Robert Hagg was adequate and effective enough for the Flyers when they needed him to be. And that is all he’s ever been.
Robert Hagg is never going to blow you away. That’s just not his game. He is a defenseman that steps in when needed and plays just enough to warrant the minutes he gets for the Flyers. They aren’t great minutes, but he isn’t a completely helpless player out there.
Coming into this season, he was expected to be the team’s seventh defenseman. Justin Braun, Matt Niskanen were brought in and Samuel Morin was expected to challenge for a spot on the blue line. Morin’s season ended early and some other injuries allowed Hagg to suit up for 49 games this season.
It was the first time in his NHL career that he had appeared in less than 70 games. He appeared in all 82 last year and was at the 70-game mark the season before. His ice time has dropped tremendously since he debuted officially in 2017-18.
Hagg averaged just over 18 minutes that first year, a few seconds under 17 minutes last year and now over 15 and a half this season.
Most of those minutes this season came with either Justin Braun or Shayne Gostisbehere. The latter was a usual partner of Hagg’s during his rookie season. But both were often not in the lineup at the same time. It was typically one or the other.
The underlying numbers say Hagg and the Flyers should’ve been getting destroyed when he was on the ice. His CF% (43.3) and rel CF% (-10.0) are both career lows. The Flyers were not driving play particularly well as shown by his 44.5 FF%. There was one stat Hagg was performing exceedingly well in.
PDO essentially combines a team’s shooting percentage with save percentage while a specific player is on the ice. The average for most players is typically around 98. Hagg has always been high in that stat, but none higher than his 106.3 PDO this season. He was exceedingly lucky this season. Add in more games and there’s a chance that goes down. But we don’t know if that’s true right now.
Hagg isn’t an offensive guy as he chipped in three goals and 10 assists this season. That was 20th on the team. His game is more the bruising body type who isn’t afraid to take the hit or block a shot. Hagg does lead the team in hits with 136. He averages about 10.67 hits per 60 minutes. As for blocks, he is fourth on the team with 79, averaging 6.20 per 60 minutes.
The Flyers do use him on the penalty kill as well as he averages just over a minute of PK time per game. His 4.44 power-play goals against per 60 are actually among the best between players who typically see penalty kill time. His total time on the penalty kill has to be taken into account, however. Among regular penalty killers, he has the least amount of total time.
Hagg won’t do much more than what you ask of him and that’s okay. Every team needs a player they can plug into the lineup and trust to at least be serviceable on the ice. He is a restricted free agent whenever this offseason comes around.
It’s likely the team offers him another contract. It won’t take much to get him re-signed and his role doesn’t warrant much. The Flyers do have other defensemen up for contracts as well, so take that into account. If they believe they have enough players on the blue line, it would be just as easy to see Hagg head to free agency.