by PuckStopsHere on 06/17/12 at 03:05 PM ET
In my effort to look at sabermetrics and hockey I have taken a look at adjusted +/- ratings to better understand player ability. Here are the top 20 and here are the worst 20 players last season by adjusted +/- ratings. Adjusted +/- is a good way to figure out which players succeeded and failed in their respective roles with their teams. However it is not a perfect system. One of its biggest problems is there are few +/- events in a game (they are even strength and shorthanded goals). A much bigger sample size can be obtained using Corsi ratings (all attempted shots are events). Thus Corsi is a better tool to make stronger conclusions with lesser uncertainty.
Here are the top 20 players in 2011/12 by Corsi ratings:
This is a group of good players. It is also a group of players from a limited number of teams. Only eight teams are represented here in 21 players (there is a tie for 20th). Clearly the conclusion is to get a good Corsi rating, you must be a good player on a good team. Team effects are significant here.
The teams on this list are Boston and Vancouver (the 2011 Stanley Cup finalists), Detroit, Pittsburgh and Chicago (the three Stanley Cup winners before that), San Jose (who may not have won a Stanley Cup but have been a top contender for many years), Ottawa (the team that is hardest to argue is a top team) and the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Though I argue that none of these teams are elite teams, this is an argument that Los Angeles is not as out of place as a Stanley Cup winner as one might think at first glance upon noticing they were an eighth seed.
Zdeno Chara leads this list. He is an elite player on a very good puck possession team. He is the kind of player one might expect to lead a list like this. Five players on this list are Bruins, including the top three on the list. These players largely play together, so it is clear that to make a truly individual ranking we have to differentiate these players and that is not an easy thing to do.
Notable on this list is Nicklas Lidstrom. This shows that even in retirement he is a top player who could still be an NHL All Star. He is probably the retiring player with the best final season of his career in at least a generation.
Corsi ratings give us a look at which players are on the ice when their team possesses the puck. There is clearly a team effect involved but largely these players drive the puck possession. I will look at some of these specific players in the future.
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