by PuckStopsHere on 07/20/13 at 04:01 PM ET
As I continue my summertime look at sabermetrics and hockey, today I look a Corsi ratings. A Corsi rating is a very valuable sabermetric tool to evaluate players. It is the difference between shots directed on goal by a team in 5 on 5 situations and those allowed by a team. Included are shots on goal, blocked shots and missed shots. It is a strong gage of puck possession. If one team has the puck a lot more than another, they will have a good Corsi rating and are most likely a strong team. Corsi ratings can be used to evaluate individual players as well. The problem is finding the right context for numbers. Players on good teams will tend to have better Corsi ratings than those on bad teams and this is not evidence that a player on a good team is necessarily better. Similarly players who play with strong linemates, or against weaker opponents or who start shifts in their offensive zone will do better than those who don't. This must all be taken into account when rating players by Corsi ratings.
Today I will post the top 20 players by raw (unadjusted) Corsi ratings in the 2013 season. It should be obvious that team effects are significant and will be the first thing I adjust for in the future.
Here are the top 20 players in 2013 by raw Corsi rating:
Top 20 Players In 2013 By Raw Corsi
1Justin Williams Los Angeles +339
2 Jake Muzzin Los Angeles +313
3 Anze Kopitar Los Angeles +308
4 Tyler Seguin Boston +287
5 Daniel Sedin Vancouver +283
6 Henrik Sedin Vancouver +273
7 Patrice Bergeron Boston +268
8 Dustin Brown Los Angeles +254
9 David Clarkson New Jersey +250
10 Drew Doughty Los Angeles +240
11 Brad Marchand Boston +239
12 Max Pacioretty Montreal +234
13 Zdeno Chara Boston +211
14 Milan Lucic Boston +202
15 Marek Zidlicky New Jersey +199
16 Patrick Elias New Jersey +192
17 David Desharnais Montreal +183
18 Anton Stralman NY Rangers +182
19 Alexandre Burrows Vancouver +181
20 Nathan Horton Boston +176
20 Pavel Datsyuk Detroit +176
This is a list of 21 players because of a tie in 20th place. These 21 players come from seven teams: Los Angeles, Boston, Vancouver, New Jersey, Montreal, NY Rangers and Detroit. There are five players each from Los Angeles and Boston. It is clear that team effects are significant in getting a top Corsi rating. The surprise team on this list is the New Jersey Devils. They missed the playoffs and this was largely due to weak goaltending. Martin Brodeur is a below average NHL starter at this point in his career and Johan Hedberg showed he no longer belongs in the NHL and was bought out at the end of the year. The team in front of the goaltending played very well but the goaltending was weak and kept them from the playoffs. It will be interesting to see if merely adding Cory Schneider will be enough to turn their tides.
Justin Williams leads this list. He plays a good puck possession game and he does so on a good team, while playing an offensive role with few defensive zone starts and with top quality linemates. This is the perfect situation for a player like him to have an excellent Corsi rating. The context dependent factors all line-up in his favor. To those who have only taken a cursory look at Corsi ratings, the fact that Justin Williams leads the league may be taken as a weakness. When I add some more context dependent factors over the next several posts, it will be clear how much information is derived from Corsi analysis.
There are some interesting players on this list in Tyler Seguin, David Clarkson and Nathan Horton who have moved on to new teams. It will be interesting to see how well they perform in a new environment.
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