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Top Offensive Zone Starters

As I continue my summer sabermetrics and hockey series, today I am looking at the top offensive zone starters.  These are the players who most frequently are on the ice for faceoffs in the offensive zone as opposed to the defensive zone.  These players are ranked by offensive zone starts minus defensive ones.  This group of players are given a significant number of offensive chances and this will help them boost their offensive numbers.  Unless they succeed to post significant offensive numbers this is likely a failed opportunity.  These players may be weak defensively and are being protected from defensive responsibility or they may be strong offensive players given further chances to boost their offensive numbers.

This is useful in order to understand the context of how players are used in the NHL.  This context will be used to adjust Corsi ratings.  Players who start their shifts in the offensive zone are more likely to have positive Corsi events (attempted shots) in their favor than those who start their shifts in the defensive zone.  This is a necessary adjustment to Corsi ratings in order to make them an individualized ranking of puck possession. 

Here are the top 20 players in 2013/14 by excess offensive zone starts:

Rank Player Team Zone Starts
1 Mike Ribiero Phoenix 265
2 Brad Richards NY Rangers 250
3 Patrick Kane Chicago 241
4 Torey Krug Boston 238
5 Patrick Sharp Chicago 232
6 Andrew Shaw Chicago 220
7 Jeff Skinner Carolina 214
8 Eric Staal Carolina 207
9 Jonathan Toews Chicago 196
10 Kyle Okposo NY Islanders 169
11 Brandon Saad Chicago 168
12 Nick Leddy Chicago 163
13 Marian Hossa Chicago 159
14 Jason Pominville Minnesota 152
15 John Tavares NY Islanders 149
16 Milan Lucic Boston 148
17 Zach Parise Minnesota 147
18 John Moore NY Rangers 146
18 Jakub Voracek Philadelphia 146
18 Marek Zidlicky New Jersey 146

There are a few interesting things on this list.  Seven players on the list are Chicago Blackhawks,  This shows that Chicago must have a significant number of excess offensive zone starts as a team.  Nick Leddy is the only one of these seven players are defencemen.  This shows that Chicago mostly placed their forwards in offensive zone starts.  Their top scorers in Kane, Toews and Hossa all received a lot of offensive zone starts.  We see that Carolina, Minnesota and the New York Islanders are teams that try to place their best offensive players in offensive situations.  Each of these teams has two players of their best offensive players on this list. 

At the top of this list are Mike Ribiero and Brad Richards.  Both were bought out.  Their failure to score given their offensive zone starts may have been a contributing factor, although both have other reasons surrounding their buyouts.  It isn`t true that appearing on this list is a bad thing for all the players involved.  Patrick Kane is third and he just signed a big new contract extension.  He is an example of a player who succeeds with his extra offensive zone starts.  One final comment is Jonathan Toews appears on this list and is also a Selke Trophy nominee as best defensive forward.  There is a disconnect between those two achievements.  I think Toews offensive zone starts is the reason he shouldn`t be winning the Selke Trophy.  He is a very good defensive forward but because of his offensive skills he doesn`t play the tough defensive role that is expected from a Selke Trophy winner.

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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