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The Puck Stops Here

Minnesota Has The Worst Team Corsi

Earlier this week I posted the team Corsi ratings from 2011/12.  This is the difference between shots attempted (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) that a team takes and their opponents take in five on five situations.  This is a strong measure of a team’s puck possession ability and is a significant repeatable portion of a team’s success or failure.  Should a team’s Corsi rating not be inline with their standing in the 2011/12 season it is quite likely that they will regress to that level in the future.

The worst team by Corsi rating last season was the Minnesota Wild.  They posted a -802 rating.  This is more than twice the second worst rating posted in the league.  The best teams posted a mid +600’s for their Corsi.  Minnesota was bad at puck possession and they were bad by a significant margin.

Last season the Wild had a remarkably strong start.  They were in first place in the league in late November.  Then things came tumbling down and they finished in 12th place in the West Conference with 81 points.  Given the way the season ended I would have thought Minnesota was a contender to finish in last place in the 2012/13 season.  They are largely a team without direction.  Under coach Jacques Lemaire they had been a very tough defensive team to play against.  Coach Mike Yeo has not managed to organize his team into such a strong defensive system.

The big change in the Wild’s situation occurred because of free agency.  They signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to 13 year deals.  These were the most significant free agents available this summer.

The question to ask is how much of a change will that make to the success of the Wild organization.  Can you add two players and turn everything around?  This is a questionable idea.  In a best case Parise and Suter will make a big impact and existing talented player like Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu will have strong seasons and the Wild will be a strong playoff team.  It is much more likely that they do not take as big a step forward.  Minnesota may make the playoffs in a lower seed.  It is also quite possible that they fall short of that goal.  It is quite possible that the Wild remain a non-contender despite making a big splash via free agency.  In signing Parise and Suter, GM Chuck Fletcher may have gotten himself fired.  If the team doesn’t make a significant improvement and become a playoff team, their signings could lead to his downfall.  The Wild have a long way to go to be a solid NHL team.  It might be that two big signings are not enough to do it.

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Comments

mrfluffy's avatar

The Wild have a long way to go to be a solid NHL team.  It might be that two big signings are not enough to do it.

Spot on. I’d be damned surprised if they even make the playoffs the next season or two.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 07/20/12 at 03:04 PM ET

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You might be surprised then, Mr Fluffy. The Wild had the third most man games lost last season (400 games, behind Philadelphia - 452, and Montreal - 437). A great article was just posted on Springing Malik attempting to quantify the effect of injuries by using GVT numbers. In Malik’s analysis the Wild finished third behind Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (meaning they were third most effected team). In the past four years the Wild have been one of the most injury prone teams, losing 1,392 man games (third most in the league).

Suter and Parise instantly give the team more depth. If the injury bug strikes it might mean that a second line player moves up to the top line instead of third and fourth liners like last year. The bottom six won’t be made up of career minor leaguers unless things go real bad. Add in one of the best prospect pools in the league with quite a few guys ready to get a chance in the big league and the Wild have a ton more depth than last year.

I’m not saying injuries are an excuse for losing. A General Manager should have enough depth guys to fill in when other players go down. The Wild didn’t have that last year. Now? They are looking a lot better.

Posted by Tom from Kansas on 07/20/12 at 08:35 PM ET

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A few things:

1) Take our theory that Minnesota was a poor team that somehow was in first 30 games into the season. GVT won’t reflect that. GVT will “see” a great team. So when the injuries pile up, well, Springing Malik’s method “sees” a lot of important players lost. These players would be overvalued by GVT (and he notes this caveat—small sample size).

2) 26 GVT should be around 5 wins at the most, or 10 points. But if you look at the middle of that chart, teams with average injury importance are losing around 13 GVT. So chop the 10 points in half to get ~5 points lost to injury more than your average team. That takes Minnesota to 86 points, still ten points short (nine points to tie for 8th, but they’d lose the tiebreaker. Minnesota actually had the second fewest regulation/ot wins in the entire league, despite being 24th in points).

Are the Wild ten points better now? It’s tight. Parise and Suter should get you 25-30 GVT, but on the other hand, both Backstrom and Harding had their best save percentage in three years, so both may have some more troubles this season. Furthermore, Backstrom is getting up there in years. Throw in Granlund and a bounce back from Koivu (his rate stats were uncharacteristically bad) and I think the Wild make the playoffs, but just barely.

Keep in mind they also need to leapfrog some team. Vancouver, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, San Jose, and LA are all playoff locks. Colorado got better, Anaheim under Boudreau and with a bounce back from Getzlaf and Hiller should challenge for a playoff spot, Dallas I think got better, Edmonton got better, and even Columbus got better (Bobrovsky is a much better goalie than Mason, I think, and I’ve felt goalie was the biggest problem by far with the Jackets). It’ll be hard, and if one of those teams gets hot, they could steal Minnesota’s playoff spot.

3) I get the feeling this team can challenge for a Cup within three years with a much better system in place. That roster looks good to me, and Granlund, Brodin, and Coyle should be on the team within two years. But a new system probably means a new coach.

Posted by Ralph on 07/24/12 at 02:09 AM 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.

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