Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Worst Corsi Player

Which player in the NHL has the worst Corsi?  Corsi is a measure of attempted shots when a player is on the ice at even strength.  Attempted shots mean missed shots, blocked shots and shots on goal.  We calculate the number of attempted shots taken by the player's team and subtract those taken by opponents.  This number is useful because it is a measure of puck possession.  A team that attempts a lot more shots than their opponents has the puck.  So which player is on the team that plays without the puck the most while he is on the ice?  That player has the worst Corsi in the NHL.

If I told you that the worst Cori player is the player who plays on the worst Corsi team would that surprise you?  It probably wouldn't.  Puck possession is largely a team skill.  Although we can extract individual player contributions, it shouldn't surprise you if the worst Corsi player is on the worst Corsi team.  The worst Corsi team in the NHL this year is the Colorado Avalanche.  Which Av player should have the worst individual Corsi?  Probably the logical guess is the guy who has the most playing time.  The more you play on the worst Corsi team, the worse your Corsi would be expected to be.  That is the case.  Francois Beauchemin, the Avs leader in playing time has the worst Corsi in the NHL.

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Vezina Trophy Leader

It was a week before Christmas when I picked Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals as the Vezina Trophy leader.  Listening to commentators in the All Star Game it seemed as though Holtby had already been coronated as the top goalie in the NHL.  However things are not so clear, Holtby is leading the league in wins.  Potentially he could set a wins record this season.  However he is only one win ahead of Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks, so that doesn't make him unique.  Wins are not a great individual stat.  Teams win games.  Neither Holtby nor Crawford would be wins leaders if they didn't play for top teams.  Also wins today are easier to obtain since no games end in ties creating more wins for goalies to pick up.  When we look at his other numbers, Holtby is not the league leader.  He is not the saves percentage leader.  His .928 saves percentage is good but a few goalies are doing better.

I think Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers is the Vezina leader at this point.  He does not have the same quality of team in front of him as Holtby or Crawford but he is still putting up very good numbers.  Luongo has a .930 saves percentage and a 2.11 goals against average.  No goalie has more games played and a better saves percentage.  Florida's success so far this year is largely built on Luongo's back.

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AHL Top Scorer

Just before the AHL All Star break, I reported that Seth Griffith of the Providence Bruins (Boston affiliate) had taken the AHL scoring lead.  He didn't manage to hold onto that lead into the All Star break.  With two point nights on the last two days of games before All Star break, TJ Brennan of the Toronto Marlies (Maple Leafs affiliate) took the lead.  He has 47 points in 46 games and is one point ahead of Seth Griffith.  Griffith has 11 fewer games played, hence Griffith will likely retake the lead if he remains in the AHL.

TJ Brennan is a defenceman.  He is 26 years old.  He has 46 NHL games over the years with Buffalo, Florida and Toronto.  He has been a successful offensive defeceman at the AHL level.  He scored 72 points in 2013/14, his last full AHL season.  Brennan has not yet been able to show an NHL team that he has the defensive ability to play at the NHL level consistently and he hasn't been given the frontline ice time to be a scorer.  He may earn an NHL shot this season.

Brennan is a very good scoring defenceman at the AHL level.  He currently holds the AHL scoring lead.  This position has been heavily contested recently with two more players within three points.  As long as Brennan stays in the AHL and does not get called up to the NHL he could hold onto the lead but there are other contenders who are scoring at a better rate who may overtake him.

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How Will They Make The Floor?

The Winnipeg Jets are likely a non-playoff team.  They are currently last in the Central Division with a 22-28 record with three regulation tie points.  This gives them 47 points, which is eight fewer than anyone else in their division.  They are also the lowest salary team in the NHL.  General fanager has them at $59.8 million right now.  The NHL's floor is $52.8 million this year.

Two key Jet players are unrestricted free agents this year.  Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd are quite likely to be playing for other teams next year.  They are involved in trade rumors as the trade deadline gets closer this year.  If they left Winnipeg more than $9 million will be leaving.  Assuming nobody was brought in to replace them, this would put Winnipeg below the salary floor.

There is no current Jet who looks like a candidate to get a significant pay raise to fill their spots in the Jets salary scheme.  The Jets would have to bring in players from elsewhere in order to make the salary floor.  More than likely if Byfuglien and Ladd were traded, they would be traded for prospects who would be cheap and may not be NHL ready yet.  There is likely little salary coming back.  No salary comes back at all if they are allowed to leave as free agents.

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Worst Team Corsi

Today, i thought I would look at the team with the worst team Corsi.  They are the Colorado Avalanche.  They have a -529 team Corsi.  This is 250 points worse than any other team in the NHL.  Thus the Colorado Avalanche are the worst puck possession team in the NHL. 

The Avs have far from the worst record in the NHL.  They have a 27-25 record with 3 regulation ties.  This gives them 57 points.  If the season ended now they would be a playoff team.  Alarmingly, the worst puck possession team in the NHL has a winning record.  How is that possible?

A common reason why teams perform significantly differently from what their Corsi predicts is special teams.  Corsi is measured in 5 on 5 play.  It does not measure special teams at all.  This isn't the answer in Colorado.  The Avs have a 19.9% success rate on the power play.  That is good enough for ninth best in the league.  Their penalty kill has a 79.8% success rate.  That is a lacklustre 22nd place in the league.  Special teams do not explain the Avs success despite poor puck possession.

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Thoughts On The All Star Game

I find this point in the season to be a very slow time.  There was only one game over the weekend and it didn't count for anything in the standings.  It is questionable how seriously the players involved in the game were playing.

This year comes with a new format.  The NHL is pushing 3 on 3 as its new fad.  I don't know that it changed much.  In 3 on 3 there is a lot more space on the ice so there will be naturally less checking.  Thus the lack of checking is not as obvious.  By the time the final game came around, the players' competitive instincts and perhaps the $1 million on the line kicked in and there was some checking, but it was far less than any real game.

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I NOW Consider Shea Weber A Hall Of Famer

I like to try to pick out the point where a currently active hockey player crosses the threshold where he establishes himself as a Hall of Famer regardless of what might happen in the remainder of his career.  I believe that Shea Weber has passed that threshold.

Shea Weber is a four time post season All Star.  He made the First Team All Star in 2011 and 2012.  He made the Second Team All Star in 2014 and 2015.  That iin and of itself is likely a Hall of Fame resume.  You would be very hard-pressed to find a two time First Team All Star who is Hall of Fame eligible but not inducted.  They do exist.  For example John LeClair is in this group.  You would be even harder pressed to find a four time post season All Star who is Hall of Fame eligible and not inducted.  They do exist.  Paul Kariya has made five post season all star teams.  Notably these counter-examples tend to play left wing, which is historically the weakest position in the league.  There isn't a defenceman with four post season All Star berths who is eligible for the Hall of Fame and not there.  Thus as long as Weber has a full career to go with thse berths he is a Hall of Famer.

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AHL Top Scorer

The AHL has a new top scorer now that they are in their All Star break.  I reported that Chris Bourque of Hershey (Washington Capitals affiliate) had taken the AHL scoring lead last week.  Last night he lost the lead.  Seth Griffith of the Providence Bruins (Boston affiliate) had a five point night.  This gives him 46 points in 35 games played.  He has a three point lead over Bourque and a one point lead over TJ Brennan of the Toronto Marlies (Maple Leafs affiliate) who also had a good night last night. 

Griffith has missed time in the season in part because he was called up by the Bruins and played two games (with no points) and because of early season injuries.  He has a better point per game scoring rate than the other AHL top scorers and hence is a candidate to hold onto the scoring title if he stays in the league and doesn't get called up to the NHL.

Griffith is a 23 year old who was a fifth round selection of the Bruins in 2012.  He was a good scorer in junior.  He scored 81 points in 54 games in his final year with the London Knights.  He jumped to the AHL in 2013.  He played 30 games at the NHL level last year scoring 10 points.  He is a strong candidate to play with the Boston Bruins before the season ends.  That is the main reason why he may not win the AHL scoring title.

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On All Star Game Suspensions

The NHL has set up a stupid situation.  If a player does a good enough job he gets rewarded with a spot in the All Star Game.  A problem is this reward is rather onerous to collect.  A player must give up a period where the rest of his team is on vacation.  Even if that player wishes to stay in town and not go on vacation, this is a period where one can train and rehab injuries in order to help the player to play better in the stretch drive and potentially help his team win the Stanley Cup.  If a player finds that claiming this reward is too much trouble then he gets suspended for a game.  Thus we have a chain of events where a player gets suspended because initially he was playing well enough to get chosen for a reward.  That should never happen.

This year, two players will have one game suspensions to get the All Star break off (something the vast majority of the NHL already gets suspension-free).  They are Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Both play on teams that are doing well enough that it is highly unlikely that the one game they miss is going to make a difference in the playoff race.  Imagine a situation where a team missed the playoffs by one game and that one game was a loss due to their key player's All Star suspension.

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My All Star Game Injury Replacements

At the beginning of January, I posted my all star teams.  Now that we are in the All Star break, it is time to make a few last minute changes due to injuries.  Of course injuries at All Star time are sometimes subjective.  I may have selected a player different from the NHL selection who would get out of the game with an injury and accept a one game suspension after the break ends.  We can never know about those players.  I am assuming that the full list of NHL injuries is accurately given the injury list which is posted on TSN. 

There are four players I selected as All Stars who are injured.  They are James Van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jake Allen of the St Louis Blues, Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.  Ovechkin is a case of a player who is accepting a one game suspension to skip the All Star Game.  The other three have been out for a while.  Of these four players, only Van Riemsdyk is the lone selection from his team, so he must be replaced by a Maple Leaf, but I am free to select anyone in the division who plays the appropriate position for the other three.

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com

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