by PuckStopsHere on 08/18/11 at 10:17 PM ET
NOTE: This post is updated with correct numbers. The original post had incomplete statistics
With all of the sabermetrics I have done so far this summer, nothing attempts to rate the total value of players relative to one another. Corsi looks only at puck possession in 5 on 5 situations and though that is an important repeatable part of hockey it is not a full measure of any player. The only relatively common statistical measure out there that attempts to provide one number to rank players relative to one another is Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system. It produces at best an approximate value for players and as long as one keeps in mind that there are significant error bars on any number it is pretty good. Last summer, I wrote several pieces looking at the results and the mechanics of the system. I think it is valuable and interesting to look at its results in the 2010/11 season and take a further look at the successes and problems that it gives us.
This is my second attempt to list the top 20 players in the 2010/11 season by goals versus threshold, because the original numbers as calculated by behind the net are incomplete and are missing the end of the season:
|10||Martin St Louis||TB|
The goals versus threshold number claims to be the number of goals a given player is worth when compared to a threshold level replacement player. Thus Tim Thomas is reportedly worth 39.6 more goals than a replacement level player.
Clearly goaltenders dominate this list. Ten of the top twenty players and six of the top seven are goaltenders. For a larger part this is because goaltenders are easier to evaluate than position players. The saves percentage of a goal can be relatively easily turned into a goals versus threshold value, whereas offence and especially defence are more team dependant and thus harder to credit to a given player.
There is one defencemen in the top 20 players. Lubomir Visnovsky ranks 14th, he is the top scoring defenceman in 2010/11. Defence is very hard to credit to individual players and as a result only offensive players appear on this list aside from goalies.
All told, the goals versus threshold system ranks goaltenders versus other goaltenders quite well. The calibration with position players is problematic. The system ranks the offensive ability of players well, with minor considerations for defensive ability. It does a reasonable job of incorporating defencemen in the rankings if they score well but it struggles to capture defensive ability.
As for specific players in the rankings, Tim Thomas leading the league is not particularly surprising. The goaltending rankings are reasonable, although goalies who tend to face higher quality shots suffer as they will have lower saves percentages than those who face lower quality shots. Of the goalies on this list, I think Tomas Vokoun most suffered from facing high shot quality and should be ranked above the level where he was. Daniel Sedin is the top position player and that is a reasonable result. Corey Perry climbed to second among position players with a strong finish to the season. Despite only playing half a season, Sidney Crosby ranks 16th. This is partially because this system is largely built on rate stats. I think it is worthwhile to look at how Crosby did so well despite his lack of games. Interestingly, his goals versus threshold total actually rose during his injury because his team was less successful both offensively and defensively (such as it is measured using +/- for the most part) when he was out of the lineup. I will look at Crosby in an upcoming blogpost.
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