• CorsiRel and Famous Defenceman – Requests

    by  • May 31, 2014 • Hockey • 19 Comments

    If you haven’t read the first two posts about this, you should do that here and here. If you have, you know that I’m looking at how defencemen did relative to their teams in seasons in which a) they played for one team, b) they played at least 19 minutes a night and c) they played at least 41 games.

    I got a ton of requests on Twitter and think I got most of them. Some guys aren’t appropriate because they didn’t play enough or only have a year or two in the bank. Red line above blue line means you do better than your team; blue line over red means you do worse. To the graphs.

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    I know he was at Team Canada’s camp in Calgary last August; I don’t really see it.

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    With Boyle leaving San Jose, he strikes me as a guy who might be a great buy for a team with a young defence corps that could hide him a bit at 5v5. His numbers were down this year relative to his team but he had a concussion and, by his account (and in keeping with the finest traditions of pro hockey) came back too soon. He can still play on the PP. His numbers were also very good, it just wasn’t like he was driving the bus.

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    Nothing to say really. Looks a legit top four guy to me.

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    There are a couple of Canucks defencemen in here. Those are fine numbers. I’m on record thinking the Canucks are going to bounce back next year. Their defence is part of the reason why – lots of guys with lots of experience who can play.

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    Still a young guy and I’m sure he’ll put it together soon. Future offensive dynamo, I hear.

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    I actually found this intriguing enough that it got a second graph. Coburn seems to have kind of come tumbling down the past few years.

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    When you see this, it’s even weirder. He does better with Timonen than without – no surprise, Timonen can play – but the Flyers have been doing better the past four years, as Coburn’s performance has declined. That’s surprising, absent the competition he plays getting really ramped up. I know the Oilers were looking at him last year; may have been a bullet dodged, absent the quality of opposition he faced having gone way up over the past few years.

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    I don’t really think Fowler’s joined the elite yet, no matter what USA Hockey thinks.

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    Another Canuck who looks pretty good to me. Numbers were down this year, but then that happened to a few guys under Tortorella.

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    New Jersey defencemen terrify me, like all their players, because it seems like they just churn out system players. Could Greene post big numbers elsewhere? Maybe. I wouldn’t want to make that bet though.

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    Yeah, I don’t really get the Carlson popularity either. His Corsi falls in lockstep with Washington’s.

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    Erik Johnson’s numbers look a little better than I would have expected. Still pretty disappointing for a first overall pick – you want those guys to move the needle.

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    I’m going to have to look at some open play numbers for Green, Carlson and Alzner. Washington’s fall back to earth over the past few years has affected all of them, but Green still stands well above the Caps when he’s not on the ice, which isn’t true of the other two.

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    Letang’s numbers stop in 2011-12 because he doesn’t have enough games after. I can tell you that his numbers in 2013 were very good as well. This year’s set of numbers was poor. Obviously, he had some health challenges this year. If he can get back to where he was, no problem with him as a top pairing defenceman.

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    Martin’s battled injury as well the past few years. His situation’s a little different – the numbers aren’t really there anymore (after the years on this graph).

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    I think Niskanen’s pretty intriguing. He had great numbers in 2013 as well and his numbers as a young guy in Dallas weren’t bad either – he got killed by PDO. He may not put up the points for whoever signs him but I bet he still turns out to be a valuable signing.

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    You can see that, unusually for a no-offence guy, Smid was above water for a few years, albeit on awful teams. If I was a team trying to get something out of him as a 4/5 guy, I’d be sure to have a real puckmover with him. Not optimistic that he’ll age well.

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    I really do wonder if Staal isn’t an overrated guy too. This year’s spike is, I suspect, attributable to Stralman. They put up a 56.2% Corsi together. Apart, Staal was 48.6%, Stralman at 56.1%.

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    I kind of feel like Garrison had the year that people think Alex Edler had. This has to be a bit of a worrying thing for the Canucks and something that they’ll need to fix if they’re to become a playoff team again next year.

    Update: I thought I’d included Gilbert earlier – turned out I’d made the chart but not included it. Here he is.

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    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com


    19 Responses to CorsiRel and Famous Defenceman – Requests

    1. D. Green
      May 31, 2014 at

      Hey what about the late, great Tom Gilbert ?

    2. Truth Observer
      May 31, 2014 at

      You correctly stated in a previous article that Corsi Rel is just part of the story….then judge 75% of the defencemen in this article exclusively on Corsi Rel.

      • Tyler Dellow
        May 31, 2014 at

        It’s best to think of these as tentative judgments – apologies if I’ve miscommunicated that. Pretty much everything here, I’m happy to change my view on if the other factors mentioned support it.

        • Truth Observer
          May 31, 2014 at

          Thanks for clarifying. For example, I think it’s a little unfair to pass judgement on Fowler and OEL as players this early in their careers. Their numbers aren’t outstanding, but seem to have dropped as a result of playing against tougher competition. I think their graphs will end up looking a lot like Vlasic’s in a few years. I think they pass the eye test in terms of speed and puck movement.

          • Tyler Dellow
            May 31, 2014 at

            I don’t have a problem with that analysis. It’s just talking about them as if they are stars now that I find a bit off.

            • Dcsportsfan85
              June 3, 2014 at

              Green is definitely the best puck moving defenseman for the caps and drives the play. He also is given more offensive zone starts and plays against significantly weaker competition than Alzner/Carlson.

              Zone adj. possession metrics would paint a better picture, but that still doesn’t account for the quality of competition.

    3. woodguy
      May 31, 2014 at

      Thanks for this. Interesting stuff.

      I was surfing through the WOWY and various QC’s of some of the players and I think that players like Fowler, OEL, and some others have graphs that show change in assignment (and partner to some extent)

      Positive RelCor, moves up the roster and comes down a bit as the QC increases.

      I think you made a good point about Staal with perhaps Stralman being a big factor.

      Changes in assignment and partner factor into a lot of this I think….along with ability.


      Yes, please do a Gilbert graph.


      Petry’s graph is amazing when you realize he was playing toughest comp on one of the worst teams with Smid, Marincin and Ference as his 3 most common partners.

      • Tyler Dellow
        May 31, 2014 at

        Yeah, that makes sense WG. Colby Cosh and I were talking about OEL and he made the same point. At the same point, if you can pick a defenceman for next year only, who do you think is a more popular choice: OEL or Brian Campbell? I think a majority would pick the former and I’m not sure that’s right.

        • woodguy
          June 1, 2014 at

          That’s exactly right.

          OEL would be a the popular choice, but if your criteria was “who will be better next year” the evidence overwhelming points to Campbell.

          I was mentioning “famous” D at LT’s too.

          You touched on it a few weeks ago, but D who are not famous, but post very good RelCor in tough situations is probably the biggest market inefficiency in the NHL right now.

          • Be_rad
            June 2, 2014 at

            On your last comment: do you mean to say not famous D men with good RelCor are undervalued in terms of contract? If so, may we have a list, please? Asking for a friend.

            • woodguy
              June 2, 2014 at

              Not at my PC where I keep this stuff, but off the top of my head:

              Greene (NJD)

              I’ll check later and give you more.

          • Be_rad
            June 9, 2014 at

            Did you happen to follow up on my question?

    4. Jack Han
      May 31, 2014 at

      Took a quick look at Tom Gilbert. The guy has done consistently well playing against pretty tough competition. Had a first negative relCorsi year plus brutal PDO in Minnesota, then gets bought out.

      • woodguy
        June 1, 2014 at

        There is also a very good chance that he doesn’t get bought out if Heatly doesn’t end the season on the IR making him ineligible for buy out.

    5. Truth Observer
      June 1, 2014 at

      On another note, interested to hear your thoughts on CorsiRel as a tool for evaluating forwards. I haven’t tested this myself, but I’m sure it’s less reliable year-over-year due to line combinations generally changing more often than defensive pairings, and the ability for just one forward on a line to significantly affect his linemates’ possession numbers. I’m less sure on that second point, but it does seem that way from what I’ve noticed looking at WOWYs.

      An obvious example is Kessel putting up great CorsiRel numbers with Savard, Stajan or Grabovski, and putting up bad numbers with Bozak. Carlyle’s probably a main source of blame for 2012-2014, but his numbers with Bozak were slipping under Wilson as well.

    6. Barry
      June 1, 2014 at

      Rangers fan here. I never was a huge fan of Marc Staal but I do believe that the 3 year dip you’re looking at is almost directly attributable to Tortorella’s system. I would love to see a breakdown of what those 3 years did to the Corsi numbers of Rangers D-Men

    7. chelch
      June 3, 2014 at

      This is great stuff! It’s even better with TSN in the background going on about NYR’s top 3 D-men and not mentioning Stralman.

      Are we going to get a top UFA/RFA list from you?

    8. Jeremy
      June 3, 2014 at

      Could run this for Dustin Buffylin? Very curious about the difference from forward to defense. I bet he was better on defense than most people in winnipeg would give him credit for.

    9. dan
      June 3, 2014 at

      Great work…It’s been speculated that Garrison has chronic groin issues..for ~ the last years or so..could explain his dip?!

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