In the comments to the previous post David Johnson is busy suggesting that I haven’t disproven his oft-repeated theory that faceoffs don’t really create a Corsi% effect but that what we’re seeing is the effect of better players starting in the offensive zone and weaker players starting in the defensive zone, with corresponding teammates. David’s never done the work to show this – he’s just seized on this as something that would justify his finding that the adjusted ZS Corsi% that he calculates seems to work ok.
David’s adjusted ZS Corsi% does work well in many cases but the problem that I’ve always had with it is that his various theories as to why it works are obviously nuts. As always, how you get to a solution matters because if you don’t understand why something works, you can have false assumptions that lead you into error in other matters or cause you not to understand your model’s weaknesses. For whatever reason, David’s never really understood this criticism of what he’s doing.
What the previous post showed is that there are substantial effects associated with winning or losing a faceoff and where it took place. Duh. What I’m going to show now is that that the effect of, for example, winning an offensive zone faceoff, is structural and that even players who are the fringiest of NHLers don’t do much worse than all-stars when it comes to turning those OZ faceoff wins into Corsi%.
There were about 1106 forwards in the NHL between 2007-13. I say “about” because the NHL record keeping isn’t what you’d hope and there is an Alex Ovechkin and an Alexander Ovechkin. There aren’t too many of these and it doesn’t matter too much for my purposes. These people were collectively on the ice for 253105 OZ faceoff wins with the goalie in.
I have sorted this list by the percentage of a team’s offensive zone faceoff wins that the players were out for. I have then created two groups. One group has 29 players. This is the top 10% of players, in terms of having been on for about 10% of the total OZ faceoff wins during this period. These are the players who were out for the greatest percentage of their team’s offensive zone faceoff wins. By extension, these are excellent offensive players who the coaches want on the ice. Sedin, Sedin, Tavares, Lecavalier, Nash, Naslund, Kane, Joe Thornton…people like that.
The second group is the bottom 10% of players. This group has 535 players, the vast majority of whom you’ve never heard of. These players were the least likely to be on the ice for an offensive zone faceoff win. By and large, they are fringe NHLers. They have names that sound like an RV brand (Carter Camper), off brand stars (Brock Trotter), a character from Hogan’s Heroes (Carl Klingberg) or they are JF Jacques.
How will our group of NHL All-Stars, Olympians and Hall of Famers match up in a comparison with our group of, inter alia, failed Swiss draft picks (Luca Caputi) in terms of Corsi% in the 37 seconds following OZ faceoff wins?
Wow, what do you know? Whether it’s people who can’t go outside in Canada because they’re too famous or a guy who you might see in your beer league in a year or two, there’s a massive offensive advantage that is created by an offensive zone faceoff win regardless. Whether it is a superstar or someone you’ve never heard, about 75% of the shots in the 37 seconds are going to belong to the team that won the faceoff.
This has all sorts of implications, which I’m sure people will come to on their own. The critical point for me at this time is this: offensive zone faceoff wins don’t come with a ~75% Corsi% over the next 37 seconds because they’re being taken by stars. Full stop.Email Tyler Dellow at firstname.lastname@example.org