by PuckStopsHere on 06/21/11 at 03:19 PM ET
As I continue my sabermetrics and hockey posts, I am looking at the number two adjusted +/- last year. David Backes of the St Louis Blues accomplished this with a +32 rating on a team with a +1.4 baseline.
Backes had a good season last year. He led the Blues in scoring with 62 points. He was the Blues representative in the NHL All Star Game. I think he should be a Selke Trophy nominee. Some people take this too far and suggest he is Hart Trophy candidate.
Backes is a good example of why Corsi ratings are better than +/- because of the statistical noise involved in +/- ratings. At even strength, when Backes was on the ice his opponent`s goaltending had a .883 saves percentage. This is unsustainably bad. It is not a repeatable skill of David Backes to have his opponent`s goaltending perform at a level so poor that they would not maintain an NHL job. This is a fluke. More goals were scored by the Blues with Backes on the ice than would have been with merely adequate goaltending.
While Backes was on the ice, the Blues had a .920 saves percentage, which is quite good. With Backes on the ice, St Louis scored at a much higher rate than would be expected but did not allow them at that rate. Thus counting shots is more meaningful than counting goals. This makes a Corsi rating more useful than a +/- rating.
David Backes had a good season last year. His +/- shows that it was good. The unsustainably poor goaltending that played against Backes magnifies this and makes it look better than it otherwise should be. This is a case study that shows Corsi is a better indicator than +/- because it has less statistical noise.
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