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.
There is a debate in hockey sabermetrics about what is more important. Are counting numbers (total number of a stat - for example goals) more meaningful that rate numbers (stats per unit time - for example goals per minute played) or vice versa? My opinion is that nothing beats good counting numbers. A fifty goal scorer is a good player and is more valuable than a 20 goal scorer, even if the 20 goal scorer had the same number of goals per minute played. It is often true that players who succeed in lesser ice time have a more limited range of situations in which they can succeed. If they were given the frontline ice time of the 50 goal scorer, their scoring rate would decline because they would have to be played outside the situations where they excel. On the flip side, we are always looking for the next 50 goal scorer and who is a better candidate than a player who has the same scoring rate in lesser amounts of ice time?
I look at Corsi rate lists as a list of players who succeeded (or failed) in the role that they played, but they are strongly dependent upon the role played. It is easier to come up with a ranked list that better fits skill levels from a counting rate list. Nevertheless it is interesting and useful to see who succeeded in their role.
Yesterday I published the worst 20 players by team adjusted Corsi ratings. Sixth worst in the league was Manny Malhotra of the Vancouver Canucks. His team adjusted Corsi was -204.4. I picked Malhotra as third place in the Selke Trophy race for best defensive forward. Is that a contradiction? Does it show that I ignored his Corsi in making that pick?
The answer quite clearly is no. Malhotra is a rare case. He has a significant reason that has not been taken into account. No player starts more shifts in his defensive zone than Malhotra does. It is actually quite significant. Malhotra started 311 more shifts in the defensive zone than he did in the offensive zone in 2010/11. This is a very significant number. It is about 50% more than last year’s leaders.
I continue my summer sabermetrics and hockey posts today. Today I will list the 20 worst players in 2010/11 ranked by team adjusted Corsi. This is the counterpart to the top 20 players. Players on this list are players that had poor puck possession at even strength. In most cases this is because the player in question did not play very well, but in some cases on this list it is a player who played a tough defensive role.
This list is the difference between shots attempted (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) for the player’s team and their opponents in 5 on 5 situations. In order to compare between teams, we calculate a baseline for each team and subtract it from the raw rankings.
A couple days ago I posted the top 20 players in 2010/11 by team adjusted Corsi ratings. Two Toronto Maple Leaf players appear very high in the rankings. Mikhail Grabovski ranks third with a +262.4 rating and Clarke MacArthur comes fourth with a +228.4 ranking. This is higher than one might have expected for either of these players.
Grabovski and MacArthur are some of the better Toronto Maple Leaf scorers. MacArthur was their second highest scorer with 62 points and Grabovski was third with 58 (Phil Kessel was first). For both of these players this was a career best. Both of these players are around their primes chronologically, as they are into the latter half of their twenties. Both of these players drove puck possession for the Leafs in 2010/11.
Yesterday I posted the top 20 team adjusted Corsi rated players from 2010/11. It is a bit surprising to see Dustin Byfuglien of the Atlanta Thrashers led the way.
Byfuglien is a hard player to gage statistically. He had the 12th worst adjusted +/- rating in 2009/10 playing as a forward with the Chicago Blackhawks. He was a player with poor puck possession numbers who took bad penalties. The fact that he was parked in the slot when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup gave him some trade value around the league. In an effort to stay below the salary cap, Chicago traded him to Atlanta. The Thrashers turned him into a defenceman, the position he had played in junior and suddenly he was a significant contributor to the team. He played in the NHL All Star Game and finished seventh in the Norris Trophy voting for best defenceman.
Today I will step beyond the top 20 raw Corsi ratings to incorporate team Corsi ratings. I will adjust Corsi ratings for team effects by the same process as I have done for adjusted +/- ratings. The basic idea is to find a team baseline which is subtracted from each player to make comparisons across different teams. This won’t adjust for difficulty of opposition or defensive zone starts, but it is a start in trying to better put Corsi ratings into context. There will remain players who are higher or lower ranked than one might expect, but much of this can be corrected with further contextual adjustments.
Here are the top 20 players in 2010/11 by team adjusted Corsi rating:
When I listed the team Corsi ratings for 2010/11, the Anaheim Ducks come in last in the league. They have a -779 team rating. This is more than 140 points worse than any other team in the league. How is that possible for a playoff team? How is that possible for a team that finished in fourth seed in the West Conference?
They did have a poor +/- for a team that finished that well of only +4, but that is a positive ranking which is not in line with the worst negative Corsi in the league. They had some strong front line performances. Corey Perry was named MVP. Lubomir Visnovsky finished fourth in the Norris Trophy voting and should have done even better. Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Teemu Selanne and Toni Lydman all put in some solid seasons. The problem was that nobody else did. The remaining depth wasn’t even average. It was bad.
Yesterday the Chicago Blackhawks chose to walk away from the $2.5 million arbitration award given to Chris Campoli. This makes Campoli and unrestricted free agent. Chicago is still rather close to the $64.3 million salary cap. These cap problems remain from their 2010 Stanley Cup run. Chicago had to offload a significant number of talented players including Antti Niemi, Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Cristobal Huet and John Madden. This summer has salary dumps continuing. Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky, Troy Brouwer and now Chris Campoli are gone. Chicago has kept together most of their Stanley Cup core, but their depth has taken a significant hit.
It seems clear that Chicago still requires a backup goalie for next season. They may re-sign free agent Marty Turco or look elsewhere. I doubt that Alexander Salak, a 24 year old with two NHL games played will be their second most experienced goalie next season. With Campoli signed at $2.5 million it would be hard to find room to add this goalie.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
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