Sabremetrics/Microstats in Hockey
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04-12-2012, 03:08 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Originally Posted by
Talks to Goalposts
Difficulty of minutes measurements:
In my opinion the more important way of analyzing the modern NHL game isn't in whether you accept shot based metrics or not (goal based ones generally get you close enough on that front anyway, at least if you accept goaltending as a factor which is uncontroversial) its acknowledging the major role that what type of minutes a player plays is a major factor in both how he looks to the eye and what kind of results they put up. NHL most NHL coaches manage their bench for particular territorial or line matchup roles and if there are a few that don't they'll get matched by the opposition resulting in largely the same effect.
Doing so may not have the direct intuitive effect you'd expect, i.e. starting in the offensive zone more might not directly raise a player's offensive stats or playing tougher minutes might not result in more goals against since such things will also depend on how a player responds to different situations but the effect will be strong on a player's differentials.
Two flavours of quality of minute situations are in current use. Quality of Compition (strength of opponent) and zone starts (location of starting shifts). An obvious third catagory would be strength of teammates but no one has really found a reliable measurement for that, its extremely hard to disentangle the strength of a player's linemates versus his own contribution. For that kind of thing I'd suggest looking at most common linemates by ice time and forming your own conclusion although you can do a more labourious "With You Without You" analysis (WOWY).
Quality of competition is measured two ways currently in the mainstream. Opposition +/- (QUALCOMP) and opposition relative Corsi (relCorsi QoC). The methodology of both is a bit weak so the straight numbers aren't always reliable comparing between teams, largely because each team has a different schedule but they work well within a team. Generally relCorsi QoC is the more reliable one when the two disagree for basically the same reasons Corsi is more reliable than +/-. For following a particular team though I recomend also looking for yourself what matchup are used game per game. For Montreal, Oliver's scoring chance reports for each game will also have matchup information while Habs Eyes on the Prize game threads will have a like to timeoneice.com script for a breakdown on minutes played per opponent each game. From tracking matchups the past couple years I can tell you that relCorsi QoC corresponds very strongly with who gets what kind of opponent but your welcome to test it out on your own. I didn't believe they worked until I did that myself.
Measuring where a player starts his shifts is generally done by way of Ozone % which is simply the porportion of non-neutral zone faceoffs (neutral zone faceoffs are considered neutral events for this) taken in the offensive zone. Unlike quality of competition which basically every team will have a spread on, whether to control your player's starting position is a decision made by a particular coach so not all teams will have a meaningful difference in zone starts. Vancouver in particular embraces this method, with Malhotra basically taking only defensive draws while Sedin takes tons of offensive zone ones. Chicago is a slightly less extreme adherent with the much under-rated David Bolland taking the heavy defensive duties while guys like Kane and Toews generally get a favourable starting point.
Montreal under Martin seemed to favour this strategy to start the season (a departure from is normal modus opperendi of pursuing straight power versus power matchups). With Desharnais getting in the range of a 60% Ozone while Plekanec (and usually Gionta) was around 42-45%. This was pretty wise considering that early season Desharnais produced lots of offense when it the offensive zone but had a weak possession/territorial game and the bad tendency to get pinned in his own zone when starting their facing a good line. One time when this broke down due to injury in a game against Pittsburgh, Desharnais basically got pinned in his own zone the entire game and ended up with something like a -20 even strength shot differential for the game. This kind of set up became less pronounced as the season continued but fortunately Desharnais developed the ability to face better competition and was paired with a very good two-way winger in Cole to compensate.
Subban also tends to be used a lot in the defensive zone, pretty much since he took over the first pairing last season when he moved up to play with Gill. That he generates team leading results in 5 on 5 shots and goal differential with unfavourable zone starts and very high quality of competition measurements is another reason for considering him to be an exceptional player.
For example of how this kind of analysis can be helpful, look at how a few of us were arguing at the beginning of the season that Cole was an awesome sigining while Leino was terrible. It was based largely on the principle that while they had similar surface stats, Cole was getting it done in a difficult situation while Leino had probably the easiest job in the league. Buffalo couldn't put Leino in a similar situation as he had in Philadelphia and he sunk. Cole ended up playing in an easier situation in Montreal and flourished.
Meanwhile the major drop in both Cammalleri and Plekanec's offensive totals since 2009-10 co-incides with when they got moved to playing a heavy shutdown role to start last season. Previously both tended to play about 2nd line competition, albeit with a major defensive zone faceoff responsibility, and both were on pace for a very good ~45 even strength points the previous season in that role. For reference, 40+ ES points is pretty much only achieved these days by top scoring line players. 45 points was good for 33rd in the league that season, 40 points 55th.
There's no way to measure "strength of teammates?"
Originally Posted by
Talks to Goalposts
In difficulty of situation I'd say second, Hedman had it worse with his crazy amount of defensive zone starts.
He played those minutes essentially even rather than beating them (bubble size) so its debatable who provided better value, him or players that won their matchup a la Doughty, Pietroangelo etc. His plus minus has been driven by Lundqvist's insane year. Certainly a sign of an excellent young defender, although he and Gilradi have been attached at the hip this season so its hard to suss out how much was one or the other this season.
Timmins certainly knows his stuff.
And Bob Gainey certainly doesn't. That trade looks worse everyday. I knew it would be a disaster and unfortunatly it's looking like I was right. One thing that's nice to see here is that it confirms (or at least reinforces) what I've seen from McD in that he looks like an absolute stud. Not flashy but really steady.
This is shot data right? I'm trying to wrap my head around whether on not the goalies on the respective teams would factor into this. Schenn's sitting there with zero goaltending behind him whereas others have great netminders.
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