Mar 202013
 

I generally think that the majority of people give too much importance to quality of competition (QoC) and its impact on a players statistics but if we are going to use QoC metrics let’s at least try and use the best ones available. In this post I will take a look at some QoC metrics that are available on stats.hockeyanalysis.com and explain why they might be better than those typically in use.

OppGF20, OppGA20, OppGF%

These three stats are the average GF20 (on ice goals for per 20 minutes), OppGA20 (on ice goals against per 20 minutes) and GF% (on ice GF / [on ice GF + on ice GA]) of all the opposition players that a player lined up against weighted by ice time against. In fact, these stats go a bit further in that they remove the ice time the opponent players played against the player so that a player won’t influence his own QoC (not nearly as important as QoT but still a good thing to do). So, essentially these three stats are the goal scoring ability of the opposition players, the goal defending ability of the opposition players, and the overall value of the opposition players. Note that opposition goalies are not included in the calculation of OppGF20 as it is assume the goalies have no influence on scoring goals.

The benefits of using these stats are they are easy to understand and are in a unit (goals per 20 minutes of ice time) that is easily understood. GF20 is essentially how many goals we expect the players opponents would score on average per 20 minutes of ice time. The drawback from this stat is that if good players play against good players and bad players play against bad players a good player and a bad player may have similar statistics but the good players is a better player because he did it against better quality opponents. There is no consideration for the context of the opponents statistics and that may matter.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 forwards in OppGF20 last season.

Player Team OppGF20
Patrick Dwyer Carolina 0.811
Brandon Sutter Carolina 0.811
Travis Moen Montreal 0.811
Carl Hagelin NY Rangers 0.806
Marcel Goc Florida 0.804
Tomas Plekanec Montreal 0.804
Brooks Laich Washington 0.800
Ryan Callahan NY Rangers 0.799
Patrik Elias New Jersey 0.798
Alexei Ponikarovsky New Jersey 0.795

You will notice that every single player is from the eastern conference. The reason for this is that the eastern conference is a more offensive conference. Taking a look at the top 10 players in OppGA20 will show the opposite.

Player Team OppGF20
Marcus Kruger Chicago 0.719
Jamal Mayers Chicago 0.720
Mark Letestu Columbus 0.721
Andrew Brunette Chicago 0.723
Andrew Cogliano Anaheim 0.723
Viktor Stalberg Chicago 0.724
Matt Halischuk Nashville 0.724
Kyle Chipchura Phoenix 0.724
Matt Belesky Anaheim 0.724
Cory Emmerton Detroit 0.724

Now, what happens when we look at OppGF%?

Player Team OppGF%
Mike Fisher Nashville 51.6%
Martin Havlat San Jose 51.4%
Vaclav Prospal Columbus 51.3%
Mike Cammalleri Calgary 51.3%
Martin Erat Nashville 51.3%
Sergei Kostitsyn Nashville 51.3%
Dave Bolland Chicago 51.2%
Rick Nash Columbus 51.2%
Travis Moen Montreal 51.0%
Patrick Marleau San Jose 51.0%

There are predominantly western conference teams with a couple of eastern conference players mixed in. The reason for this western conference bias is that the western conference was the better conference and thus it makes sense that the QoC would be tougher for western conference players.

OppFF20, OppFA20, OppFF%

These are exactly the same stats as the goal based stats above but instead of using goals for/against/percentage they use fenwick for/against/percentage (fenwick is shots + shots that missed the net). I won’t go into details but you can find the top players in OppFF20 here, in OppFA20 here, and OppFF% here. You will find a a lot of similarities to the OppGF20, OppGA20 and OppGF% lists but if you ask me which I think is a better QoC metric I’d lean towards the goal based ones. The reason for this is that the smaller sample size issues we see with goal statistics is not going to be nearly as significant in the QoC metrics because over all opponents luck will average out (for every unlucky opponent you are likely to have a lucky one t cancel out the effects). That said, if you are doing a fenwick based analysis it probably makes more sense to use a fenwick based QoC metric.

HARO QoC, HARD QoC, HART QoC

As stated above, one of the flaws of the above QoC metrics is that there is no consideration for the context of the opponents statistics. One of the ways around this is to use the HockeyAnalysis.com HARO (offense), HARD (defense) and HART (Total/Overall) ratings in calculating QoC. These are player ratings that take into account both quality of teammates and quality of competition (here is a brief explanation of what these ratings are).The HARO QoC, HARD QoC and HART QoC metrics are simply the average HARO, HARD and HART ratings of players opponents.

Here are the top 10 forwards in HARO QoC last year:

Player Team HARO QoC
Patrick Dwyer Carolina 6.0
Brandon Sutter Carolina 5.9
Travis Moen Montreal 5.8
Tomas Plekanec Montreal 5.8
Marcel Goc Florida 5.6
Carl Hagelin NY Rangers 5.5
Ryan Callahan NY Rangers 5.3
Brooks Laich Washington 5.3
Michael Grabner NY Islanders 5.2
Patrik Elias New Jersey 5.2

There are a lot of similarities to the OppGF20 list with the eastern conference dominating. There are a few changes, but not too many, which really is not that big of a surprise to me knowing that there is very little evidence that QoC has a significant impact on a players statistics and thus considering the opponents QoC will not have a significant impact on the opponents stats and thus not a significant impact on a players QoC. That said, I believe these should produce slightly better QoC ratings. Also note that a 6.0 HARO QoC indicates that the opponent players are expected to produce a 6.0% boost on the league average GF20.

Here are the top 10 forwards in HARD QoC last year:

Player Team HARD QoC
Jamal Mayers Chicago 6.0
Marcus Kruger Chicago 5.9
Mark Letestu Columbus 5.8
Tim Jackman Calgary 5.3
Colin Fraser Los Angeles 5.2
Cory Emmerton Detroit 5.2
Matt Belesky Anaheim 5.2
Kyle Chipchura Phoenix 5.1
Andrew Brunette Chicago 5.1
Colton Gilles Columbus 5.0

And now the top 10 forwards in HART QoC last year:

Player Team HART QoC
Dave Bolland Chicago 3.2
Martin Havlat San Jose 3.0
Mark Letestu Columbus 2.5
Jeff Carter Los Angeles 2.5
Derick Brassard Columbus 2.5
Rick Nash Columbus 2.4
Mike Fisher Nashville 2.4
Vaclav Prospal Columbus 2.2
Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim 2.2
Viktor Stalberg Chicago 2.1

Shots and Corsi based QoC

You can also find similar QoC stats using shots as the base stat or using corsi (shots + shots that missed the net + shots that were blocked) on stats.hockeyanalysis.com but they are all the same as above so I’ll not go into them in any detail.

CorsiRel QoC

The most common currently used QoC metric seems to be CorsiRel QoC (found on behindthenet.ca) but in my opinion this is not so much a QoC metric but a ‘usage’ metric. CorsiRel is a statistic that compares the teams corsi differential when the player is on the ice to the teams corsi differential when they player is not on the ice.  CorsiRel QoC is the average CorsiRel of all the players opponents.

The problem with CorsiRel is that good players on a bad team with little depth can put up really high CorsiRel stats compared to similarly good players on a good team with good depth because essentially it is comparing a player relative to his teammates. The more good teammates you have, the more difficult it is to put up a good CorsiRel. So, on any given team the players with a good CorsiRel are the best players on team team but you can’t compare CorsiRel on players on different teams because the quality of the teams could be different.

CorsiRel QoC is essentially the average CorsiRel of all the players opponents but because CorsiRel is flawed, CorsiRel QoC ends up being flawed too. For players on the same team, the player with the highest CorsiRel QoC plays against the toughest competition so in this sense it tells us who is getting the toughest minutes on the team, but again CorsiRel QoC is not really that useful when comparing players across teams.  For these reasons I consider CorsiRel QoC more of a tool to see the usage of a player compared to his teammates, but is not in my opinion a true QoC metric.

I may be biased, but in my opinion there is no reason to use CorsiRel QoC anymore. Whether you use GF20, GA20, GF%, HARO QoC, HARD QoC, and HART QoC, or any of their shot/fenwick/corsi variants they should all produce better QoC measures that are comparable across teams (which is the major draw back of CorsiRel QoC.

 

Dec 152011
 

Yesterday I took a look at the Leafs players on the PK to see who has seen good result and who has seen bad results when they have been on the ice.  Today I do the same thing but look at 5v5 situations from the defensive side of things to see if there is any consistency between 5v5 and the PK.

The Goalies

Player Name GAA SV%
JAMES REIMER 1.41 94.6%
JONAS GUSTAVSSON 2.58 91.3%
BEN SCRIVENS 2.82 90.6%

Interestingly, this is the exact opposite as we saw on the PK where Reimer had the worst save percentage and Scrivens had the highest.  We should have more confidence in these numbers so it is quite possible that Reimer’s poor results are primarily luck driven.  The question is, how much can he improve it?  Last year on the PK Reimer had an 85.6% save percentage which while is much better than this seasons 77.3% still is not good.  He ranked 34th of 40 goalies last season on the PK while he was 6th of 48 at 5v5.  Last year Reimer had a 93.3% 5v5 save percentage so he is actually better this season at 5v5.  Is it sustainable?  Time will tell.

The Defensemen

Player Name GAA FenA20
DION PHANEUF 2.40 12.11
CARL GUNNARSSON 2.25 12.24
CODY FRANSON 2.37 12.51
KEITH AULIE 4.50 12.74
MIKE KOMISAREK 2.34 13.38
JOHN-MICHAEL LILES 2.55 13.77
JAKE GARDINER 1.86 14.82
LUKE SCHENN 2.19 16.63

For those regular readers, I believe players can drive shooting percentages (especially) and suppress oppositions shooting percentages (less so) but we are below the threshold of where small sample size issues outweigh the benefits of doing a goal analysis over a fenwick/corsi analysis.  So, when ranking players defensively we should focus on fenwick (for now).

Ughhh.  While Schenn’s GAA isn’t the worst (it’s actually pretty good relative to his teammates) his fenwick against is awful.  Significantly worse than his teammates.  While Schenn has had a slight bias towards defensive zone faceoffs it isn’t enough so to justify this difference in fenwick against.  Liles, Franson and Komisarek had a higher percentage of defensive zone faceoffs and had better results.  Taking it to a league level, of the 166 defensemen with 250 minutes of 5v5 ice time this season Schenn ranks second last in fenwick against per 20 minutes.  Only Derek Morris of Phoenix is worse.  In the summer I wrote an article about how poor Schenn is defensively and there isn’t a lot in the numbers above to change my opinion any.

Phaneuf, Gunnarsson and Gardiner were the primary offensive zone players which explains in part why Phaneuf and Gunnarsson lead the list but also show that Gardiner still struggles defensively as is often the case with a rookie.  Hopefully, unlike Schenn, he’ll improve with experience.

The Forwards

Player Name GA20 FenA20
MIKE BROWN 1.62 10.36
COLBY ARMSTRONG 2.61 10.7
DAVID STECKEL 2.13 11.02
NAZEM KADRI 3.54 11.78
CLARKE MACARTHUR 2.76 11.79
PHILIPPE DUPUIS 0.81 11.83
JAY ROSEHILL 1.41 12.02
MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI 1.68 12.24
MATTHEW LOMBARDI 4.29 12.97
MATT FRATTIN 1.5 13.2
JOEY CRABB 2.64 13.32
TIM CONNOLLY 1.62 13.53
NIKOLAI KULEMIN 1.98 13.68
JOE COLBORNE 2.79 14.43
PHIL KESSEL 2.46 15.47
JOFFREY LUPUL 2.82 16.47
TYLER BOZAK 2.82 16.57
COLTON ORR 0 20.38

Kessel, Lupul, Bozak – score a lot of goals, give up a lot of goals.  The three of them have very high fenwick against relative to their teammates.  This isn’t unsual for offensive players (high risk, high reward), but the best players in the league find a way to accomplish both offense and defense (i.e. Datsyuk).  The second line of Grabovski, MacArthur and Kulemin seem much more defensively responsible, but surprisingly they have a higher percentage of offensive zone starts than the Kessel line so they should have better numbers, but maybe not to the extent they do.  Brown, Steckel and Dupuis do seem like pretty solid defensive players 5v5.  Those fenwick against numbers for those three are quite good relative to the rest of the team, and the rest of the league.

Overall the Leafs are a decent enough defensive team at 5v5.  Especially once you look past the Kessel-Lupul-Bozak line up front and Schenn (and to a lesser extent Gardiner) on defense.  For some strange reason though, that hasn’t translated very well to the PK.  Why they suck so bad on the PK is pretty dumbfounding.