Wether or not you’re in the advanced statistics movement or not, there’s no denying they’ve gained some traction the last year or so. They are still in their infancy and the experts are still working on how to translate the data we get from stats like Corsi, Fenwick, and PDO. Sean McIndoe of Grantland.com wrote an interesting piece on advanced stats for beginners. His post focuses on how not so advanced these advanced statistics really are.
[su_pullquote]Hockey’s “advanced” stats aren’t actually all that advanced, at least as far as the math goes. Are you comfortable with tricky concepts like addition and subtraction? Awesome, you’re halfway there. If you also understand what a percentage is and/or can divide by 60, you’re going to be golden. Grantland.com[/su_pullquote]
If you’re not a fan of advanced statistics that’s OK. However, it doesn’t hurt to at least understand the reasoning behind them. NHL teams have gone as far as to form advanced statistics departments. Eventually they’ll be the default stats used as we figure out better ways to use this data for teams and players. Try the glossary at Puckalytics.com – Skater NY Rangers Corsi Statistics if you’d like to at least get your feet wet in the advanced statistics movement. They really aren’t that hard to understand and are quite interesting once you get a handle on them.
Through the first three weeks of the season the New York Rangers have had some trouble defending the front of their net. For whatever reason their top three defenseman have not played particularly well. Their play has little to do with advanced stats but the teams overall play does. When the team plays well they own most of the major advanced statistics. This is from playing tight defensively and owning the puck more than the opponent.
Corsi is the stat I use to see how well a player is playing while he’s on the ice. It’s not just an offensive stat; it shows how well a defensive player is doing his job as well. Corsi is just a measure of shot attempts, blocked, on goal, or that missed the net by both teams while that player is on the ice. All shot attempts are considered a Corsi event and the entire team will have a number of Corsi events as a whole too. The Rangers top three defenseman and top six forwards have not had much success in this possession statistic. Though eight games is not a large enough sample size to get a solid gauge on the pulse of a team or player.
The Rangers top players are at the bottom of the team in advanved statistics.
Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash are two players you expect to lead the team in this aspect. Yet both players MSL (50.3%) and Nash (46.2%) are in the bottom five on the team. Along with the top three defenseman Dan Girardi (49.8%) and Marc Staal (50.2%) have not faired well in possessing the puck. Ryan McDonagh has faired better with a 53.7% on ice Corsi but has made some uncharacteristically bad decisions on the blue line.
For the most part it’s the bottom six players leading the team in Corsi for percentage. In four games played, Ryan Malone (65.7%) leads the Rangers. Sixty-five percent is a huge part of the total shot attempts.
On the Rangers behind Malone is Mats Zuccarello in terms of on ice Corsi for percentage. We all know the slow start Mats Zuccarello has gotten off to. I recently wrote a piece on him you can read here. However, his 60.5% on ice Corsi for percentage is remarkable. It’s only a matter of time before the “Zuc” we all know from last season returns to form. After a shaky start Matt Hunwick has played better and his 59% Corsi shows that.
It’s the depth players that have led the team in Advanced statistics.
Dominic Moore, John Moore, Derick Brassard, Lee Stempniak, and Carl Hagelin are all over 54% in on ice Corsi for percentage. This data is all from small sample sizes but for players that have good possession numbers like these. It’s only a matter of time before those numbers translate to goals, assists, and wins.
*This article was written prior to last night’s 5-4 win over Minnesota and does not include that game.