by PuckStopsHere on 07/16/10 at 12:26 PM ET
My next sabermetrics and hockey post is to correct the top individual player’s Corsi Ratings for team effects. One look at the top Corsi Ratings from last season shows that there are an unreasonably high number of Chicago Blackhawks represented (the top three and six of the top 20 are Hawks). This is because Chicago has the best team Corsi in the league and it is easier to have a good individual number when all your team has good ratings.
In order to adjust these Corsi Numbers for team effects we use the same method used for counting +/- ratings. Thus we can rank individual player’s puck possession via Corsi (difference in shots directed at goal by a player’s team and their opposition in 5 on 5 situations) without team effects distorting our numbers. We still have issues from individual player roles (some are used more defensively and others offensively) which we can try to remove with a further adjustment.
Here are the top 20 team adjusted Corsi ratings from 2009/10:
In order to properly do the team correction, I removed any player who player with more than one team in 2009/10. This artificially removes two of the top 20 raw Corsi players in Alexei Ponikarovsky and Ian White. The fact that they are not on this list does not mean that team corrections knocked them off of it; it means that it is not clear how to do a team correction in their cases.
In general, this list is still populated by players on top teams. Carlo Colaiacovo is the only player on it who missed the playoffs. Presumably this is because weaker teams tend to have more defensive zone starts and this is still to be corrected for.
Sidney Crosby makes his first appearance on a top Corsi list. We knew he was a good player, but it is interesting that he doesn’t have the same puck possession numbers of his other Hart Trophy nominees in Alexander Ovechkin and Henrik Sedin.
At the top of the list we have Alexander Ovechkin, who I would have picked as NHL MVP. This is another argument in his case. Duncan Keith led the raw list and comes second on this one. Three Chicago players (Keith, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews) wind up on this list. That is a reasonable number, as a top team needs to have top players, as that is why they are a top team, but it removes some of the players who made it due to team effects.
This is a list of 20 players who were very successful in driving puck possession on their teams last season. It is by no means a ranking of the best players in the NHL. This is because even strength puck possession is only one part of NHL play and everything else is not measured here. This number can be questioned due to different usage of the players in question (zone starts, quality of teammates and opposition). The zone start issue can be corrected and I will do so in the future. The others are much more difficult and cannot be as cleanly corrected. Anyone interpreting this number must keep in mind some of the pitfalls that are not accounted for in its analysis, but it is a good method to show some of the top puck possession players in hockey.
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