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The Puck Stops Here

Top 20 Players By Offensive Zone Starts

This summer I have been looking into sabermetrics and hockey.  I have specifically been looking at Corsi ratings and their adjustment.  I have produced a top 20 and worst 20 list of players by team adjusted Corsi ratings.  The biggest problem with these lists is that they do not take into account the different ways players can be used on the same team.  The most easily quantifiable difference comes from zone starts.  We record which of the three zones (offensive, neutral and defensive) a player is in when he is on the ice for a faceoff.  This is a measure of how defensive or offensive a player's role is.  A player used in a defensive role will have more defensive zone faceoffs and a player used in an offensive role will have more offensive zone faceoffs.  Similarly a player with a lot of offensive zone starts should have a higher Corsi than one who has a lot of defensive zone starts.  This is another factor we can adjust for.

Today I will list the players with the most excess offensive zone starts.  This is offensive zone starts minus defensive zone starts.  That is the meaningful number when adjusting Corsi for zone starts.  These are players who were used in offensive roles either because they have little defensive value and need to be protected or because they are the top offensive player on their team and you want to maximize their offensive value.  These are players who are overrated by team adjusted Corsi.  That doesn't make them overrated players.  Rather they are players who played a role that should maximize their Corsi.

Here are the top 20 players in 2013 by excess offensive zone starts:

1 Daniel Sedin Vancouver 160
2 Henrik Sedin Vancouver 142
2 Marian Gaborik NY Rangers/Columbus 142
4 Zach Parise Minnesota 136
4 Mikko Koivu Minnesota 136
6 Brad Richards NY Rangers 124
7 Alexandre Burrows Vancouver 117
8 Brian Campbell Florida 112
9 Keith Yandle Phoenix 107
10 Brendan Gallagher Montreal 105
11 John Tavares NY Islanders 103
12 Rick Nash NY Rangers 101
12 Max Pacioretty Montreal 101
14 Jake Muzzin Los Angeles 99
15 Matt Moulson NY Islanders 97
15 Jonathan Huberdeau Florida 97
17 Michael Del Zotto NY Rangers 96
18 Charlie Coyle Minnesota 95
19 Vladimir Tarasenko St Louis 91
20 Marc-Andre Bergeron Carolina 90

If we look at the top 20 players by team adjusted Corsi we see that seven of them are on this list (Both Sedins, Parise, Koivu, Burrows, Pacioretty and Muzzin).  Nobody from the worst players list is on this list.  There clearly is a correlation between excess offensive zone starts and Corsi.  In fact the top two players on both lists are Daniel and Henrik Sedin (on the zone starts list Marian Gaborik is tied for second place with Henrik and Gaborik does not appear in the top Corsi list).  Players who have high spots on this zone start list and are not among the top players by team adjusted Corsi probably wasted their offensive roles.  Players like Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards did not have good seasons despite the offensive roles they were given. 

One interesting observation is that the two teams best represented on this list are the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Rangers.  These teams exchanged coaches this summer.  John Tortorella will be coaching in Vancouver and Alain Vigneault will be coaching in New York.  It seems the strategy of maximizing a group of players offensive zone starts is a common strategy to both teams.  That tactic will not be changing most likely.  While coaches bring with them more than just one tactic, it shows that this exchange of coaches may not change things significantly. 

This list of players who have the most offensive zone starts are players who played in roles that maximized their Corsi ratings.  This is something that will need to be adjusted for to better make sense of Corsi ratings.

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About The Puck Stops Here

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.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com