• Mike Komisarek and Advanced Stats

    by Tyler Dellow • September 28, 2013 • Hockey • 14 Comments

    Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve introduced a couple of different metrics: SAF/100, SAA/100 and a ratio, shifts with at least 1+ SAF/shifts with at least 1+ SAA. I’m interested in using these metrics to take a look at free agent signings that didn’t pan out, to see if we can tell what went wrong.

    Mike Komisarek is a good example of the type of player I’m thinking of. He signed a five year deal with the Leafs at a cap hit of $4.5MM before the 2009-10 season. He played more games in 2013 with the Toronto Marlies than he did with the Toronto Maple Leafs and was bought out of his contract this summer. Komisarek ended up signing a one year deal in Carolina worth $700K. I’m always amazed when things like this happen because it’s just catastrophic – it’s a heck of a pile of money to waste when you have to buy a guy out and it generally means you don’t think you’ve received good value up to that point.

    We have two years worth of data for Komisarek in Montreal and then the data from his four years in Toronto. Let’s take a look, starting with his open play Corsi%.

    Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 12.30.02 PM

    Well that’s weird. Komisarek’s open play Corsi% was better in Toronto than it was in Montreal but his play in Montreal earned him a huge salary and his play in Toronto got him bought out. SAF/100 and SAA/100?

    Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 12.30.17 PM

    It’s hard to find much of a difference here either. He had a slightly lower SAF/100 and SAA/100 in Toronto but it washes out. What if we look at his ratio of shifts with 1+ SAF to shifts with 1+ SAA?

    Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 12.30.27 PM

    Huh. Again, he did better in Toronto than he did in Montreal. Bizarre.

    Komisarek’s Toronto numbers are skewed a little bit by his 2009-10 season, when he played almost exclusively with Tomas Kaberle and posted an open play Corsi% of 57.2%. His SAF/100 was a fine 151.2 and his SAA/100 a fine 137.7. His ratio of shifts with at least one SAF to shifts with at least 1 SAA was a fantastic 1.22. If you knock that season out, his time in Toronto is virtually identical to his time in Montreal. You have to wonder: why was he such a bust in Toronto? What did the Leafs think that they were going to get?

    The Habs shot 9.05% with Komisarek on-ice during his final two years in Montreal. They got a save percentage of 0.926. In Toronto, those numbers were 7.78% and .903. From a PDO of 1017 to 981. PDO’s a hell of a drug. And expensive too. In his final two years in Montreal, Komisarek was on the ice for 95 GF and 90 GA at 5v5; in Toronto it was an abysmal 75 GF and 102 GA. The on-ice save percentage was an absolute nightmare in his last real full season in Toronto – .883. Nobody’s going to look good with that. I suppose you could argue that Komisarek somehow got worse and made it possible for people to take high quality shots but the Leafs had a 46.0% open play Corsi% with him on the ice in 2011-12, as opposed to a 47.0% open play Corsi% in Montreal in the year leading up the Leafs signing him.

    One plausible explanation for Komisarek’s time in Toronto might be that he was pretty much the same as he always was and that what Toronto paid for – PDO – is something that you can’t really buy. Frankly, that seems like a more reasonable explanation to me than “Komisarek was awesome in Montreal and then came to Toronto and was terrible.” The implications though…well, the implications are big. If that’s right, then there are probably a chunk of teams across the NHL paying players for luck and the performance of others and then muttering about the player’s character now that he’s gotten paid when the luck and hard work of others doesn’t move with him.

    If I’m right about this, it seems possible that there’s a lot of misallocated money in the NHL. If Komisareks appear and disappear based on the vagaries of PDO, there’s a market inefficiency there that can be exploited by a manager and team that understand this and know what they’re on about.

    Email Tyler Dellow at mc79hockey@gmail.com

    About Tyler Dellow

    14 Responses to Mike Komisarek and Advanced Stats

    1. Roge
      September 28, 2013 at

      Wow, amazing work here.

      Do you think Carolina has got a steal here? Or with virtually a year removed from the NHL will Komisarek have experienced a significant decline?

      • Tyler Dellow
        September 30, 2013 at

        I don’t think he was ever very good. I think Carolina didn’t pay a lot of money for a guy who wasn’t that special so no big loss.

    2. Brad
      September 28, 2013 at

      I really enjoy the depth of the analysis here. One of the few times I care about something other than the Oilers.

      One thing I’d want to see more of, if you want to do more about this inefficiency, is some criteria on how you judge a superior player or just a good one when using 1+ SAF/SAA.

      also, how big of an inefficiency do you think there is based on just PDO and contracts signed? From what I see of the compliance buyouts for this year, it looks like 15 teams so it might be a league wide pattern. It’s also interesting that the compliance buyouts effect some respectable teams and not just the bottom dwellers.

    3. ILR
      September 30, 2013 at

      In addition to being an interesting case from the advanced stats standpoint, The Maple Leafs / Komisarek deal is also very interesting as an example of mass psychosis, or irrational group-level behavior, if you want to get academic with it.

      I remember there being a huge buzz around Komi in the spring that his contract was ending. He had the joke All-Star selection, he was being touted as the perfect foil for a more cerebral Andrei Markov, the prototypical physical defensive defenseman for the New NHL.

      Once a certain threshold is passed, these kinds of phenomena seem to become self-sustaining. A bit like how there’s nothing like a competing bidder to get you to increase yours way over your preconceived ‘rational’ limit on Ebay. The interest (or scarcity) in the thing you’re bidding on only increases its value in your eyes. The impression in the media that all the big players were supposedly interested in Komisarek only made them more interested in him in the real world as well, and the scarcity standpoint was there to begin with since.. well, Komisarek is like Highlander. There Can Only Be One.

      In effect, there was a ‘run’ on Komi, and even though it’s very fitting that he ended up with the Leafs (led by the bold and brash Brian Burke), I’d be very surprised if he also didn’t have some other 3m+/year offers on the table.

      Komisarek might be the most obvious player to represent this phenomenon, other notable ones were Fabian Brunnstrom, the upcoming gem from the Red Wings Swede pipeline and Steve Mason who’s riding his hot career start to an inflated contract still today. All the easy examples seem to be from past years, actually, so I guess the league has slightly wisened up recently. The Crawford deal was widely questioned this summer, for example.

      • September 30, 2013 at

        This is the “name” phenomenon – something similar seems to be happening with Bolland, Bernier et al in Toronto now.

    4. Phil
      September 30, 2013 at

      Very good article. To add to what ILR is saying, I clearly remember Montreal offering 500k less a year for Komisarek. Toronto clearly weren’t alone, but their desire for truculence just outbid everybody else’s.

      On a side note, I find your graphs a little misleading. It’s best exposed on your SAF and SAA graph, where you say there isn’t much of a difference between the two tenures, but at first sight, we see a huge gap in the graphs.

    5. Ryan V
      September 30, 2013 at

      Interesting that Komisarek posted such a stellar open play corsi in 09-10. If you were just looking at BTN numbers, you’d see that corsi outlier and then figure it was caused by the outlier Zone Start he got (53.4%). Not sure what to make of that, if anything.

    6. HabFab
      September 30, 2013 at

      You can Thank Trevor Timmins on this guy. One of the absolute Worst scouting Directors in pro hockey, Montreal will go Nowhere while he is making our selections.

      • Roke
        September 30, 2013 at

        Komisarek was drafted in 2001. Trevor Timmins joined the organization for the 2002-2003 season so yeah, blame Timmins.

        Never mind that Montreal’s drafting has been among the best in the league since Timmins joined the organization. Montreal will go nowhere while they continue to fiddle away talent for nothing because of “character” or “culture”.

    7. ILR
      September 30, 2013 at

      We at Hockey Inside Out voted Koisarek a good player, so we are never wrong.

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    9. dcy spm
      September 30, 2013 at

      Well Komisarek was good in the AHL and he was good for a while with Markov. And he did OK with Kaberle. He does best when he has a partner who wants the puck and he can just hit people.

      Komisarek was also much, much, better before his fight with Lucic. His last year and a half with Montreal was pretty weak. If he’d played pre-Lucic hockey Montreal would have given him the extra money. Come to think of it if it hadn’t been for Lucic he would have been less eager to go to a goonier organization where he would not have to fight guys like Lucic. Watching him this preseason I don’t think his body or his hockey playing has recovered from Lucic and his confidence certainly hasn’t. I only saw him in the game against Montreal but h was so, so bad in that game…

      I really like the guy, followed him in Hamilton, was really happy with him for a while in Montreal, and wish him well but I just can’t see him having a good year after watching him in pre-season. I hope he heals or fixes whatever has gone wrong but I’m glad Montreal did not sign him back.

    10. Roke
      September 30, 2013 at

      Really interesting piece.

      The narrative was that Komisarek was carried to respectable results by Markov. Unless you’re Pierre McGuire, in which case the narrative was Komisarek carried Markov.

      Hard to believe Montreal used him in tough minutes and made the playoffs, never mind top the conference one year. Amazing what is possible excellent goaltending and a deadly powerplay can do, when penalties were called fairly strictly.

    11. jg
      October 1, 2013 at

      I guarantee his stats were better before the Lucic fight. He was leading the league in hits and blocked shots for 2 or 3 years. But after that fight, for some reason, he was a shell of the same player. I’m glad he picked TO for the same money.

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