by PuckStopsHere on 08/06/11 at 04:30 PM ET
I continue my sabermetrics and hockey posts by looking at the players with the largest excess of defensive zone starts. These are players who play tough defensive roles with their teams and as a result their offensive numbers and puck possession numbers will suffer. In order to compare them with players who have more traditional usage, this must be taken into account. It is the opposite of the offensive zone starters that I have already looked at.
Here are the 20 players with the highest number of excess defensive zone starts in 2010/11:
Excess Defensive Zone Starts
This is a group of defensive specialists. Only four are defencemen (Greg Zanon, Mike Weaver, Mattias Ohlund and Brent Burns). The rest are forwards. This is largely due to depth. Teams have four lines of forwards and three of defencemen, so they can better afford to have forwards saved for defensive situations.
Steve Ott leads the list. He played a tough defensive role on the Dallas Stars, but he did not play against the same top level competition that Manny Malhotra did, so I do not think he is as good a defensive forward. Both were used in defensive situations.
There are good teams that specifically saved players for their defensive zone starts. Vancouver’s line of Malhotra, Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen all appear here. Dave Bolland of the Chicago Blackhawks is also on this list.
The Minnesota Wild have the largest number of players on this list with four (Zanon, John Madden, Eric Nystrom and Burns). This is due to their being a bad team that is stuck with a lot of defensive zone starts.
This group of players is a group of players who were used in defensive roles. They are players who played tough roles with their teams. These players had varying levels of success in those roles. We can combine these numbers with Corsi ratings to begin to determine how well any of them played.
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