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Breaking Down +/- The Roger Neilson Way

from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,

In the 1970s, Hall of Fame coach Roger Neilson developed a new and superior plus/minus system.

Neilson broke down each scoring chance play, for and against his team.

Only those players who contributed to scoring chances got a plus mark.

And only those players who made mistakes on chances against got a minus mark.

In the end, Neilson was able to use individual plus/minus on scoring chances to better rate players.

In 2007, not knowing about Neilson’s approach, but with the goal of coming up with a better way to rate the two-way players of hockey, I started to do this work on all goals for and against the Edmonton Oilers.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink


J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It really is a very good system.  I started tracking something very similar to this at the beginning of last season.  There are differences between my methods and Staples’, but as long as the scoring is done consistently, you really can get an excellent idea of who is truly contributing offensively and defensively with the aid of a subjective-but-consistent single plus/minus stat.

I have also found that defensemen get punished more than forwards (and wingers more than centers). Since I only do this for the Red Wings, all I can say is that it’s part of the system they play. The people with more defensive responsibility are the ones who tend to get burned more often; that’s just how hockey works.

This is fantastic work by Dave Staples. It’s very labor-intensive, but the rewards are great.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/05/11 at 09:45 PM ET

Zaze's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/05/11 at 07:45 PM ET

I was pretty intrigued when I started reading the CSSI posts this season, now I find myself trying to remember and calculate peoples values during the game, thanks a lot for ruining my idle brain time, lol

Posted by Zaze on 12/05/11 at 10:13 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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