For the uninitiated, Corsi% Rel is a stat that takes your Corsi% and compares it to what your team does when you aren’t on the ice. So if the Oilers have a Corsi% of 48.7% when Martin Marincin is on the ice and 40.2% when he isn’t, we say that Marincin has a Corsi% Rel of 8.5%. (It’s pretty depressing if you’re a fan of a team with a guy who has as Corsi% of 48.7% and a Corsi% Rel of 8.5%.)
One of the objections that you hear to numbers is that teams don’t buy them. In a general sense, I think that that’s true. I doubt that coaches are keeping a close eye on the Corsi% Rel on their roster. However, they seem to come to similar conclusions.
If Corsi% as a metric of how a player is doing makes sense, and if coaches want to play their best players the most, you’d expect to see that players who get more ice time have a better Corsi% Rel. I was thinking about Benoit Pouliot, who has frequently had an excellent Corsi% Rel, today and thought I’d do a quick graph of Corsi% Rel vs. 5v5 TOI for forwards.
You can see from the graph that as 5v5 TOI increases, so does the Corsi% Rel, generally speaking. Although coaches might not think the game in terms of Corsi%, they are, in a general sense, behaving as one would if they did. Numbers people think guys who are better at generating Corsi% are better players, all other things being equal; coaches tend to play forwards who are better at generating Corsi% more. So if you don’t buy into Corsi% you can, to a certain extent, take it up with the coaches. They’re the ones who behave as if it’s a good metric.
I bring this up because I was thinking about Benoit Pouliot today. Cam Charron wrote about him last summer in the context of him being someone that the Leafs should acquire. The Leafs did not and the Rangers picked him up. He’s been a third liner on their team but he has a killer Corsi% Rel, particularly when you take into account what guys playing 11.15 5v5 minutes generally do.
As Charron laid out, this isn’t unusual for Pouliot. It’s bizarre to me that he keeps bouncing around and making teams better and then not getting much of a contract. He’s currently on a one year deal at $1.3MM in New York and available again this summer. The Rangers are probably the favourites to come out of the Metro Division, in large part because the bottom end of Pittsburgh is a wasteland. I assume that there’s something irritating about Pouliot – sideburns or something – but whatever it is, it’s hard to imagine it being more important than the fact that he seems like an awfully useful bottom of the roster type who hasn’t seemed to require a lot in terms of money or term.Email Tyler Dellow at firstname.lastname@example.org