by PuckStopsHere on 07/07/09 at 03:42 AM ET
I have been looking at +/- ratings and their adjustments in some of my recent posts. I have written about adjusted +/- as a counting stat and given the top 20 and worst 20 players from last season by this method. I am comparing it to the rate stat adjustment that Gabe Desjardins of Behind the Net does. I have listed the top 20 players by this method. Here are the worst 20 players last season by this method of +/- adjustment (with a minimum of 50 games played).
Rank as Counting Stat
Kris Draper sits atop this list. He was a failed shutdown forward last season who is compared to some very good teammates (when he is off ice). He climbs from 4th worst as a counting stat to worst as a rate stat. Riley Cote, the Philadelphia Flyers goon who had very low ice time slips into second place. During the season, I called him the worst regular in the NHL. All told, nine players appear on both +/- rating worst lists (Draper, Jay Pandolfo, Rob Niedermayer, Maxime Talbot, Rod Brind’Amour, John Madden, Brett McLean and Shawn Thornton). The vast majority< of these players are failed shut down players. They play against the best players on their opposition and do not stop them from scoring. Hence they have bad +/- ratings. Sami Pahlsson and Travis Moen are similar players who appear on this list. They were both traded in 2008/09 and that trade makes their adjustment not possible by the counting stat method. Since players are compared to their teammates when they are off the ice, it is easier to have a bad rating if you play on a good team. Brendan Witt of the New York Islanders was second worst as a counting stat and is not on the list here as he is compared to a rather inept group of teammates. In fact, the only non-playoff players on this worst 20 list are Boris Valabik, Jochen Hecht and Brett McLean. That shows a problem. Bad teams should have a more prominent role here as it is likely bad players that have made them bad teams.
+/- is a good way to assess a player’s contribution to a team. It is a context dependant stat and that context needs to be taken into account to make any sense of it. Attempting to adjust it for the team the player is on is one important step in assessing the numbers.
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