by PuckStopsHere on 07/13/10 at 10:55 AM ET
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:
|2||Detroit Red Wings|
|3||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|12||San Jose Sharks|
|13||New Jersey Devils|
|15||St Louis Blues|
|16||Los Angeles Kings|
|18||New York Rangers|
|23||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|24||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|25||New York Islanders|
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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