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Top 20 Players By Defensive Zone Starts

I am taking a look at sabermetrics and hockey this summer.  I have been looking at Corsi ratings and how to turn them into a meaningful individual ranking.  I have produced a top 20 and worst 20 list of team adjusted Corsi ratings.  This is a gage of which players have the best puck possession in 5 on 5 situations relative to that of their teammates.  The main problem with these rankings is that it doesn't take into account the fact that players on the same team play different roles.  Some player more offensive roles and others play more defensive roles.  One way to gage this is using offensive and defensive zone starts.  When a faceoff occurs we record which players are on the ice and in which zone of the ice.  Those who are on the ice for more offensive zone starts than defensive zone ones play more offensive roles and are expected to have higher Corsi ratings than those who play more defensive roles with more defensive zone starts than offensive ones.  This is an effect that can be included into adjusted Corsi ratings. 

First we must know which players have the biggest imbalance in their zone starts.  I posted the top 20 players by excess offensive zone starts.  Today here are the top 20 players by excess defensive zone starts.  These are the players who have the highest number of defensive zone starts minus offensive ones.  These are players who have been unfairly given low rankings in the team adjusted Corsi lists.

1 Jay McClement Toronto 203
2 Maxim Lapierre Vancouver 161
3 Paul Gaustad Nashville 158
4 Boyd Gordon Phoenix 142
5 Adam Hall Philadelphia 139
6 Nikolai Kulemin Toronto 125
7 Vernon Fiddler Dallas 123
8 Jeff Halpern Montreal 122
8 Eric Nystrom Dallas 122
10 Sean Couturier Philadelphia 110
11 Mark Giordano Calgary 109
12 Kyle Brodziak Minnesota 108
13 Mikhail Grabovski Toronto 106
14 Jay Bouwmeester Calgary/ St Louis 105
15 Chris Kelly Boston 102
16 Dion Phaneuf Toronto 100
17 Shea Weber Nashville 96
18 David Legwand Nashville 94
19 Marcus Kruger Chicago 91
20 Brandon Sutter Pittsburgh 90
20 Zenon Konopka Minnesota 90

This list actually contains 21 players due to a tie at 20th place.  We can clearly see that there is a correlation between a low team adjusted Corsi and a high number of excess defensive zone starts.  Five of the worst eight players by team adjusted Corsi are on this defensive zone starts list. Jay McClement who has the worst raw Corsi rating leads this list.  His poor Corsi is largely a result of the role he plays on his team.  When we adjust the team adjusted Corsi ratings using these zone start numbers we will get a more reliable individualized puck possession ranking.

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Da lil Guy's avatar

Sometimes it’s misleading to try to bring together a bunch of different measurements and try to show what they all mean when they’re mashed together into some sort of ‘good player index’, but I think you’re doing a good job of showing us what all of these different numbers tell us (and what they don’t tell us) about the players and teams involved.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 09/06/13 at 12:31 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.

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