• WOWY: Ovechkin

    by  • April 25, 2010 • Uncategorized • 13 Comments

    Prompted by a dispute in the comments to my Horcoff post below (and because it’s pretty easy to do with Vic’s new toy on timeonice.com), I did a Corsi WOWY for Ovechkin. It’s pretty cool, I think.

    Let’s look at Ovechkin and the forwards with whom he has at least 100 Corsi events first.


    As it so happens, Bruce Boudreau runs a pretty tight bench in terms of who gets on the ice with Ovechkin. Only five Caps forwards were on the ice for at least 100 ES Corsi events with him. A brief primer on the table: I’ve split the data into three groups – Player X with Ovechkin, Player X without Ovechkin and Ovechkin without Player X. The most interesting columns to me are those which I’ve highlighted in yellow. Look at Backstrom. The first column (beside “Without Ovechkin”) measures the difference in Corsi ratio with Ovechkin and without Ovechkin. As you can see, Backstrom’s ratio is 22% higher with Ovechkin than it is without him. The second column highlighted in yellow is the difference between Ovechkin’s Corsi with Backstrom on the ice and without Backstrom on the ice. Whichever number is bigger, that player has suffered a bigger dropoff in Corsi ratio without the presence of the other player.

    As it so happens, Backstrom takes a much greater hit to his Corsi ratio without Ovechkin (22%) than Ovechkin does without Backstrom (10.7%). This makes a certain amount of sense – the falloff from Ovechkin to whoever Backstrom played with when he didn’t have Ovechkin on the ice is probably greater than the falloff from Backstrom to whoever Ovechkin played with when Backstrom is on the ice. In addition, although I doubt this is the case with Backstrom, this could be swayed by the ratio of offensive zone faceoffs to defensive zone faceoffs shifting.

    This is something that should be of considerable interest to the Capitals, given that Backstrom is up for a new contract this year. One of the difficulties in running an elite team in an environment in which you can’t pay everyone is figuring out which guys are the guys who are carrying the load. Backstrom’s boxcars are the boxcars of a guy who will get paid – he followed up an 88 point season last year with a 33-68-101 season this year. He has no arbitration rights, so the Caps are stuck with either trying to use their leverage to force him into a one year deal, paying him more for a few extra years or trading him.

    Backstrom’s has undoubtedly been excellent over the past two seasons but there’s an argument that he might be player with whom there is a gap between value by traditional and actual value because of the amount of time that he spent playing with Ovechkin, his ES results away from Ovechkin, the shooting percentage when he was on the ice (11.6% at evens) and the percentage of goals that he was in on at evens (77%), something I’ve written about before.

    The Caps would probably be wise to explore what the trade market for him would be like, as he seems to me to be a player who would probably attract some pretty interesting offers in return. There might well be a return out there that includes a reasonable facsimile of Backstrom, without the Ovechkin enhanced numbers, who’d come at a lower price AND bring along some other components to strengthen the Capitals.

    As far as the defencemen go, they don’t seem to have a major impact on Ovechkin’s Corsi.


    I don’t have a whole lot to say about the defence – I’m just throwing it up for the sake of completeness. Next up: Crosby.


    13 Responses to WOWY: Ovechkin

    1. April 25, 2010 at

      I had Ovie-Backstrom together at 58% Zone Starts at ES.

      The chart is somewhat incomplete insofar as I didn’t bother putting up the season totals. The point here is that Ovechkin, whomever he plays with, gets massively favourable zone starts (and rightly so).

      Anyways, according to my data sets, Backstrom Zone Starts % was at +318/-228 (+90, 58.2%) while on the ice with Ovie and +70/-63 (53%) without Ovie (6 of those OZFaceOffs were with an empty net).

      So, yes, his numbers dip, but so does his zone starts.

    2. Vic Ferrari
      April 25, 2010 at

      Damn, Ovechkin really is driving the bus in DC.

      And when Backstrom isn’t playing with OV it’s still a 53% zone start, which is a lot better than most centres in this league get. And a 47.9% Corsi if I’m reading that right, meaning that it’s damn likely that he’s being outchanced then.

      Backstrom can finish, and he can help the powerplay too. Still, it’s easy to imagine Backstrom getting a huge contract and never being full value. It’s not a Cheechoo/Thornton scenario, but it’s heading that direction.

    3. Tyler Dellow
      April 26, 2010 at

      Thanks again Vic – this really is a great tool. It’s amazing how many of the ones I’ve run so far make intuitive sense to me – Pittsburgh has a lot of trash for Crosby to play with (100+ corsi events with 12! forwards this year), none of whom do much to help him.

      Fascinating arbitrage opportunity on Backstrom though if Washington thinks that way. I’d have to think he could bring huge value in a trade and Washington could plausibly explain their willingness to sell on the basis of how many guys they have to pay.

    4. speeds
      April 26, 2010 at

      The numbers are the numbers, but, to be a bit contrarian perhaps, Backstrom is also only 22 (23 once next season gets going). Even if his numbers are a bit inflated now, it doesn’t mean they will be in 4 years.

      That said, I don’t expect him to keep increasing his shooting percentage by 3% every year either. He has the pedigree, and definitely the counting stats for a big payday. I guess it’s tough to really assess without knowing what he wants. Is he happy with 6mil? 7mil? Does he want 8mil? Can he get that, or more, on an RFA offer sheet?

    5. Mr DeBakey
      April 26, 2010 at

      “Can he get that, or more, on an RFA offer sheet?”

      If he does, take that stack of 1st Rounders
      Sign Prospal for $1.5mm
      And someone else
      And another one too

    6. Passive Voice
      April 27, 2010 at

      I will confess to being decently shocked that Ovie is that far out ahead, especially of Backstrom.

      What do Backstrom’s numbers relative to everyone else look like? I had a try at TOI, but I’m a bit of a noob/tard with that resource.

      • Ismael
        May 31, 2013 at

        Crosby might have been sympathetic to Backstrom’s mitsrofuate when the camera were on him, but he was a total ass a few seconds after it happened. He ran up to a teammate, shook him and yelled “Did he really just bang the puck into his own net??” probably forgot that he was mic’d for the game. Sid is twit and he’s proved it once again.

    7. R O
      April 27, 2010 at

      Ovechkin is kind of incredible. And I can’t wait for the Crosby WOWY, I’m sure that he’s the man in Pittsburgh too. Can’t believe he might not win the Hart.

      The worst thing that could happen is if Washington decided that they needed to pay Backstrom as much as Ovechkin, a la Pittsburgh with Malkin.

      If that happens, Capgeek says the Caps have about $11.4M in cap space to sign at minimum 7 players (to get to 21). With Fehr, Fleischmann and Schultz needing new contracts.

      Granted these three, and a whole host of others on that roster, well they probably leech off of the Ovechkin ripple like nobody’s business, I haven’t checked but that’s kind of the logical conclusion of the above. Maybe there’s a guy in there worth paying, but surely they’re not all worth paying.

      Back to point: that outcome (Backstrom getting $9.5M x 13 years) isn’t too out of whack with reality I think. It wasn’t long ago that McPhee looked to be a terrible GM, I don’t know what has changed between now and then.

    8. Passive Voice
      April 27, 2010 at

      re: Backstrom getting $9.5M x 13 years

      That’d be pure insanity. I don’t think Glen Sather would give him that as a UFA.

    9. BenHasna
      April 27, 2010 at

      Very interesting stuff, looking forward to Crosby’s numbers. And, if you don’t mind, I actually might copy this splendid idea and run some numbers of the New York Islanders…

      Vic: I know where to get the faceoff zone starts of a single game, but do there exist scripts with season totals, too? Or maybe even additional features similar to your new ones to the playershots scripts?

    10. R O
      April 28, 2010 at

      re: Backstrom getting $9.5M x 13 years

      That’d be pure insanity. I don’t think Glen Sather would give him that as a UFA.

      It would be insane, but I thought the Ovechkin contract was insane. 13 years and $124M is a long time and a lot of money. Even though Ovechkin is incredible.

      Re: Sather. He’s paid a ton of money out but generally it seems it’s been to good players. Gomez, Drury, Gaborik, Redden… crazy contracts but the players are good.

      Do we know if Backstrom is good? I don’t know. It’s no crime to be better with Ovechkin on the ice than off the ice, I think. But the disparity in EV-events vs. EV-faceoff-starts in that “without-Ovechkin” time paints a pretty damning picture.

    11. speeds
      April 28, 2010 at

      MC, how did you come up that chart, were you able to do that with one script? Or did you have to find the WSH data for all players, then find it with only Ovechkin on the ice, and from that back out the “without Ovechkin” data?

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