by PuckStopsHere on 08/13/11 at 04:21 PM ET
In an effort to put Corsi ratings into context to make sense of them, I have corrected the raw ratings for both team and zone start effects. Team effects are important because good teams will tend to attempt more shots and have fewer shots taken against them than weaker teams. Zone start effects are important because players who are on the ice for offensive zone faceoffs will tend to take more shots and players who are on the ice for defensive zone faceoffs will tend to have more shots against. This makes a pretty good individual indicator of puck possession abilities. The top players had good seasons and the worst players had weak seasons.
One look at the worst player list shows that Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks was the worst adjusted Corsi player in the league. His -227.12 team and zone adjusted Corsi is the worst among players who played 50 or more games with one team in 2010/11. It is entirely possible that Paul Mara and Brent Sopel did even worse in terms of puck possession, but as they played with two different NHL teams in 10/11, this makes their team adjustments less certain so they are removed from the study.
Fowler had a bad raw Corsi rating. He placed second worst in the league. The only player behind him is Greg Zanon of the Minnesota Wild. The difference between Zanon and Fowler is that Zanon was used in tough defensive situation. He placed seventh in the league in defensive zone starts while Fowler started more shifts in the offensive zone than in the defensive zone. Despite Fowler’s preferential offensive usage, the puck usually wound up going in the opposite direction with Anaheim’s opponents in control.
Fowler is a potential laden young player. He was selected 12th overall by the Ducks in the 2010 entry draft and scored 40 points in 2010/11. He even finished eighth in the Calder Trophy voting, but he wasn’t ready as an NHL player. Defensively he was a disaster. Fowler had the worst +/- rating on the team. He was the worst +/- on any playoff team in 2010/11. Fowler was protected from playing against the best opponents, but he nevertheless struggled.
At even strength Fowler was not impressive. He only scored 17 of his 40 points at even strength. Fowler was most successful on the power play (scoring 23 points). He needed the extra space of the power play and the chance to not have to worry about defence to succeed.
Fowler might develop into a solid NHL player one day but he isn’t close yet. He is a defensive nightmare who was unable to score consistently except on the power play. When Fowler was on the ice, Anaheim’s opponents (and not their best players) had the puck and often scored. Fowler was a weak link defensively. He was an 18 year old rookie who wasn’t NHL ready and his team wasted a year of an entry level deal by keeping him in the NHL. He has some offensive ability, but needs to learn to create chances at even strength. He needs to do a lot of work to improve his defence.
Cam Fowler was rushed into the NHL before he was ready. He showed signs that he might be able to develop into an NHL player someday, when he was on the power play, but he is still a long way away. Fowler is one of the key reasons that despite a very good top level players in Anaheim (Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Teemu Selanne, Lubomir Visnovsky and Toni Lydman), the team was not a top NHL club. They had some very poor depth. They were the worst team in the league ranked by team Corsi ratings. This was largely because their bottom lines were dominated by opponents. No player was more overpowered by his opponents than Cam Fowler. In time he may learn to play defence at an NHL level, but he hasn’t yet. He has a long way to go to get there and the fact that he has been rushed into the NHL as an 18 year old rookie might slow that learning curve.
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