by PuckStopsHere on 07/31/12 at 10:17 PM ET
As I continue my posts on sabermetrics and hockey, I will look at excess offensive zone starts. This is the number of times a player is on the ice for an offensive zone faceoff minus the number of times they are on the ice for a defensive zone faceoff. These players play in offensive roles on their teams. They better succeed offensively as a result. In some cases these are top offensive players who are chosen to play in offensive roles to maximize their offensive success. In other cases they are players who are weak defensively and are thus protected from those situations. In many cases there is a bit of both going on.
This is valuable because it shows the context for how players get used. It is also valuable because it is a measurable correction that can be applied to Corsi ratings to better gage player performance.
Here are the top 20 players in 2011/12 by excess offensive zone starts.
Offensive Zone Starts
This list consists of 21 players due to a tie for the final position. It is easy to see which teams take use the strategy of maximizing offensive zone starts for key players as they post several players on this list. Vancouver uses this strategy the most. The have the top three players in the Sedins and Alexandre Burrows. All three of these players has more than 100 more excess offensive zone starts than any other player in the league. Henrik Sedin is almost 200 above any other team’s player. Alexander Edler also appears on this list from defence.
All told Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Ottawa, the New York Islanders and New York Rangers (five teams) make up all but two players on this list. Erik Johnson and Marc-Andre Bergeron of Colorado and Tampa Bay respectively fill out the list. Bergeron is noteworthy since he only played in 43 games (which is barely over half a season. Had he played a full season at that pace he would have almost equaled Alexandre Burrows.
These players better have scored at a significant rate or else their team wasted their offensive opportunities by using them for them. Players such as Viktor Stalberg who scored barely over 40 points are questionable uses of their team’s offensive opportunities.
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