by PuckStopsHere on 07/09/10 at 12:38 PM ET
I think it is usually more meaningful to look at counting stats than rate stats when determining the best players in the NHL. As such I have listed the top 20 and worst 20 player’s individual Corsi Ratings from last season, where Corsi is the difference between the shots directed at goal (on goal, missed net and blocked) for a player’s team and the opposition when the player is on the ice in 5 on 5 situations. This is a strong gage of puck possession in NHL games.
Throughout this process, commenter GoPens has been asking about why I like counting stats over rate stats. I think the best way to explain this is to give the top 20 players by Corsi rate (Corsi per minute) and compare with the top 20 by counting stats.
Here are the top 20 players by Corsi rate for the 2009/10 season:
Rank by Corsi #
These numbers are from behind the net. I have selected only players who played 50 or more NHL games. If I didn’t, I would have found thirteen players ahead of Marian Hossa. This group of players played no more than six games. It is far easier to, due to luck, have a good rate stat and this is filtered out when looking at counting numbers. Many of the higher climbers on the rate list (Kopecky, Kunitz, Regin etc.) benefit from their lack of games played. They are unlikely to have kept up the same Corsi rate if they played a full season and it is a more accurate representation of good seasons to keep them lower on the list.
Defencemen usually have more playing time than forwards. Thus defencemen suffer on this list. In fact, only three made it (Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith and Nicklas Lidstrom). Four more made the counting list (Brian Rafalski, Zdeno Chara, Tomas Kaberle and Ian White). Seven of twenty players is a more accurate make-up for this kind of a list than 3 of 20, given that most teams dress defencemen as 6 of 18 position players per game.
As an overall leader, Marian Hossa is not as good as Duncan Keith (who led the counting list). Keith won the Norris Trophy and had a much better season than his teammate Hossa.
This is not to suggest that the rate list is useless. It identifies players who did well last season and can better identify those who had limited playing time. However, I think the counting list does a better job of identifying the better performances from 2009/10.
To answer GoPens, this is why I put more emphasis on the counting list than the rate one. The counting list is a better accounting for player performance in a given season that a rate one. The rate list is far too influenced by players with limited playing time, who likely have more influence due to luck in their numbers.
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