by PuckStopsHere on 09/18/13 at 12:48 AM ET
I have been looking at sabermetrics and hockey this summer. Specifically, I have been looking into making Corsi ratings into a meaningful ranking of players. Corsi is a measure of puck possession found by comparing attempted shots by a team and their opponents in 5 on 5 situations when a given player is on the ice. Raw rankings can be strongly dependent upon the team for which a player plays. Thus I removed team effects. These rankings are now strongly dependent upon the role a player plays with his given team. This is measured by looking at the excess zone starts a given player has. For each extra time he is on the ice for an offensive faceoff his Corsi will be on average 0.8 units higher. This effect is removed. The problem here is this is partially accounted for in the team adjustment and the team excess zone starts must not be double counted.
This gives a pretty good list of players who drive the puck possession when they are on the ice. Since team and zone start effects are removed we have removed the main effects that bias these rankings.
This is not a ranked list of the best players in the NHL. Puck possession is only one part of hockey and this is a solid, but imperfect method of measuring it.
Here are the top 20 players in 2013 by team and zone adjusted Corsi:
1 Patrice Bergeron Boston +244.64
2 Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh +193.84
3 Chris Kunitz Pittsburgh +180.24
4 Tyler Seguin Boston +176.44
5 Zdeno Chara Boston +168.44
6 Paul Gaustad Nashville +162.76
7 Justin Williams Los Angeles +161.12
8 Pascal Dupuis Pittsburgh +155.04
9 David Clarkson New Jersey +152.84
10 Brad Marchand Boston +146.04
11 Jakub Voracek Philadelphia +139.64
12 Dan Boyle San Jose +135.96
13 Anze Kopitar Los Angeles +134.12
14 Kris Letang Pittsburgh +132.84
15 Jordan Eberle Edmonton +132.6
16 Henrik Sedin Vancouver +131.2
17 Daniel Sedin Vancouver +126.8
18 Clarke MacArthur Toronto +124
19 Lubomir Visnovsky NY Islanders +118.52
20 Kimmo Timonen Philadelphia +116.04
I removed the players who played a small number of games and were members of this list largely due to a large team adjustment despite the fact they didn't play much with their given team.
Patrice Bergeron leads this list. He is a strong defensive forward who has significant offensive ability. Following behind him is Sidney Crosby, who was probably the best player in the NHL last year but was limited to 36 games played. Regular linemates of the top players such as Brad Marchand and Chris Kunitz also did well. It is very hard to separate two players who often play together because of the amount of time they spend together.
On the whole this is a list of top NHL players who are regarded as some of the stars on their teams. Some players may be surprises. The biggest is probably Paul Gaustad of Nashville, who plays a very strong role in a defensive role. I think he will deserve his own post, as should the leader Patrice Bergeron.
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