The league leader last year in excess defensive zone starts was Steve Ott of the Dallas Stars. He was on the ice for 326 more defensive zone faceoffs than offensive zone ones. This shows that he played a pretty tough defensive role for Dallas. Despite that, Steve Ott did not appear on a single Selke Trophy ballot. Are these facts inconsistent?
Ott played a pretty tough defensive role, but he did not receive recognition for it. Part of the problem is one of recognition. The Selke Trophy is voted upon largely by reputation. Increasingly, offensive totals are taken into account and Ott had a 12 goal, 32 point season which is not particularly spectacular.
I continue my sabermetrics and hockey posts by looking at the players with the largest excess of defensive zone starts. These are players who play tough defensive roles with their teams and as a result their offensive numbers and puck possession numbers will suffer. In order to compare them with players who have more traditional usage, this must be taken into account. It is the opposite of the offensive zone starters that I have already looked at.
Here are the 20 players with the highest number of excess defensive zone starts in 2010/11:
There are many reasons why players suffer sophomore jinxes in the NHL. One of the more predictable reasons is that the player was treated with kid gloves in his rookie season. His team was careful not to put him in a situation where he would be “over his head”. Now in a second season, he has to play a bigger role with his team and he is no longer as well protected as there is a new rookie to play the protected role.
One way to identify protected players is to look at offensive zone starts. Some players were played preferentially in offensive situations and not in defensive ones. Hence they will have a significant imbalance of offensive zone starts over defensive ones.
Two rookies placed quite high on the offensive zone start list. Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers placed ninth and Kevin Shattenkirk of the St Louis Blues placed tenth. This makes them strong candidates for a sophomore jinx.
Yesterday I posted the top 20 players by offensive zone starts. The three players who are well ahead of the rest of the pack are Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and their linemate Alexandre Burrows. Daniel Sedin has over 60% more excess offensive zone starts than any player on any other team.
The Vancouver Canucks are the team that most uses offensive zone starts strategically. They make more effort to start their best offensive player’s shifts in the offensive zone and have defensive players like Manny Malhotra who get the excess defensive zone starts. This increases the Vancouver Canucks team offence. This increases the offensive numbers that the Sedin line gets.
I play in a 30 team deep keeper fantasy hockey league. The league has been in existence since 1999 and has an opening for one or two quality GMs. This could be a many year commitment to a strong fantasy hockey league. This is the busy time of our summer. We will soon have to submit our protected lists and have our entry/waiver draft for the new season within the next couple of weeks.
Should you be interested please send me an email through my profile or leave a comment with contact information. Tell me a bit about yourself - age, location, fantasy hockey experience.
The next step in the sabermetrics and hockey problem of making sense of Corsi ratings is to take into account zone starts. This is a recording of which zones (offensive, defensive and neutral) a player is on the ice for faceoffs. Players who have an excess of defensive zone starts will tend to have a worse Corsi because it is easier for their opponent to take a shot when they start on offence and vice versa for players with an excess of offensive zone starts.
When I tabulate offensive zone starters, I am talking about the imbalance between offensive and defensive zone starts. These players are a combination of offensive players who were used in offensive situations and weak defensive players who are not trusted in their own zone. These players should show a noticeable increase in their offensive numbers as a result of the way they are used.
Yesterday the road to a new New York Islander arena got a little longer. It isn’t too surprising that Nassau County voted down the $400 million municipal bond to help fund a potential new arena. 57% percent voted against the bond. In the current political climate it would be very hard to pass a bond for local government funding of an arena anywhere in the US. This is not a particularly surprising turn, but it is being sold by Islanders ownership as a major blow for the team.
The New York Islanders currently play in the Nassau Coliseum, a 39 year old facility which is no longer an NHL quality arena. Their lease ends in 2015 and the Islanders want to have a new arena in place. This referendum loss signifies the start of the full court press. The Islanders will likely build a new stadium in New York City within the boroughs of Queens or Brooklyn and will press hard for as much government funding as possible for its construction. They will likely threaten to move to places like Kansas City, Las Vegas and Quebec, but those are likely empty threats as the New York market is too big to vacate.
Last night I posted the worst 20 players by their adjusted Corsi rates. The worst player on the list is Tanner Glass who played in 2010/11 with the Vancouver Canucks and signed as a free agent with the Winnipeg Jets this summer. Glass has a -29.5 Corsi per 60 minutes of even strength ice time. This is about six points worse than any other player in the league. Glass isn’t a particularly good player and this is evidence of it.
As with any Corsi statistic, context is important. There are a few reasons that help explain why Glass had such a poor Corsi rate, but none are big enough to explain away the fact that he had a poor season. Glass played with the Vancouver Canucks, who were a very good team. They won the Presidents Trophy. The rate adjustment system used here, which was created by behind the net, which compares a team’s performance when a player is on the ice and off the ice, compares a player to his teammates and Glass had as good teammates as anyone in the league.
A few days ago I posted the top 20 players by their adjusted Corsi rate. This uses the adjustment scheme used by behind the net which adjusts rates by comparing the values obtained when a player is on the ice compared to when they are off of them. I think this is a very good list for finding ineffective NHL players. Rate lists often select players who play in a limited role. Players who struggle and have poor Corsi ratings in limited ice time are not very good hockey players. On the flip side, it is not as clear that players who have good Corsi rates in limited situations are top players because they may not do as well in more expanded roles.
In order to have a meaningful adjustment, I have limited this list to players who played 50 or more games in 2010/11. Here are the worst 20 adjusted Corsi rates in 2010/11:
As July is pulling to a close, the unrestricted free agents remaining have few offers. A portion of those who remain will get some likely undervalued contract offers, but others will be forced into retirement or into other hockey leagues. Of those that remain, I think the best bet is clearly Nikolai Zherdev.
Zherdev played last season with the Philadelphia Flyers. In 56 games he scored 22 points. He wasn’t given much of an opportunity with the team but he did well in the time he was given. He only played 12:51 per game. He succeeded in that ice time. This is shown by his sixth best Corsi rate in the league.
Zherdev has a track record of bigger offensive success than he showed last year in his limited ice time. In 2008, he scored 61 points with the Columbus Blue Jackets and in 2009 he scored 58 points with the New York Rangers. That kind of player could help any team.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
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