by PuckStopsHere on 08/27/09 at 02:18 PM ET
In my look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have recently introduced the Fenwick Number. The Fenwick Number is alternative to the Corsi Number. It is an attempt to show puck possession and track players similarly to +/- ratings, but with a smaller statistical uncertainty since it includes more events. Fenwick Number is essentially Corsi Number with blocked shots factored out. It is valuable to try these sabermetrics formulations from various starting assumptions because we want to be certain that any conclusions are not merely artefacts of a certain set of starting assumptions.
Today I present the top 20 player Fenwick Numbers from 2008/09 and compare them to the top 20 Corsi Numbers.
Rank in top 20 Corsis
For the most part this is a shuffling of the Corsi top 20. Only four players appear in this Fenwick list that do not appear in the Corsi list. They are Eric Staal, Martin Havlat, Joni Pitkanen and Ryane Clowe. The four players from the top Corsi list who are missing on this list are Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, Corey Perry and Scott Gomez.
Since blocked shots are not included here and they are with Corsi, the main movers are players who either block a lot of shots (this moves them upward - as shot blocks are not counted as shots directed against them) and players who take a lot of shots that get blocked - typically players who take a lot of slapshots (this moves them downward). Since these numbers count all shots when a player in on the ice in 5 on 5 situation, this may be blocked shots by teammates instead of the player himself, although in most cases that would be a lesser factor.
I like the fact that the Corsi list had two of the three Hart Trophy candidates in the top three positions (Datsyuk and Ovechkin). They have been moved downward in the Fenwick rankings. It is Niklas Kronwall who leads this list as he was among the top shot blockers in Detroit (he finished second to Brad Stuart). There is no claim made that Kronwall is the best player in the NHL based on this, but he had a good season on a good team. Both benefited his Fenwick rating. The fact he is a shot blocker moves him up the list relative to his position on the Corsi list.
The Fenwick list gives a group of 20 players who succeeded well in their roles in the NHL last year and had good puck possession. They are all from teams that had good team Fenwick rankings. It is possible to do a similar adjustment as was done to Corsi rankings to attempt to remove team contributions.
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