by PuckStopsHere on 07/15/14 at 09:29 PM ET
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?
The first comment that needs to be made is the Corsi numbers come from the regular season only. Thus Los Angeles was the best puck possession team in the regular season. The playoffs are often more difficult to rank teams because half the teams lose in the first round and play only a handful of games and thus have some statistically insignificant numbers. The Kings strong puck possession lasted into the playoffs and it is a significant part of their Stanley Cup win but it is not the only reason they won. They were the best puck possession team in the NHL in the regular season and they finished in 11th place in the regular season. While puck possession is important, it is nowhere near 100% of hockey.
How can the top puck possession team in the NHL be that far back in the standings? There are several areas of hockey that Corsi does not cover at all. It doesn't cover special teams. LA had the fourth worst power play in the NHL with a 15.1% success rate. That costs the team offensively. Their penalty kill was 11th in the league with an 83.1% success rate. Corsi does not take into account goaltending. Los Angeles has good goaltending although Jonathan Quick did not have the strongest regular season posting a .915 saves percentage (which is quite average). Quick is probably a better goalie than these numbers suggest - although they did not improve in playoff time. Corsi also does not measure the quality of shots taken by the LA Kings. The Kings were the fifth lowest goal scoring team despite above average numbers of shots on goal. Los Angeles was unable to score as much as would have been expected from the shots they took.
Los Angeles is a good team. They won the Stanley Cup. They led the NHL in puck possession stats such as Corsi. They did not score as many goals as their Corsi might have suggested. Their goals total was low because of a poor power play and because of poor finishers in their line-up. Corsi does not measure everything in hockey. It is often an attack on Corsi to suggest this. Their puck possession shows Los Angeles was a good team. Their regular season standing also shows they are not the best team in the NHL. They won the Stanley Cup. As one of the better teams in the NHL, this is not too unlikely an event. Anyone who suggests that their league leading regular season Corsi made it inevitable or even very likely is lying to you. If the season was repeated under the same circumstances, it is most likely the Los Angeles would not have won the Stanley Cup. There are several other teams of roughly the same calibre and they could have just as easily been the champs. The Kings deserve congratulations because they won the Stanley Cup but they are far from the most dominant team in the NHL. Their Corsi rating makes no counter claim to that.
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