Who is Dylan Reese? And why the Canucks should snag him

Dylan Reese.

I’d never heard of the guy, I’ve never seen him play, but his name popped up in two places of note: a spreadsheet, and this particular tweet:

There’s a reason Thom forwarded me that tweet.

Dylan Reese is a defenceman who played for the New York Islanders and Bridgeport Sound Tigers who has 74 career NHL games, and 3 goals, to his name. He is an unrestricted free agent this season.

Vancouver ought to sign him as a depth guy.

When I was just scrolling through some names haphazardly, I came across Reese’s name as a player with good possession (Corsi) numbers and decent enough quality of competition and zone start ratios. Check this out:

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Year GP  TOI/60  Corsi Relative  Corsi Rel QoC  Off Zone Start % 
2012 28 15.74 7.3 0.347 48.6
2011 27 12.84 2.5 -0.013 49.5
2010 19 13.2 0.8 0.269 43.2

He plays so little, yet last season he had a very good campaign, although just got into 28 games. He wasn’t really hurt, even. He missed 11 games to a strained MCL in February but returned. He was sent down and called back up twice, and six times in 2011.

Now he’s an unrestricted free agent. How do his numbers stack up against other New York Islanders defencemen?

Year Corsi Rank QoC Rank Ozone Rank
2012 2 of 7 4 of 7 4 of 7
2011 3 of 10 9 of 10 9 of 10
2010 4 of 8 4 of 8 1 of 8

He’s steadily improving, and is the type of player you can send out against moderate competition and see him control possession. Somehow. When he’s on the ice, the play is primarily in the offensive zone.

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Look how he’s helped out his teammates and restricted his opponents. I filtered the goalies out of both lists and took his top 50 opponents:

  With Reese Without Reese
Teammates 0.501 0.479
Opponents 0.488 0.505

Reese’s teammates are much better off with Reese on the ice over three seasons by zone-adjusted Corsi rate. Pretend that that’s just the amount of time spent in the opponent’s end of the ice. Reese’s teammates are much better off with him on the ice, and Reese’s opponents are much better off with him not on the ice.

Just one of those things. I’ve never seen the guy play, but he’s worth a look going into free agency. Robert Vollman of ESPN Insider also brings it up as a possibility in the ESPN Insider piece (paid link) calling Reese “an ideal low-risk upgrade over Ballard, Alberts and Rome on Vancouver’s third unit.” It doesn’t specifically say, like the tweet above did, that the Canucks were interested in Reese, but maybe they ought to be.