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.