by PuckStopsHere on 10/09/09 at 05:12 PM ET
In order to conclude (for now) the off-season look at sabermetrics and hockey, I will complete the look at adjusted Corsi Numbers. I am adjusting for two effects as I discuss here. The Corsi Number is essentially a measure of puck possession. Players who help their team control the puck will direct more shots toward the goal than those who do not. I am attempting to remove zone start effects, as some players will tend to be on the ice more frequently in either defensive or offensive situations and this will be seen in their Corsi. I am also attempting to remove team effects, as a player on a good team will be more likely to have a good Corsi due to his teammates being good players regardless of his individual play.
Here are the worst 20 zone and team corrected Corsi Numbers from last season:
Adj Corsi Number
Rank in Worst 20 Raw Corsis
This list is compared to the worst 20 raw Corsi list. Only five players appear on both lists. They are Scott Hannan, Brendan Witt, Steve Staios, Jay McKee and Rob Niedermayer. This shows that the worst players in the NHL by raw Corsi Number are often not the worst players in the league. Many are playing tough defensive roles on bad teams and when this is taken into account will climb up the list significantly.
It should be noted that the team adjustment, first done on +/- ratings by Klein and Reif does not work for players who are traded during the season. Thus some players with poor Corsi numbers such as Niclas Havelid and Travis Moen do not qualify to be included in these rankings.
While many of the players on this list are not surprises, a few are. The one who will likely be most debated is Evgeni Malkin. Malkin was the top scorer in the league and an MVP candidate. He also had a poor Corsi Number. More shots were directed at the Pittsburgh goal than at his opponent’s goal while he was on the ice and this occurred while Malkin was used significantly in offensive situations. Certainly Malkin could score, but he also shows some very weak underlying defensive puck possession numbers. I do not think that he should have been an MVP candidate given these numbers. While Ovechkin and Datsyuk were among the best adjusted Corsi Numbers, Malkin was among the worst.
This Corsi adjustment scheme shows that there often is a significant effect due to team and zone starts on the players who have the worst raw Corsis. It is possible to be on a good team and be among the worst. It is possible to be on a bad team and be among the worst. It is a good method to pick out players who did poorly in terms of puck possession regardless of the team in which they played. The surprise is that the top scorer in the league is near the top of the list.
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