Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

New Jersey Is a Top Puck Possession Team

In the 2012/13 lockout shortened season, the New Jersey Devils had the second best Corsi rating in the NHL despite missing the playoffs.  When Ilya Kovalchuk left to play in the KHL, many people picked the Devils to do quite poorly.  I bucked the trend and picked them to have a solid season with the addition of Cory Schneider in goal.  That didn't exactly happen.  The Devils again missed the playoffs.  They missed by five points last season and they again had a top Corsi rating.  The Devils had the fourth best team Corsi in 2013/14.  New Jersey seems to be the one team that most bucks the trend that good puck possession (as shown by a good Corsi rating) leads to success on the ice.  Why is this?

Corsi is not the only thing required to have a winning team.  Anyne who suggests this is probably making a strawman argument against Corsi ratings or totally misinformed.  Corsi only measures puck possession at even strength.  It does not look at special teams at all.  Power plays and penalty kills are important but are not covered at all with Corsi.  Corsi stats are only taken in 5 on 5 situations.  Corsi also does not measure goaltending or shooting percentage.  It only measures the number of shots attempted.  We can get a look at goaltending and shooting percentage in part by looking at PDO - this is the sum of saves percentage and shooting percentage for a given team.  New Jersey had the fourth worst PDO in 2013 and again they had the fourth worst in 2014.  PDO is generally taken as a measure of luck as it is not repeatable on an individual player level.  On a team level this isn't so true.  A team with poor goaltending will have a poor PDO.  New Jersey is an example of this.  In 2013, their goaltending of Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg was the worst in the NHL.  Last season, things were better.  Brodeur played fewer games (though still nearly half of the season's games) and was no better than he had been the previous year.  Schneider was an improvement on Hedberg and he played a larger percentage of games.  This was an improvement, but the Devils remained below average in goaltending thanks to Martin Brodeur.

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LA Kings Have Best Team Corsi

Yesterday I posted the team Corsi ratings from 2013/14.  This is the difference between attempted shots (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) taken and allowed in 5 on 5 situations.  It is a measure of a team's puck possession.

The Los Angeles Kings led the NHL with a +630 team Corsi.  Thus they attempted nearly eight more shots than their opponents per game.  They were the best puck possession team in the NHL.  The Los Angeles Kings also won the Stanley Cup.  How much of a success of Corsi is this?  How much of the Kings Stanley Cup came from their puck possession ability?

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Team Corsi Ratings

My next step in my summertime sabermetrics and hockey series is to look at team Corsi ratings.  This is the difference between shots attempted (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) by a team and their opponent in 5 on 5 situations.  It gages the puck possession ability of a team, which is one of the more reproducible aspects of play if rosters remain the same.  This is not a gage of how good a team is in that special teams, goaltending and ability to create good scoring opportunities are not measured, but if a team has a Corsi very different from their finish in the regular season it is quite likely their regular season result is not repeatable.

These team Corsi ratings are used partly to rank teams and partly as team adjustments to decouple individual players from team effects and thus make Corsi more of an individual puck possession ranking.

Here are the team Corsi ratings in 2013/14:

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Carl Gunnarsson Has The Worst Raw Corsi

Yesterday I posted the worst 20 players in the 2013/14 season by their raw, unadjusted Corsi rating.  This is the difference between shots attempted by their team (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots between a team and their opponents in 5 on 5 situations when a given player is on the ice.  It is a strong gage of puck possession on the team level.  In order to make meaningful comparisons on the individual level we must adjust for team effects and to a lesser degree the role a player plays on his team.

It is expected that the worst Corsi rating in the NHL will go to a poor puck possession player on a poor puck possession team.  This is exactly what happened in 2013/14 as Carl Gunnarsson of the Toronto Maple Leafs was worst in the league with a -480 Corsi.  This means that his opponents took six extra shots per game when Gunnarsson was on the ice than Toronto did.

Gunnarsson's "reward" for this season was a trade out of Toronto.  He has been traded to St Louis along with a fourth round draft pick (Ville Husso) for Roman Polak.  It's a trade fitting of the player with the worst Corsi in the NHL.  A draft pick had to be added to him in order to get a defenceman who will be used more for depth than in a frontline situation.

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Worst 20 Players By Raw Corsi

I have started up my summertime sabermetrics and hockey series by listing the best 20 players in the 2013/14 season by their Corsi rating.  This gave a list of players who were on teams that had strong puck possession when the player in question was on the ice.  Because of the team aspect, the list was limited to seven NHL teams and many placed several players on it.  The players were strong players who helped their team control the puck, but the question of how much is the individual player and how much is the team remains.

Today we will look at the bottom of the barrel.  When these players were on the ice, their opponents controlled the puck.  Since this list does not have any adjustments for team effects, it will be limited to a handful of poor puck possession teams and we will again have the question of how much is the team and how much is the player.  That is a question I will attempt to answer in the future.

Here are the 20 worst players in the 2013/14 season by raw unadjusted Corsi rating:

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Anze Kopitar Has The Top Corsi

Yesterday I posted the top 20 players in the 2013/14 season by their Corsi rating.  This is a measure of a team's puck possession when a given player is on the ice.  We will want to turn it into a more individualized ranking with some adjustments to the numbers, right now it is an extremely team dependent number.  The league leader is Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings with a +507 Corsi.  Six or seven extra shots are attempted per game by Kopitar's team when Kopitar is on the ice than they allow.

Los Angeles is a very strong puck possession team and Kopitar is a very good puck possession player.  This combination of a strong team and a strong player puts him in first place in the league.  The question at this point is how much is Kopitar and how much is Los Angeles.  Is there a player on a weaker team that is a better puck possession player?

We know Kopitar is a good two-way player.  It would be sensible for him to be a top puck possession player.  His adjusted +/- rating is a rougher measure of puck possession and Kopitar finished third in the league last year.  All we can clearly say at this point is Kopitar is a good player.  He is very good at puck possession.  He may be the best in the league, but at this point in the analysis that is unclear.

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Top 20 Players By Raw Corsi

Today I return to my summertime sabermetrics and hockey series by looking at the top 20 players in 2013/14 by raw unadjusted Corsi ratings.  This is the beginnings of an individualized ranking of puck possession ability.  Corsi measures the difference between the attempted shots (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) taken in 5 on 5 situations by a given team and their opponents when a given player is on the ice.  It has been shown to correlate very well with puck possession on a team level.  When looking it as an individual ranking there are several factors which must be removed.  The most obvious is team effects.  A good team is more likely to possess the puck than a bad team.  Thus a player on a good team is more likely to have a good Corsi than a player on a bad team.  In time I will correct for those and other effects.

Here are the top 20 players in the 2013/14 season by raw, unadjusted Corsi rankings:

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Mike Modano’s Hall Of Fame Case

I am completing my Hall of Fame cases for the 2014 player inductees.  I have already written the cases for Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg and Dominik Hasek.  Today I am doing Mike Modano. 

Here was the post I wrote in 2006 when I first considered Modano to be a Hall of Famer and here was the post I wrote when he retired.

In order to make Hall of Fame cases I use the Keltner List.  This list is borrowed from baseball, but easily adapts to hockey and gets to the heart of what make a player a Hall of Famer.

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

No.  I don't think any serious hockey person ever considered Modano to be the best player in hockey.

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Dominik Hasek’s Hall Of Fame Case

I am continuing making the Hall of Fame cases for the 2014 player inductees.  So far I have written the cases for Rob Blake and Peter Forsberg.  Today I am writing Dominik Hasek`s case and in the future I will do Mike Modano`s case.  In order to make their case, I will use the Keltner List which is borrowed from baseball.  This is a list of questions that are designed to get to the heart of what makes a player a Hall of Famer.

Here is the post I wrote when Hasek retired.  I have considered him a Hall of Famer longer than i have been blogging so I do not have a post at that point.

Here is Dominik Hasek`s Hall of Fame case:

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

Hasek was definitely the best player in hockey at a time.  He won the Hart Trophy in 1997 and 1998.  It is rare that a goalie wins this award and unprecedented that he wins it in back-to-back seasons.  Hasek is one of the few goalies who can make the claim that he would have been a consensus choice as best player in hockey in NHL history.

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Peter Forsberg’s Hall Of Fame Case

I continue looking at the 2014 Hall of Fame inductions today by posting Peter Forsberg's Hall of Fame case using the Keltner List.  This is a list of questins used to get to the heart of any Hall of Fame candidates chances.  It was developed for baseball, but works well for hockey as well.  I have already done this for Rob Blake and will do this in the future for the other player nominees Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano.

Here was the post in 2006 when I first considered Peter Forsberg to be a Hall of Famer and here was his retirement post.  This is Forsberg's Hall of Fame case:

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

Forsberg won the 2003 Hart Trophy.  That is a strong argument that he was considered hockey's best player at that point.  I think many people considered him the best player in the game at other points but he often suffered injury and did not play full enough seasons to win the Hart Trophy in other years.  In fact his 75 game total in 2002/03 when he won the Hart was the third highest in his entire career.  I argue that Forsberg was hockey's best player in the five year period from 2000 to 2005; although the lockout in that period reduced the games played totals of all players and likely created the circumstances when Forsberg would look good despite his injury history.

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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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