by PuckStopsHere on 08/11/11 at 02:50 PM ET
Corsi-based analysis is a very strong way to better understand hockey. Like any statistic, it makes sense when put in the proper context. Zdeno Chara in 2010/11 is a very good example to show this.
When we look at the top 20 raw Corsi ratings, Zdeno Chara is not on the list. We adjust this list for team Corsi ratings because Corsi ratings (or any other puck possession stat) is really a rating of all of the players on the ice. Players on teams that have good puck possession numbers will have better raw numbers than those on weaker teams. This is something that needs to be taken into account to put the number in context.
Boston may have won the Stanley Cup in 2010/11 but they were closer to average in terms of puck possession. The Bruins ranked 14th in the league in team Corsi. This does not suggest that the Bruins were the 14th best team in the NHL; it suggests that their biggest strength was something other than puck possession. Goaltending was in fact the Bruins biggest strength in 2010/11. Tim Thomas had a historic year setting records for saves percentage in the regular season and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Adjusting for team Corsi ratings helps Zdeno Chara, but it still isn’t enough to bring him into the top 20 in the league.
Not every player on each team plays the same role on the team. The most significant effect that shows up in puck possession numbers is zone starts. If a player is on the ice for a lot of defensive zone faceoffs and fewer offensive zone ones, he is more likely to have shots taken against his team. If a player is on the ice for a lot of offensive zone faceoffs and fewer defensive zone ones, he is more likely to have his team take shots. This will show up in a Corsi rating, but its effect can be adjusted away.
Zdeno Chara was Boston’s defenceman who was most frequently used for defensive zone starts. He was used in more of a defensive role than an offensive one by the Bruins in 2010/11. Despite this, Chara was the 19th highest scoring defenceman in 2010/11. Getting good offensive numbers (though clearly not league leading numbers) despite such a defensive usage is a very tough achievement. It is one that shows up in his Corsi rating when it is put into proper context. In fact, he has the best team and zone adjusted Corsi rating in the league. This is an example that shows how strong Corsi analysis is when things are put into the proper context. Chara was ranked 23rd in the league by raw Corsi. He was ranked behind players like Jason Demers and Mason Raymond. When the number is put into the proper context, he rises to first in the league.
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