by PuckStopsHere on 07/17/12 at 07:16 PM ET
A couple days ago I posted the team Corsi ratings for 2011/12. This is the difference in shots attempted (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) taken by a team minus those taken against a team in five on five situations. It is a strong indicator of a team’s puck possession ability. This is an important repeatable part of a team’s success or failure. It clearly does not tell the whole story (goaltending, special teams..) as to which team is best in the league but it is the largest predictable piece of the pie.
Last season the Detroit Red Wings narrowly led the league with their Corsi of +648. This beat out Pittsburgh at +644 and Los Angeles at +636. That shows that those three teams were the best in terms of puck possession last season and Detroit was the best of the group by a small margin.
Detroit was one of the better teams in the league last season. They finished with the fifth seed in the West Conference. That is a good distance back from first overall where their Corsi was. Detroit was only three wins back of the Presidents Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks. They were closer to being the best team in the league than many noticed. They were kept a bit back in the standings due to lacklustre special teams. Detroit had only the 22nd best power play and the 18th best penalty kill. Their goaltending was not spectacular. Jimmy Howard is a solid goalie but he has never found himself as a Vezina candidate.
The question regarding Detroit this season is how will they do this season without Nicklas Lidstrom in their line-up. He was their best player for the last decade. He is irreplaceable on the Detroit defence. There is little question that they won’t be as good a team next season. However when we realize that they were closer to the top of the league than many realized with a first round playoff loss without home ice advantage, they likely won’t find themselves too far out of the race. Detroit may drop a bit in the standings but they should have little trouble remaining in the playoffs.
As Corsi shows us Detroit was the best puck possession team in the regular season at five on five. They likely won’t stay at that level next year as they are without Nicklas Lidstrom. Pittsburgh was only four points behind Detroit in a year that they played without Sidney Crosby for the majority of the year. Los Angeles was 12 points back and had a strong finish to the season after trading for Jeff Carter and then winning the Stanley Cup. In all likelihood they will be among the teams ahead of Detroit but the Red Wings will remain a solid team even without Lidstrom.
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