by PuckStopsHere on 06/19/14 at 01:52 PM ET
A few days ago, I posted the top 20 players in 2013/14 by adjusted +/-. I then took a look a Matt Niskanen of the Pittsburgh Penguins who was the league leader. My general conclusion is that he is a solid player who was lucky to have a career year and since he is an unrestricted free agent this summer will likely be overpaid as a result. This is quite common when using adjusted +/- to measure puck possession. It is strongly influenced by the small sample size of goals scored. Players who happen to have high team shooting percentages or saves percentages while they are on the ice tend to be overrated by this method. That is the reason people tend to Corsi based rankings.
Today i want to look at another case. The second place finisher in adjusted +/- last year was rookie Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was the second highest rookie scorer with 59 points and posted a +27.0 adjusted +/-. It was a good rookie season for a 23 year old who had not been a high draft pick and was not expected to be a serious Calder Trophy candidate. Was it a career year?
It is hard to accurately project a player who has only played on NHL season. Is that season representative of what we expect into the future? It was Palat's highest scoring season since 2010/11 in the QMJHL. He posted the eighth best PDO in the NHL last year of 1040. There are a lot of reasons to be skeptical of his ability to repeat his 2013/14 season.
This is a typical situation when selecting players by +/-. It will select players who had good years and succeeded in their roles, but it often selects players who had a lot of luck on their side to get there.
I want to look at the worst players by adjusted +/- rating next and see if we see the same results in reverse. Are the worst adjusted +/- rating players people who failed in their role and were often unlikely to do so? Or were the poor adjusted +/- rankings more representative of the individual player. Then I want to look at how much Corsi can better address these questions.
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