In the 2008/09 season, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins led the league in scoring with 113 points. He finished second in the Hart Trophy voting behind Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. Does this mean that Malkin is the second best player in the NHL or did the circumstances of how he was played serve to improve his statistics?
Malkin was heavily played in offensive situations by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In fact, he had the third most prominent offensive zone starter in the NHL last season. This is quite a significant achievement given that Pittsburgh did not have a great season in terms of puck possession. They had more defensive zone faceoffs than offensive zone ones. They finished with a negative team Corsi number. They were a team that got on a hot streak in time for the playoffs, but they had not been dominant in the regular season. In fact, at times during the regular season they looked as though they might miss the playoffs.
When we look at the top 20 offensive zone starters, we see that Ed Jovanovski leads the league. He has a significant lead on anyone else in the league. Jovanovski has 168 more offensive zone starts than defensive zone starts. Patrick Kane of Chicago is in second place well back at 139. This is an amazing total given that Phoenix had the worst team Corsi Number in the league last season and had many more defensive faceoffs than offensive faceoffs to take last year.
Given that Jovanovski is the highest paid player on the Coyotes with a $6.5 million salary cap, this isn’t good enough. He should be the player who leads the team and does the hard work to make the team win. In Phoenix, it is Zbynek Michalek and Kurt Sauer who play the tough roles. They are on for the most defensive zone starts in Phoenix.
Recently in this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have introduced the concept of zone starts. I recently listed the top 20 defensive zone starters, the players who most frequently are on the ice for faceoffs in their defensive zone and not those in their offensive zone. This is a measure of players who play tough defensive roles with their teams and are thus more likely to have poor Corsi Numbers. Today I will look at the opposite situation, players who are on the ice for the most offensive zone faceoffs minus defensive zone faceoffs. These numbers were pulled from NHL game summaries by Vic Ferrari at Irreverent Oiler Fans.
Here are the top 20 offensive zone starters in the 2008/09 season:
In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have recently introduced the concept of zone starts. This is the tabulation of the number of times a player is on the ice for a faceoff in a given zone on the ice (offensive, neutral or defensive) over the course of the season. In order to see the correlation of these numbers with Corsi Numbers, these zone start numbers are restricted to 5 on 5 situations. The raw data has been tabulated by Vic Ferrari at Irreverent Oiler Fans.
Today I will present the list of the 20 players who were most preferentially used in defensive situations. These are the twenty players who were on the ice for the most defensive zone faceoffs minus offensive faceoffs.
In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number. I have published top 20 and worst 20 adjusted Corsi lists with Corsi Number treated as both a counting stat and a rate stat. Here are the top 20 and worst 20 adjusted Corsi numbers as a counting stat and the top 20 and worst 20 adjusted Corsi numbers as a rate stat. It is clear that the players who made the top 20 lists were players who excelled in the situations that they played and those who were on the worst 20 lists failed in their situation. However, it is not clear how tough the role they played on their team was. One piece of the context, which helps to interpret if the player failed because they are not NHL calibre players or because they played in a tough role in which it would be hard for any player to excel is important to try to make sense of Corsi Numbers, is which zone they tended to take faceoffs in.
In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number. The Corsi Number is the difference in the number of shots directed at the net (shots on goal, blocked shots and missed shots) taken by a team while a given player is on the ice and those taken by his opponents in five on five situations. I recently gave the top 20 adjusted Corsi rates. This is a list of players who excelled in the roles that they played last season. Today, I am listing the worst 20 adjusted Corsi rates. The adjustment method involves calculating a player’s Corsi rate while he is on and off the ice and subtracting them to get the adjusted rate attributed to a given player. This is similar to the adjustment that behind the net does with on/off ice adjusted +/- ratings.
Here are the 20 worst adjusted Corsi rates from 2008/09 among players with 50 or more games played:
In this summer’s look at sabermerics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number. The Corsi Number is the difference in the number of shots directed at the net (shots on goal, blocked shots and missed shots) taken by a team while a given player is on the ice and those taken by his opponents in five on five situations. I have given the top 20 and worst 20 adjusted Corsi Numbers found when treating Corsi as a counting number (total over the entire season). A similar adjustment can be done as a rate stat (per minute of ice time). The main difference between these adjustments is that players who succeed, but in lesser roles on teams are more likely to be found at the extremes of the ratings.
Here are the top 20 adjusted Corsi rates from the 2008/09 season among players with 50 or more games played:
The New York Rangers were the third lowest scoring team in the NHL last season. They averaged 2.44 goals per game, finishing barely ahead of the Colorado Avalanche and New York Islanders. Improving the offence in New York should be a priority. The highest scoring player who finished the 2008/09 season as a Ranger was Nik Antropov, who was acquired on trade deadline day from the Toronto Maple Leafs. His 59 points led the Rangers. Antropov left the team as a free agent when he signed with the Atlanta Thrashers.
Among players who spent the entire 2008/09 with the Rangers, Scott Gomez and Nikolai Zherdev led the team in scoring with 58 points. Both of them are gone. Gomez was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. The biggest scorer from last season acquired in return was Chris Higgins, who is coming off a 23 point year. Zherdev won’t be back with the Rangers either. They have walked away from his $3.9 salary arbitration award to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent. Last year’s three top point scorers on the lowest scoring playoff team will not be back. How can that be a step forward?
This summer in my look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number. They are a good judge of puck possession that is much like +/-, although it comes with different strengths and different weaknesses.
I have ranked the best 20 and worst 20 player adjusted Corsi Numbers. This ranking is done treating Corsi as a counting stat accumulated over the season. It can also be looked at as a rate stat and ranked per minute of 5 on 5 ice time played. To that effect, I have listed the top 20 Corsi rates from 2008/09. Today, I look at the worst 20.
This summer in my look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number. They are much like +/- ratings, except since they include all shots directed at the goal (including missed shots and blocked shots) they give much larger numbers with less random fluctuations in them, They show who is driving puck possession (those players with good Corsis) and remove the element of goaltending from +/-. When players play defensive roles that do not drive puck possession, their Corsi is not always a good method of rating their play (with the best example of this being Jan Hejda). Thus far, I have only looked at Corsi Numbers treated as counting numbers and not as rates (per minute). This is how they are treated at behind the net.
Here are the top twenty players (with 50 games played or more last year) ranked by Corsi per minute of 5 on 5 play:
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
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