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Cam Fowler Has The Worst Team And Zone Adjusted Corsi Rating

In an effort to put Corsi ratings into context to make sense of them, I have corrected the raw ratings for both team and zone start effects.  Team effects are important because good teams will tend to attempt more shots and have fewer shots taken against them than weaker teams.  Zone start effects are important because players who are on the ice for offensive zone faceoffs will tend to take more shots and players who are on the ice for defensive zone faceoffs will tend to have more shots against.  This makes a pretty good individual indicator of puck possession abilities.  The top players had good seasons and the worst players had weak seasons.

One look at the worst player list shows that Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks was the worst adjusted Corsi player in the league.  His -227.12 team and zone adjusted Corsi is the worst among players who played 50 or more games with one team in 2010/11.  It is entirely possible that Paul Mara and Brent Sopel did even worse in terms of puck possession, but as they played with two different NHL teams in 10/11, this makes their team adjustments less certain so they are removed from the study.

Fowler had a bad raw Corsi rating.  He placed second worst in the league.  The only player behind him is Greg Zanon of the Minnesota Wild.  The difference between Zanon and Fowler is that Zanon was used in tough defensive situation.  He placed seventh in the league in defensive zone starts while Fowler started more shifts in the offensive zone than in the defensive zone.  Despite Fowler’s preferential offensive usage, the puck usually wound up going in the opposite direction with Anaheim’s opponents in control.

Fowler is a potential laden young player.  He was selected 12th overall by the Ducks in the 2010 entry draft and scored 40 points in 2010/11.  He even finished eighth in the Calder Trophy voting, but he wasn’t ready as an NHL player.  Defensively he was a disaster.  Fowler had the worst +/- rating on the team.  He was the worst +/- on any playoff team in 2010/11.  Fowler was protected from playing against the best opponents, but he nevertheless struggled. 

At even strength Fowler was not impressive.  He only scored 17 of his 40 points at even strength.  Fowler was most successful on the power play (scoring 23 points).  He needed the extra space of the power play and the chance to not have to worry about defence to succeed. 

Fowler might develop into a solid NHL player one day but he isn’t close yet.  He is a defensive nightmare who was unable to score consistently except on the power play.  When Fowler was on the ice, Anaheim’s opponents (and not their best players) had the puck and often scored.  Fowler was a weak link defensively.  He was an 18 year old rookie who wasn’t NHL ready and his team wasted a year of an entry level deal by keeping him in the NHL.  He has some offensive ability, but needs to learn to create chances at even strength.  He needs to do a lot of work to improve his defence.

Cam Fowler was rushed into the NHL before he was ready.  He showed signs that he might be able to develop into an NHL player someday, when he was on the power play, but he is still a long way away.  Fowler is one of the key reasons that despite a very good top level players in Anaheim (Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, Teemu Selanne, Lubomir Visnovsky and Toni Lydman), the team was not a top NHL club.  They had some very poor depth.  They were the worst team in the league ranked by team Corsi ratings.  This was largely because their bottom lines were dominated by opponents.  No player was more overpowered by his opponents than Cam Fowler.  In time he may learn to play defence at an NHL level, but he hasn’t yet.  He has a long way to go to get there and the fact that he has been rushed into the NHL as an 18 year old rookie might slow that learning curve.

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Comments

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have you ever actually watched Fowler play?

Because even fans of other pacific teams will even admit that he will be a star.

He played with a revolving door of #6-7 defensemen all season and was rarely at fault when a defensive breakdown happens.

Posted by defer09 from deferr09@aol.com on 08/16/11 at 06:31 PM ET

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Yes I have seen Cam Fowler play.  Have you?  He was a defensive nightmare who didn’t score much except on the power play.  Maybe he will be a star one day - afterall few players get to play as much in the NHL as he did at age 18 - but it is probably a mistake that he was pushed along as fast as he was.  He would have been better served with another year of junior.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 08/16/11 at 06:55 PM ET

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Classic example of someone using statistics to talk about a player they dont watch.  How well exactly do you expect an 18 yr old rookie to play when his partner is Andreas Lilja, Paul Mara, Andy Sutton or Sheldon Brookbank?  Fowler’s +/- is much much worse than his play because he was covering for his partners all game.  He also rarely saw time with the RPG line at even strength, which was the Ducks only consistent source of ES Scoring.  Obviously his defense needs work, I’m not arguing that, but defensive nightmare is not a term anyone who watched most Ducks games last season would use.

Posted by zdirish17 on 08/16/11 at 07:51 PM ET

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It happens a lot on the internet that people feel their player is being attacked - whether fairly or not - and they feel the need to defend their player.  When your strongest argument is the lie that I must not have watched your player, you have no good argument.

Corsi ratings are a team dependant stat.  You are correct somewhat in pointing that out.  However it is Fowler who “drove” the poor numbers when he is on the ice.  Essentially any player who played with him for any amount of time showed worse puck possession numbers playing with him than playing without him.

It really wasn’t hard to see that if you were honest with yourself.  The problem is the way Anaheim looked at Fowler.  Wow look at that potential laden young defenceman. If he makes a good play you remember it because that fits your preconceived bias.  If he makes a poor play or more commonly was out of position allowing the opponents a chance, it was a minor growing pain for a young potential laden defenceman and was shrugged off and forgotten very quickly.  He was a net minus who cost Anaheim a lot defensively this year, but because of hus youth and potential that was the part of the story you glossed over in your mind.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 08/16/11 at 08:05 PM ET

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It sure sounds like you have never seen him play. or maybe you have seen him play only a few times.

I’m not a fan of anaheim but my team is in the pacific and I watch them play alot and if you think “Fowler MIGHT develop into a solid NHL player one day but he isn’t close yet” then you have no credibility and this is just another example of someone taking nothing except stats into account.

He played with lilja mara and Brookbank every game that I saw and NEVER played with the first line at even strength.

Part of the reason his defensive stats were so bad is because he was playing with the WORST bottom 6 in the NHL. I think Ducks fans will agree with me.

I hate the Ducks as much as the next guy but they have a gem. and If you cant see that then IDK what games you are watching.

Posted by defer09 from deferr09@aol.com on 08/16/11 at 08:14 PM ET

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You say that the good things that Fowler does gloss over the bad ones, but I will bet fact that you havent watched as many Ducks games as I did, and that the opposite is true for you.  You saw Fowler have a bad defensive game, got that impression and every mistake stood out.  See how I can play that back on you? 

Your last post proves to me that you did not watch many Ducks games.  Fowler’s partners were the ones dragging him down, not the other way around as you have said.  Fowler is obviously an offensive minded player, and when he is forced to cover for his partners mistakes shift after shift it is clearly harder for him to succeed.  Not to mention that he was paired with either the Masterson line, which is pretty average defensively, to say the least, or the 3rd line which was any collection of scrubs, he was not in the best position to succeed. 

I use the argument that you havent watched Fowler enough, because you continue to prove that you have not watched Fowler enough.  Yes Im biased as a Ducks fan, but I watched almost every game this past season, and while Cam made his share of mistakes, his partners made infinitely more.

Posted by zdirish17 on 08/16/11 at 08:36 PM ET

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I think the reason this has become an I saw Fowler more than you argument is because there is no argument to explain why his puck possession numbers when taking into account his team and his zone starts are worse than everyone else in the league other than to believe your eyes that showed that Fowler couldn’t handle things defensively instead of the hype that he is only 18.

To be completely fair, possibly Paul Mara and less likely Brent Sopel were worse, but since they played on two different teams they got left out of the study due to the problem of their team adjustment.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 08/16/11 at 08:43 PM ET

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Wait, who did Fowler play with for half the season?  OH WAIT PAUL MARA!  Mara was atrocious, as was Lilja which is who Fowler played the majority of his games with. 

But I will keep using that argument, because people who do not watch players play, throw out statistics to sound like they know what they are talking about, when in fact they are misinformed.  Obviously Fowler has a ways to go defensively, no one can argue that but you stick to your stats, Ill stick with what I, and every other Ducks fan sees when we watch our team play.

Posted by zdirish17 on 08/16/11 at 08:51 PM ET

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You only accept statistics when they fit with your preconceived ideas.  You cannot possibly question your precious preconceived ideas.  You make up lies about how many Ducks games somebody you never met watched to explain away the other situations.  It is amazing how many people agree that method except possibly they replace Ducks with another hockey team.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 08/16/11 at 08:57 PM ET

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Alright man, Im obviously wrong, Cam Fowler is the most overwhelmed player in the NHL.  Cant believe we wasted a pick on him, guess weil just have to deal with having a player like him on our defense, I can only hope that Norris trophy candidate Kurtis Foster can carry him along this season, like his partners did last season.  My preconceived ideas are wrong and your preconceived ideas are right, most likely because you have a blog. 

But hey, Corsi ratings tell all so the Ducks were the NHL’s worst team last season right?

Posted by zdirish17 on 08/16/11 at 09:22 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

But hey, Corsi ratings tell all so the Ducks were the NHL’s worst team last season right?

No they didn’t.  They showed that Anaheim was the worst team in terms of 5 on 5 puck possession - which is definitely not all that a hockey team does - goaltending, special teams etc are important.  This shows your problem with your rant.  You don’t understand what you are looking at so you are arguing against something nobody believes instead of what is being presented to you.  In fact your whole most recent rant is an example of that.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 08/16/11 at 09:26 PM ET

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My problem with your arguement is that you make a bold statement that Fowler was the most overpowered player in the NHL last season, and back it up with one unimpressive statistic.  Were the Ducks the most overpowered team in the NHL last season?  Of course not.  The Corsi rating may say so, but one statistic does not make something true. 


If all you said was that Fowler was the worst player in this one statistic, fine, I cant argue with a fact.  But you took it much further by saying that Fowler is not NHL ready, which is false, that he is the most overpowered player on the most overpowered team in the NHL, also false to anyone who has seen a period of any Ducks game, and the phrase “defensive nightmare” or something similar was used frequently by Ducks fans, but it was used to describe the player playing next to Fowler 9 times out of 10, and its sage flat out insulting coming from an uneducated opinion on this matter. 

All that has ecome apparent to me through our argument is that you watched the Ducks play in the few times they played your favorite team.  I can admit when Im wrong, but you continue to prove me right.

Posted by zdirish17 on 08/16/11 at 10:00 PM ET

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One of the dumbest articles I have ever read.

You need to watch the games, instead of relying on a computer to form opinions for an 18 year old he was GREAT last year, when he was moved to Anaheims no.1 PP unit the PP improved significantly afterwards.

He is not good defensively YET but it also didn’t help that he’d constantly have to cover for Mara/Lilja/Brookbanks constant mistakes and inabilities to handle the puck.

But you, sir must be smarter than a cup winning coach who has gotten his team to the playoffs 5 of 6 years, 10 goals, 40 points on defense as a rookie…..yup he’s awful and “may” be solid in the future.

having a quality D partner would do wonders for the kid, regardless, go watch baseball

Posted by Awful on 08/16/11 at 10:02 PM ET

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Oh and without Fowler last year Anaheim does not make the playoffs, some mistake keeping him up!

Posted by awful on 08/16/11 at 10:04 PM ET

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and I love how we are supposed to just accept some stat, as opposed to actually watching the games! computers are always right…newsflash this isn’t baseball, stats do not apply in the same manner because hockey is not a constant 1 on 1 matchup, there are tons and tons of variables involved, like I said go be a baseball fan

Posted by Awful on 08/16/11 at 10:06 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

But you took it much further by saying that Fowler is not NHL ready,

Fowler was not NHL ready last year.  It was obvious if you watched him play - if you understood what you watched.

that he is the most overpowered player on the most overpowered team in the NHL,

This I never said.  You made it up to argue with a strawman.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 08/16/11 at 10:07 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

You need to watch the games, instead of relying on a computer to form opinions for an 18 year old he was GREAT last year,

This is your problem.  Instead of rating Fowler as an NHL player, you rate him as an 18 year old.  For an 18 year old he was great, 18 year olds with few exceptions do not belong in the NHL.  Fowler played in the NHL poorly.  He was only really successful on the power play where he got extra room.  But for an 18 year old thats great.  For an NHL hockey player he was really bad in 5 on 5 situations.

And then you offer this gem without Fowler last year Anaheim does not make the playoffs which is 100% false.  It shows you didn’t watch hockey and understand it.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 08/16/11 at 10:11 PM ET

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“They were the worst team in the league ranked by team Corsi ratings.  This was largely because their bottom lines were dominated by opponents.  No player was more overpowered by his opponents than Cam Fowler.”

Your witness. 


Also, there is not a chance Anaheim makes the playoffs without Cam Fowler, are you being serious?  Who is going to take his spot?  Prolly woulda kept Brandon Mikkelson around he would have gotten us there.  No way in hell we make the playoffs without Cam, not even a small chance. 

Also, enjoyed the jab, “if you understood what you watched.”  Clearly an average joe like me is vastly inferior to an accredited hockey analyst such as yourself.  Enjoy your opinions from your sample size.  No one agrees.

Posted by zdirish17 on 08/16/11 at 10:33 PM ET

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Corsi for 2010-11

Fowler : -17.42

His 3 defensive partners over the course of the year
Sutton : -18.74
Lilja : - 19.64
Mara : -19.96

How, exactly, did you somehow determine Fowler was the weak link?

Posted by Ducks DVM on 08/17/11 at 01:46 AM ET

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With or without you is the strongest way.  Read about it here

For the most part all you are showing is Anaheim had a lot of duds on defence and Fowler hurt them the most of those duds because he was given more playing time to do it.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 08/17/11 at 01:52 AM ET

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What it is showing is that Fowler was asked to play the #3 while being paired with a collection of #6’s. It is also showing that the Ducks play a defensive style that promotes a lot of low percentage shots from the outside and that Fowler played with forwards who don’t take many shots.

Fowler definitely has areas to grow defensively but using a team based stat like shots as the be-all end-all of defensive ability is pretty silly. As is saying any rookie who put up 40 points has no business in the NHL. No business playing the #3, sure, but if he was sheltered as the #5-6 we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Pretty strong statement on your part insisting he learned less in the NHL being tutored at home by Niedermayer than he would have in juniors as well.

You also conveniently neglect to cover how Fowler had the 2nd best Corsi of the Ducks defensemen in the playoffs (excepting Sutton’s 1 entire game of 8:18) .

As that site claims it requires hand calculations and spreadsheet work, I’m just not that motivated. But I simply don’t get how the other defensemen did BETTER with others yet were WORSE with Fowler. Simple math says that if they have a worse overall number than Fowler, and they had a higher overall number without him, they must have been FAR worse with him to get a worse overall number. What you are saying doesn’t make mathematical sense.

Posted by Ducks DVM on 08/17/11 at 03:24 AM ET

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Fowler was one of Anaheims best players in the playoffs.

Man they shoulda left him in Windsor and stuck with Paul Mara, that surely would have made them better!

We all know Anaheim had a bunch of bad defensemen, and Fowler was stuck playing with ALL of them at one point or another.

I don’t know how you can sit there and say he was bad if you didn’t watch the games on a regular basis because it’s a byproduct of him learning at the highest level and being paired with players, who are ACTUALLY BAD. and if you look how he finished the season, clearly he was a player improving.

I don’t know how you can sit there and say Anaheim was dumb to keep him. 10 goals and 40 points, turrrrrible. most rookie forwards would be happy with that, and given the fact his minutes went up at the end of the season, playing for a coach that rarely gives rookies alot of freedom, says alot.

But please continue telling us how the computer is right, and not a cup winning coach who won a Norris, and has gotten his team to the playoffs 5 out of 6 years he’s been there.

Once again statistical analysis in hockey is extremely difficult, it is not like baseball where it’s constantly a 1 on 1 matchup, there are to many variables to draw any real conclusions with what’s currently available, making statements like Fowler was bad is just not true if you watched him develop

Posted by Awful on 08/17/11 at 04:21 AM ET

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Fowler was actually our best Dman for stretches in the regular season and the best Dman for us in the playoffs…..alot of times (those of you who play hockey understand this) the Dmen rely on the partner to cover them and watch their back, after all they are a team. So you put a rookie Dman (who’s gonna be a stud soon, watch almost EVERY Duck game like a FAN does and you’ll see this) with pylons like Mara, Sutton, Lilja, Brookbank and you expect him to have a nice positive plus/minus? Oh, and I’ve been following hockey and the Ducks for 15 years and I’ve never even heard of the “Corsi rating” goes to show how much it mean in the grand scheme of things

Posted by Shadow on 08/17/11 at 01:29 PM ET

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I’m sorry but your article is completely biases and laced with stats no one cares about. Have you actually watched any Ducks games? Fowler was saddled with awful partners called Lilja, Mara, Brookbank, and Sutton. Ask any reasonable hockey expert and they will agree they think Cam Fowler is a future stud even if they have their own east coast media bias. Please, Michael Del Zotto and Drew Doughty had great partners their first year and had worse stats than Fowler.

Posted by camfowlerownsyou on 08/17/11 at 02:46 PM ET

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Duck fans, Fowler has all the tools and ability to be a superstar. And as an 18 year old he was amazing. But you can’t argue with his Corsi rating. It was bad, and it supports his -25(ish) plus/minus. I also dislike comparing Corsi ratings across teams, the Ducks were terrible 5v5 is would be impossible for him to have a good Corsi. Personally I saw progression as the year advanced and hopefully with a better bottom 6 and a more cohesive defense we see a lot more improvement defensively this year.

Posted by DuckThyme on 08/17/11 at 02:55 PM ET

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Corsi ratings are stupid.  There are two maple leafs in the top 5 (Clarke Macarthur, Mikhail Grabovski) 2 Islanders in the top 11 (Michael Grabner, Frans Nielson) and two Avs in the top 15 (Daniel Winnik, Ryan O’reilly).  Other than Grabner not one of those guys is a star player on his own team let alone the entire NHL.

Posted by Ryan654 from OC on 08/18/11 at 01:46 AM ET

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Nik Lidstrom had 23 even strength points
Fowler had 17

yet Fowler is a nonfactor on even strength offensively, i guess Lidstrom isn’t much of one either!

Posted by Awful on 08/18/11 at 04:18 AM ET

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One thing to consider is how terrible the Ducks were on faceoffs. Even though a lot of Fowler’s shifts started in the offensive end and ended in the defensive zone getting control of the puck in the offensive zone is an important factor in keeping it there.

Fowler certainly has a lot of work to do but he was a solid contributor to the Ducks and will only get better.

Posted by Jeff from Irvine on 08/20/11 at 12:35 AM ET

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Man there are alot of people making alot of excuses for Cam Fowler here…

Posted by Joel from Dallas on 08/26/11 at 01:34 PM ET

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Making excuses? Oh I’m sorry we should blindly follow the useless corsi rating then? Some people here need to WATCH a Ducks game before talking about Fowler…sadly a lot of people blindly follow stats or ratings. Stats aren’t everything. Defensemen are usually paired together right? So if one partner is a pile of crap the others stats (namely plus/minus) will suffer. But oh no….Cam Fowler is really really bad, I mean a -25 on a team that had such stars as Lilja, Sutton, Mara and Brookbank? Lol he is a ROOKIE and played damn well at the nhl level.

Posted by Shadow on 08/26/11 at 02:11 PM ET

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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.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com