by PuckStopsHere on 07/24/14 at 03:17 PM ET
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:
|2||Brad Richards||NY Rangers||250|
|10||Kyle Okposo||NY Islanders||169|
|15||John Tavares||NY Islanders||149|
|18||John Moore||NY Rangers||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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