by PuckStopsHere on 07/13/14 at 02:39 PM ET
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.
Gunnarsson was fourth in total ice time among Leaf defencemen last season. He plays a physical game and was third on the team in hits. In many ways he was a hold-over from the Brian Burke days. Burke liked his toughness and that excused the holes in his game. Gunnarsson was used in a defensive role and he wasn't good enough to handle it. It is alarming that Gunnarsson had the highest PDO on the Toronto team at 1042 last season. He was lucky to not have posted even worse numbers.
It is questionable as to whether Carl Gunnarsson belongs in the NHL at all. He will have to find his game in St Louis in order to keep his NHL career going. If he playus as poorly as he did last year, he will likely find himself waived and in the AHL. Gunnarsson did little to help his team last year and his Corsi rating goes a long way toward showing it.
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