FanPost

Defining the performance of NHL lines (part 1)


I was reading an article by Tyler Dellow on his great site mc79hockey.com . This article, titled Corsi and Context, tries to explain the importance of context when looking at Corsi stats by breaking up every forward into lines (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th). I'd recommend reading his article, since it does a great job explaining the process.

I was intrigued by what Tyler did so I attempted to recreate his data and tables, except instead of using one season as Tyler did I used the last 5 seasons (not counting this years 48 game season). I added a few columns, and I also recreated the process for Defensemen

I used the process Tyler explained as my guide in this project. All data is from the invaluable behindthenet.ca .

I will now show the data for forward lines and then use that data (in part 2) to look at the Jets this year and where they fit in compared to the rest of the NHL

First, lets explain briefly explain the process so that the data makes sense. I took every forward who played in at least one game from the 2007-2008 season to the 2011-2012 season and sorted by Time on ice/60 at even strength. All numbers for this data are at even strength by the way. I then split the 2885 forwards from those 5 years (players are represented by individual seasons, thus any player who played every year the past 5 years has 5 rows of data that represent them) into 4 equal groups by number of games played.

As Tyler said in his own article,

I wanted to reflect NHL reality so I tried to create four buckets of roughly equal size in terms of the number of games played by players in it.

So the first line players have an equal # of games (or at least as close as possible) as the 4th line players (you will notice that the first line has far less players, which makes sense since the first line players stay all season while 4th liners often rotate in and out of the lineup.

Reminder, this is even strength data only. Thus this only tells us about a player at even strength and not power play ( sorry marc- andre bergeron) or penalty kill.

Forward Lines players avg GP TOI/60 even strength Max minutes Min minutes Rel Corsi / 60 min Corsi On / 60 min Rel Corsi QOC Corsi QOC On ice SH % On ice SV% PDO GF/60 Rel GF/60 GA/60 Rel GA/60 (negative is a good thing) GD/60 Rel GD/60 O zone start %
1st 510 71.34705882 14.42380273 17.8 13.47 5.767022163 4.293413632 0.535742239 0.313444026 9.373055228 0.911114939 1004.845491 2.936672512 0.753002461 2.611887141 0.313913379 0.324785371 0.439089082 52.65371134
2nd 543 67.01657459 12.83452982 13.47 12.19 1.930067594 1.396441857 0.5134547 0.294733197 8.41610905 0.915702069 999.8631592 2.52384902 0.154145804 2.467837711 0.093307059 0.056011309 0.060838745 49.90640494
3rd 687 52.92430859 11.3541115 12.19 10.36 -1.195302872 -1.123923901 0.311433374 0.131443054 7.749786884 0.918505992 996.0038608 2.215858792 -0.241978539 2.354658814 -0.087945411 -0.138800023 -0.154033128 48.87820797
4th 1145 31.79475983 8.468449938 10.36 1.92 -6.285112749 -5.223100963 -0.31251398 -0.398100197 6.571980541 0.922047785 987.7675905 1.716349126 -0.843968026 2.213212638 -0.248258453 -0.496863513 -0.595709573 49.52742407

Quick notes on some of the columns. Each column is how the average 1st liner, 2nd liner, 3rd liner, or 4th liner performed. All stats are weighted by minutes played, thus a player who played 10 games will not affect the averages as much as someone who played 70 games. Rel GF/60 and Rel GA/60 are the weighted averages of the players On ice GF (GA)/60 minus Off ice GF (GA)/60 (basically similar to Rel Corsi). For Rel GA/60 , a negative number is a good thing. This means you are letting up less goals while on the ice then the team is when that player is off the ice. A positive number is bad.

So this data tells us what an average 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th line forward should look like (statistically).

This next chart breaks up each of my four groups into four smaller groups by Rel Corsi. Again, I tried to make the games played equal in each group. Thus, now we have a way of determining at what level a player is performing versus other 1st liners, 2nd liners, 3rd liners, or 4th liners.

Forward Lines Group players avg GP TOI/60 even strength Rel Corsi / 60 min Corsi On / 60 min Rel Corsi QOC Corsi QOC On ice SH % On ice SV% PDO GF/60 Rel GF/60 GA/60 Rel GA/60 (negative is a good thing) GD/60 Rel GD/60 O zone start %
1st line 1 123 73.64227642 14.55834732 14.00552116 11.51982783 0.403332262 0.148170037 9.440397686 0.912236781 1006.640757 3.167676895 1.023903526 2.450149394 0.201800504 0.717527501 0.822103021 54.39302672
1st line 2 127 71.88976378 14.39018401 8.123255645 5.380580914 0.513694515 0.36709378 9.352200657 0.91046849 1003.990497 2.957474206 0.799516978 2.588018272 0.226354391 0.369455935 0.573162587 52.80560894
1st line 3 125 72.856 14.3735017 3.735361432 2.710360712 0.558863804 0.298087236 9.328432954 0.910216771 1003.5011 2.872127529 0.656458504 2.669070954 0.395476273 0.203056574 0.260982231 52.52868956
1st line 4 135 67.34814815 14.37390453 -2.879793406 -2.505685353 0.66835565 0.441659488 9.370763799 0.911532463 1005.240101 2.747316232 0.529590002 2.741806908 0.433369584 0.005509324 0.096220418 50.8711845
0
2nd line 1 148 61.63513514 12.94308485 11.20425194 8.194405005 0.390037355 0.120941038 8.422856946 0.914096683 998.3252528 2.69898012 0.387298743 2.400166279 -0.010852511 0.298813841 0.398151255 52.5307806
2nd line 2 125 72.904 12.8349369 4.610891792 2.691226245 0.473334758 0.381075736 8.593504619 0.912829011 998.7640575 2.592575303 0.268759882 2.521271788 0.170111455 0.071303515 0.098648427 50.48778765
2nd line 3 128 71 12.76299736 -0.269179047 0.550710842 0.524155335 0.269548043 8.50356674 0.915212667 1000.248334 2.54090607 0.14672876 2.506765231 0.125122927 0.034140839 0.021605833 50.15368975
2nd line 4 142 63.85211268 12.79660527 -8.01112173 -5.980831955 0.668789008 0.409717649 8.14298285 0.92072121 1002.151039 2.259305219 -0.191232384 2.443917708 0.090066891 -0.184612489 -0.281299275 46.40259795
0
3rd line 1 187 48.7540107 11.44255347 8.976978849 6.256481189 0.249561611 0.068897873 7.885147059 0.917239067 996.0905381 2.452412613 0.083732331 2.282170086 -0.256793956 0.170242527 0.340526286 51.70301264
3rd line 2 155 58.67096774 11.38535738 1.387519621 1.115945524 0.241085034 0.100136812 7.929812884 0.917628879 996.9270074 2.323195134 -0.114182337 2.375929172 -0.059924965 -0.052734038 -0.054257371 50.69426721
3rd line 3 161 56.29192547 11.25171135 -4.063266132 -2.968953631 0.3289061 0.116968862 7.700721975 0.919896293 996.9035126 2.139363404 -0.336484557 2.331176515 -0.104496018 -0.19181311 -0.231988539 48.21687828
3rd line 4 184 49.375 11.33623335 -11.2560518 -9.024753315 0.427528115 0.240601736 7.480271868 0.919294497 994.0972155 1.94407828 -0.606805086 2.429952205 0.071304719 -0.485873924 -0.678109805 44.84594056
0
4th line 1 351 25.87179487 8.932099989 4.978200805 3.821162662 -0.36135277 -0.400073262 6.565789328 0.919269507 984.9273998 1.910681967 -0.593944598 2.161445106 -0.324213114 -0.250763139 -0.269731484 52.52545935
4th line 2 216 42.06018519 8.6983082 -3.731591958 -3.5089156 -0.332940751 -0.40108995 6.683010259 0.924401854 991.2319568 1.779709565 -0.765781895 2.110747692 -0.362399777 -0.331038127 -0.403382118 49.86808879
4th line 3 230 39.60434783 8.449231529 -9.525694633 -8.430940689 -0.282488663 -0.346340444 6.711778693 0.922482591 989.6003781 1.683903069 -0.863225852 2.249102016 -0.224568738 -0.565198947 -0.638657113 48.38293581
4th line 4 348 26.23563218 7.79773713 -18.44883266 -13.96233976 -0.266656191 -0.448488867 6.304662352 0.922130098 985.1767218 1.4596871 -1.194793413 2.347129661 -0.060635182 -0.887442561 -1.134158232 46.97080685

So now we not only can determine what line a player is (in terms of minutes played), but we can now compare his performance to other guys who play similar minutes.

I'm going to stop here. My next post will look at the Jets forwards and how they performed in relation to the above two charts.

I plan for this to be a series of 4 posts. So if your interested in this information expect 3 more to come out. (1 more about forwards and then 2 about defensemen). If I think of more information I might extend this series of posts. Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas about how to best use this data.


If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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