by PuckStopsHere on 08/10/11 at 09:40 PM ET
I continue my sabermetrics and hockey posts by looking at team and zone adjusted Corsi ratings. This is a pretty good ranking of puck possession among NHL players in the 2010/11 season. The Corsi rating is the difference in attempted shots (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) while a given player is on the ice in 5 on 5 situations. A team adjustment is then made to try to be able to compare between different teams. In order to correct for zone starts we must make an extra team adjustment to account for the given team’s zone starts (does the team tend to start more shifts in the offensive or defensive zone?) and then adjust for individual player zone starts at a rate of 0.8 Corsi events per excess zone start.
This is by no means a perfect assessment of puck possession that takes everything into account, for example quality of opposition is ignored here, but it does a good job of putting Corsi ratings into a context to better be able to compare individual player’s puck possession abilities.
Here are the top 20 players by team and zone adjusted Corsi ratings in 2010/11:
Adj Corsi Rating
I only included players who played at least 50 games in the NHL in 2010/11 in this study. There are a few players who played an insignificant amount of time and had negligible Corsi ratings which are made to look quite positive because their team is so poor that it has a big team adjustment. Essentially you have a player who had a Corsi of zero in almost no ice time where the team adjustment for their team is -100 or -200. Since the player in question had little or no playing time, it isn’t reasonable to expect that he played enough for the team adjustment to be valid.
When we look at this list we see a group of players who had strong puck possession skills. Zdeno Chara leads the league. Ryan Kesler is barely behind him. Mikhail Grabovski was an unsung hero in Toronto. Next is Patrice Bergeron. Clarke MacArthur, who was often a Grabovski linemate, comes next.
Frans Nielsen is a strong unsung player with the New York Islanders. He is followed by Ryan Suter of Nashville, Joe Pavelski of San Jose, underrated Daniel Winnik of Colorado and then Ryane Clowe of the Sharks.
Michael Grabner is the top rookie on the list. He was a Nielsen teammate. Sean Bergenheim comes next. These numbers show that his playoff breakout was less of a surprise than many believe. Dustin Byfuglien is next. He is followed by Ryan O’Reilly of Colorado and Brent Burns, who is now with San Jose.
Brian Gionta of Montreal comes next, followed by Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators. Justin Williams of Los Angeles comes next. Claude Giroux had a breakthrough year in Philadelphia. Finally, Pierre-Marc Bouchard rounds out the list.
This is a pretty good list of top puck possession players. The next step to further improve it is to try to take into account quality of teammates and opposition. This is much more difficult than the steps i have taken so far.
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