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Team Corsi Ratings

In some sabermetrics and hockey posts this summer, I have listed the top 20 and worst 20 players by Corsi when listed as counting numbers and the top 20 and worst 20 when listed as rates.  The biggest error in attributing the positions of players on these lists to their playing ability comes from team effects.  Players on good teams tend to have good Corsis and players on bad teams tend to have bad ones.  In order to take this into account we need to know how the various NHL teams stacked up with respect to Corsi.

Corsi is the difference in shots directed at goal (shots on goal, missed and blocked) taken by a team and those taken by their opponents.  In this study, only 5 on 5 situations are looked at.

Here are the thirty NHL teams ranked by their team Corsi in 2009/10:

2009/10 Team Corsi Ratings
1Chicago Blackhawks


2Detroit Red Wings


3Toronto Maple Leafs


4Washington Capitals


5Boston Bruins


6Pittsburgh Penguins


7Phoenix Coyotes


8Ottawa Senators


9Vancouver Canucks


10Calgary Flames


11Nashville Predators


12San Jose Sharks


13New Jersey Devils


14Philadelphia Flyers


15St Louis Blues


16Los Angeles Kings


17Buffalo Sabres


18New York Rangers


19Atlanta Thrashers


20Carolina Hurricanes


21Dallas Stars


22Minnesota Wild


23Columbus Blue Jackets


24Tampa Bay Lightning


25New York Islanders


26Anaheim Ducks


27Montreal Canadiens


28Colorado Avalanche


29Edmonton Oilers


30Florida Panthers


Essentially this is a ranking of how well teams did last year neglecting goaltending and special teams.  It is very hard for a team to do well and not have a good Corsi (and thus good puck possession) and hard for a team to do poorly and have a good one.  The circumstances behind that can be explained by goaltending, special teams and luck. 

Looking at these standings, the Toronto Maple Leafs appear 3rd, which is significantly better than the 29th finish that they had.  I will look into this in a future post, but it shows that the Toronto rebuild is further along than most people realize.  Colorado finished 28th by Corsi and made the playoffs in what was seen as a big improvement for a young team.  I am skeptical that they can keep it up and will write a further post on this.

Chicago led the league, which is suiting for the Stanley Cup champion, but they needed to do well because strong goaltending was not available to bail them out.  Neither Antti Niemi nor Cristobal Huet is among the NHL’s best goalies.  Though they were well back of Chicago, their division rivals in Detroit finished second.  This shows that Detroit is still a team to beat in the NHL.  If their goaltending can hold up with Jimmy Howard, they could take over the position Chicago held now that the Hawks have been significantly dismantled due to salary cap reasons.

Several other predictions for next season are possible from looking at these numbers.  For example, San Jose is not a dominant team according to Corsi.  A weakening in goal (Nabokov being replaced by Niittymaki) could knock them out of the top positions in the league.  Florida was the worst team in the league according to Corsi.  The main reason they were not last overall in the standings was strong goaltending by Tomas Vokoun.  If he leaves as a free agent next summer, we might be looking at a last place team.  Montreal may have made the semi-finals on a strong goaltending performance by Jaroslav Halak.  Since he is in St Louis, he cannot keep up his brilliance and dropping out of the playoffs is quite likely.

In general, good Corsi teams put players in the top player lists when ranked by Corsi and bad Corsi teams put players in the worst lists.  When a player on a poor team ranks near the top or a player on a good team ranks near the bottom it is a noteworthy achievement that shows the value of said player.  Team effects on Corsi Ratings can be normalized out of the data.  I will attempt that in the future.

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Bossy_Rules's avatar

You need to adjust for score effects.  They’re very significant and without adjusting for them you get screwed up results.

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 07/13/10 at 04:50 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

For the record, score effects are the fact that a team that is losing presses harder for a goal and might take more shots and a team that is winning might play a more defensive style and not shoot as much.  That said, I don’t see why I need to correct for them at this point.  They are present but on par with or below other effects.

What is an example of this “screwed up result” that I am getting without the adjustment?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/13/10 at 04:54 PM ET


Toronto being ranked at No.3 is a clear evidence NOT to take this Corsi too much into consideration. 

If you followed Toronto games last season, they basically took shots from everywhere, many of them are not at all real scoring chances.  That is a sign of a “non-confident” team.  That’s why they tend to have many shots on goals.  Also, remember, having lots of shots does not necessarily mean a good puck possession game.  I have seen many times “those” teams like Toronto simply threw shots at the goal (with no real attempt to score) while crossing the offensive blue line.  Also, teams tend to have many shots when they are “trailing” at the games.  How does Corsi take into account of this situation?

In short, Corsi ratings are interesting stats to look at, but CANNOT truly measure a team’s performance.

Posted by Cupwinner608 on 07/13/10 at 11:43 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Corsi is one part of measuring a team’s performance.  It usually does a good job.  I submit that Toronto is further along than you think. Obviously they are not 3rd best in the league - and nobody in their right mind would suggest they are - but there are strong reasons to expect a big improvement from 29th in the upcoming season.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/14/10 at 03:12 AM ET

Bossy_Rules's avatar

Toronto played from behind a lot last year, inflating their Corsi.  Toskala was bad and gave up early goals often.  If you looked at Toronto’s Corsi while tied it may show a number more in line with their overall finish.  A team with a negative goal differential but a positive Corsi can only get their by scoring on a lower % of their shots, allowing a higher % of opponents shots in, or a combination of both.  The score effect has both of these effects.

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 07/14/10 at 02:23 PM ET

Bossy_Rules's avatar

‘can only get there

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 07/14/10 at 02:24 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Bossy Rules

If we look at Toronto’s Corsi while tied, they move up to second in the league.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/14/10 at 03:48 PM ET

Bossy_Rules's avatar

Wow!  I’m surprised.  I agree they weren’t that bad.  They had a low shooting % - I wonder how much of it was bad luck.  Toskala wasn’t even close to an NHL goalie - that’s a great deal of the explanation.  I wonder about the cause of the low shooting %.

Posted by Bossy_Rules on 07/14/10 at 04:49 PM 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.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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