puts up even better numbers while paired with different partners in terms of team goal and shot differential.