Em­brac­ing ad­vanced stats

The Hockey News – Ultimate Pool Guide - - Opening Faceoff - BY BRIAN COSTELLO

IT’S HIGHLY IM­PROB­A­BLE THAT IN THE SIN­GLE NHL SEA­SON HE played, Jim Corsi was drafted in one of the very few hockey fan­tasy pool leagues that ex­isted at the time. A backup goalie for the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers that 1979-80 NHL sea­son, Corsi’s went 8-14-3 with a 3.65 goals-against aver­age in 26 games. The league didn’t even track save per­cent­age in a for­mal fash­ion. Fast-for­ward 35 years later and the word Corsi has be­come syn­ony­mous with stats an­a­lytic junkies who crave additional facts and fig­ures to ex­plain why cer­tain play­ers are more valu­able than oth­ers on the ice. Fancy stats have be­come all the rage among be­liev­ers. They’re also a light­ning rod for crit­ics who brush them o as un­nec­es­sary lay­ers of ran­dom sta­tis­ti­cal pro­pa­ganda.

Corsi played for a bit in Italy af­ter his NHL stint, went into coach­ing and later de­vel­oped the Corsi stat to mea­sure how hard goalies worked in ready­ing for shots that weren’t just on net, but that were blocked or went wide. There are other an­a­lytic stats out there, and in this Pool­book an­nual, Dob­ber Hockey pool guru Dar­ryl Dobbs ex­am­ines which ones might be­come part of fan­tasy leagues in the fu­ture.

You’ll no­tice in the Power Zone sec­tion on team pages, we re­placed ar­cane plus­mi­nus team lead­ers with lead­ers in Corsi Close and o en­sive zone start rates. We don’t nec­es­sar­ily ex­pect these an­a­lytic stats to be­come part of your fan­tasy league, but cagey poolies can use strong un­der­ly­ing num­bers to see which play­ers drive pos­ses­sion and are more likely to be pro­duc­tive in o en­sive sit­u­a­tions.

Corsi has come a long way in 35 years. He didn’t be­come Ed­mon­ton’s goalie of the fu­ture, but he did reg­is­ter three as­sists, in­clud­ing one on a goal by Wayne Gret­zky. And now he’s mak­ing a lot of points with stats gu­rus.

Let us know what you think about ad­vanced stats. Would you be open to en­ter­ing a pool that tracked Corsi, Fenwick, PDO or any­thing else? And are there any main­stream stats out there you don’t mon­i­tor as much any­more? We’ll lis­ten to your feed­back and con­sider mak­ing changes in next year’s Pool­book.


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