AD­VANCED STATS

How “fancy” met­rics like Corsi and PDO af­fect player val­ues

The Hockey News - Fantasy Pool Guide - - Opening Faceoff - BY DAR­RYL DOBBS

HOCKEY IS FI­NALLY catch­ing up to a move­ment that has per­me­ated all ma­jor sports. Call it “ad­vanced stats,” “fancy stats” or “moneypuck.” It all boils down to the same thing: more ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about a player’s con­tri­bu­tions to his team, go­ing deeper than com­mon num­bers like goals and points.

Thanks to web­sites like be­hindthenet.ca and ex­traskater. com, fans have all the in­for­ma­tion they need on a player or team right at their fin­ger­tips.

Corsi is the most com­mon ad­vanced stat in hockey. Cur­rent Blues goalie coach Jim Corsi started it when he was with Bu alo. He took the plus­mi­nus stat, which is gen­er­ally con­sid­ered use­less by poolies, and ex­panded on it. Rather than goals-for ver­sus goals-against, it looks at shot at­tempts-for ver­sus shot at­tempts-against. So, Corsi is missed shots plus blocked shots plus shots on goal. It pro­vides a greater sam­ple size, which bet­ter in­di­cates how a player’s team con­trols the play when he’s on the ice.

We can also now look at info such as a player’s zone starts over any por­tion of a sea­son. What per­cent­age of shifts did he start in the o en­sive zone, and how many of those ended in his own zone? Then there’s Cor­siRelQoC (rel­a­tive Corsi qual­ity of com­pe­ti­tion), which mea­sures the qual­ity of op­po­nents a player lines up against. This stat takes his Corsi and ad­justs it rel­a­tive to a team’s Corsi while he was o the ice, then ad­justs for the qual­ity of a player’s op­po­nents. Cor­siRelQoC uses an aver­age of this num­ber for the five play­ers on the op­po­si­tion who are on the ice against the player you are study­ing. A higher num­ber in­di­cates that your player is play­ing a higher level of com­pe­ti­tion. This statistic is gen­er­ally re­garded as the sound­est mea­sure­ment of a player’s com­pet­i­tive value.

As far as ad­vanced stats go, when it comes to fan­tasy hockey, they aren’t com­mon and may not be for sev­eral years. That many leagues have in­tro­duced hits, blocks and faceo wins sug­gests poolies are ready for the new wave. Corsi will prob­a­bly come next, re­plac­ing plus-mi­nus in fan­tasy leagues to cre­ate more re­al­ism. It’ll creep into our game as soon as on­line pool man­agers make it a com­mon op­tion.

The ad­vanced statistic I look at the most in my pre-sea­son prep work is dubbed “PDO.” What it stands for is a mys­tery – its cre­ator Brian King ad­mits that – but it’s a mea­sure of luck. The­ory says if you were to add up the team’s shoot­ing per­cent­age when a player is on the ice with a team’s save per­cent­age when he’s on the ice, the num­ber will, over time, ap­proach 1,000. A player with a num­ber of 950 is prob­a­bly in for some bet­ter luck in the sea­son ahead. And by the same to­ken, a player with a num­ber of 1,085 has been en­joy­ing a lopsided amount of lucky bounces. So if you take the PDO num­bers that jump out at you the most, you can drill down fur­ther and look at the team’s shoot­ing per­cent­age while the player is on the ice. If that num­ber is 4.5 per­cent, then ob­vi­ously the chances of them get­ting bet­ter luck in the sea­son ahead are strong.

Look­ing at play­ers with at least 40 games last sea­son, here’s a sam­ple of those whose pro­duc­tion will in­crease or de­cline, ac­cord­ing to their PDO.

Jim Corsi cre­ated ‘Corsi,’ the most fa­mous ad­vanced stat. It tab­u­lates shots di­rected to­ward an op­pos­ing goal, in­clud­ing missed nets and blocked at­tempts.

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