Fancy Stats, Goals, and Goal Assessments

By: Meesh Shanmugam

As the transition to new ideas and statistics continues around the league (see: changes in Toronto’s management), I wanted to provide a side-by-side comparison of some possession statistics, actual goals on the ice, and my goal assessments from the past season.

This is not meant to be a complete commentary since several factors (zone starts, usage, quality of linemates/opposition, etc) are left out, but it is meant to give you an idea of how some numbers may correlate.

Unfortunately for my goal assessments (listed as G+ for goals contributed to and G- for goals at fault for), I only have the total numbers. I will break these down next season into all situations to try to improve its usefulness.

Key:

  • CF, CA, CF% – Corsi For, Corsi Against, Corsi For Percentage. Corsi is the total amount of shots attempted (including missed and those that are blocked) when a player is on the ice. The numbers below are for 5-on-5 situations only.
  • FF, FA, FF% – Fenwick For, Fenwick Against, Fenwick For Percentage. Fenwick is essentially Corsi without blocked shots, based on the idea that blocked shots are a planned/skilled event. The numbers below are for 5-on-5 situations only.
  • 5v5 GF, 5v5 GA, 5v5 GF/GA – Goals For, Goals Against, and Goals For Percentage in only 5-on-5 situations to match the Corsi and Fenwick numbers.
  • Total GF, Total GA, Total GF/GA – Goals For, Goals Against, and Goals For Percentage in all situations.  Consider powerplay and penalty kill playing time when comparing this to other numbers.
  • Total G+, Total G-, Total G+/G- – Goals Contributed To, Goals At Fault For, and Goals Contributed To Percentage based on my goal assessments from the season in all situations.
Click to Enlarge.  Numbers from ExtraSkater.com and NHL.com

Click to Enlarge. Numbers from ExtraSkater.com and NHL.com

Out of this group, the two most interesting players to me were Simon Despres and Brandon Sutter, for opposite reasons.

Despres looks great across the board until a red number in my goal assessments. The goal assessments are generally tougher on defensemen, so I don’t consider 45% to be too bad there. It might help explain how the previous regime treated Despres though. It certainly seems like they overlooked all of his positive markers and potential to harp on his mistakes instead of letting him play through them.

Meanwhile, Sutter is red across the board until my goal assessments. His GF/GA at 5v5 and all situations is surprisingly similar, so it appears that his powerplay and penalty kill performances evened themselves out. Is the explanation here just a poor set of ever-changing linemates that were often at fault while he was on the ice? It’ll be interesting to track this comparison to next season with a better bottom-six.

Three guys I worry about: Adams, Scuderi, and Bortuzzo. The first two have been discussed ad nauseum at this point. The fanbase tends to like Bortuzzo, but I certainly don’t like any of those numbers.

Click to Enlarge.  Numbers from ExtraSkater.com and NHL.com

Click to Enlarge. Numbers from ExtraSkater.com and NHL.com

It’s much tougher to judge the newer additions because of the teams they played on. For instance, Christian Ehrhoff was on the worst team in hockey and was one of the best players on that team, but he was never going to be able to compensate for the lack of talent around him. Overall at least, there are generally positive things to say about every player.

Click to Enlarge.  Numbers from ExtraSkater.com and NHL.com

Click to Enlarge. Numbers from ExtraSkater.com and NHL.com

The Penguins lost plenty of good and plenty of bad this summer. The two guys that intrigue me the most are Brian Gibbons (shocking, I know) and Tanner Glass. I fully expect Gibbons to see a significant drop in his numbers, which were probably boosted heavily by Crosby. It will be interesting to see how he handles a full season in a “normal” role if he gets that chance in Columbus.

Meanwhile, Tanner Glass may have been a product of his linemates to a degree. Admittedly, I was not a fan of Glass. His hits were often useless (after the puck was moved) and getting around the ice wasn’t exactly a strength of his. No one can deny his hockey intelligence though (I don’t care where he went to school). Unfortunately for him, I don’t think he’ll get a great set of linemates to work with in New York either, so he probably remains doomed.

 

At the end of the day, not a single one of these numbers is perfect in assessing a player. Combined though, they help paint a better picture that can help with both predicting and analyzing performances.  Hopefully a few colorful spreadsheets will help bridge the gap between new statistics and results, and why you should pay attention to both.

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Thanks for reading!!