by PuckStopsHere on 07/21/09 at 03:08 AM ET
In this summer’s look at sabermetrics and hockey, I have been looking at the Corsi Number as an alternative to +/- ratings. Today, I am going to list the top 20 adjusted Corsi ratings. In this case I have adjusted them as a counting stat in the same manner that was developed in the Hockey Compendium by Jeff Klein and Carl-Eric Reif. I discuss this adjustment method here. In this method, a team adjustment is calculated from team Corsi Numbers. Since five players are on the ice, team Corsi Numbers are divided by five to give a baseline team value that is treated as “zero” for that team. All individual player Corsi Numbers have the team adjustment subtracted off.
Here are the top 20 adjusted Corsi Numbers in the 2008/09 season among players who played at least 50 games and with only one team:
It is quite likely that the two Anaheim players, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, benefit from Randy Carlyle’s coaching technique on this list. Carlyle uses a shut down forward line that gives up almost any attempt at scoring to prevent the top players on the opposition from scoring. Typically these players are outshot and get poor Corsi Numbers, but they also succeed in slowing down the scoring rate of their opponents. For most of the last few years, this line has been Travis Moen, Sami Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer, though trade deadline deals sent Moen to San Jose and Pahlsson to Chicago last year. Having one line with large amounts of ice time that gets a poor Corsi Number will pull down team Corsi Numbers and tend to make those of other players look better after adjustment. This is not to say that Getzlaf and Perry are not good players, but their top two rankings are partly due to the way Anaheim is coached.
When compared to the raw top 20 Corsi Numbers, we see that Detroit’s team benefit from having the top team Corsi Number is better taken into account. They still lead the top 20 with four players (Datsyuk, Rafalski, Kronwall and Lidstrom), but they no longer have seven of the top eight. This shows that adjustment seems to do a pretty good job to remove the effects of a dominant team.
It looks like the Montreal Canadiens use this kind of analysis when signing free agents. They acquired Scott Gomez and Jaroslav Spacek this summer and both appear on this list. Meanwhile, the New York Rangers may lose two of the top 20 adjusted Corsi players this summer. They have already lost Gomez and there are some rumors that they would walk away from Nikolai Zherdev’s arbitration award, should he win his case.
If I compare this list to a similar adjusted +/- list, I notice that only five players appear on both (Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Parise, Green and Daniel Sedin). I think the adjusted Corsi list gives a better (more talented) group of 20 players than the +/- list does. This is evidence that Corsi Numbers are valuable to sabermetric analysis, despite the fact they do not correlate as well with team points as +/- does.
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