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Winnipeg Forwards OZQoC

A player’s OZQoC ("Oz-Coke") is a statistical representation of their role. The term OZQoC is composed of the percentage of shifts they start in the offensive zone (OZ) and a Relative Corsi-based approximation of the Quality of their Competition (QoC). Knowing in what situations a player is sent on the ice, and against whom, tells us a great deal about their assignments, and therefore what our expectations of them should be.


Unfortunately it isn’t easy to look at these two numbers and immediately get a clear picture of what it really means. Therefore it can helpful to look for other players with a similar OZQoC, who would basically be their peers on other teams.


Not only are we going to take a look at each Winnipeg forward’s peer groups after the jump to help clarify their roles, we’re also going to use their Relative Corsi scores to see how well they’re playing it.


Forward               OZ%   QoC   RC Peer’s RC Diff

Andrew Ladd          50.6  0.824  9.5   2.6    6.9

Bryan Little         55.2  0.700 10.1   4.0    6.1

Jim Slater           43.4 -0.418 -2.5  -5.2    2.7

Blake Wheeler        53.4  0.756  1.5   1.7   -0.2

Tim Stapleton        59.5 -0.204  2.6   3.1   -0.5

Rob Schremp          43.8  0.323 -3.8  -2.5   -1.3

Alexander Burmistrov 56.5 -0.339 -2.8   0.0   -2.8

Eric Boulton         49.9 -0.786 -6.4  -3.3   -3.1

Evander Kane         54.5  0.499  0.7   4.1   -4.4

Chris Thorburn       46.9 -0.093 -8.1  -3.0   -5.1

Nik Antropov         49.8  0.053 -6.1   0.0   -6.1

Patrice Cormier      44.6  0.236 -8.3  -1.9   -6.4

Radek Dvorak         43.4  0.548 -8.8  -2.4   -6.4

Anthony Stewart      54.5  0.402 -4.0   4.3   -8.3

Minimum 20 GP

First of all, if you’re noticing that the peer group’s Relative Corsi’s relationship with Offensive Zone Start percentage is tighter than its relationship with the Quality of Competition, it’s not your imagination. Since Corsi is a shot-based approximation of territorial advantage, starting more often in one zone or the other is going to result in more shots for or against than expected.


Secondly, you’re probably wondering why some of the easier assignments don’t result in better peer group Relative Corsi scores. For example, Eric Boulton gets the same zone starts at Nik Antropov, faces far, far weaker competition, and yet his peer group is worse (Corsi-wise) than Antropov’s. Why?


A high QoC generally means that you’re facing top competition, and in general that means that you’re on a great line. If your QoC is -0.786 like Boulton’s, that means that your coach has no confidence in sending you out against top players, and that the opposing coaches don’t see you as much of a threat either.

For example, when someone like Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler or Evander Kane are on the ice, opposing coaches make sure their top players hop the boards, too. So Boulton’s peer group include fellow enforcers and depth players, while Antropov’s peer group are a mix of relatively average players. 

In order of performance, let's take a quick look at each forward's peer groups (actually, just the closest 5), with a quick reaction.


Andrew Ladd

Peer Group: 2009-10 Erik Cole, 2009-10 Jochen Hecht, 2008-09 Petr Prucha, 2010-11 Brendan Morrison, 2009-10 Benoit Pouliot


Comments: Andrew Ladd faced the toughest competition on the team, and outplayed his peer group by the widest margin, possession-wise, but I was expecting his peer group to include better players than that.


Bryan Little


Peer Group: 2010-11 Devin Setoguchi, 2010-11 Mike Knuble, 2009-10 Steve Downie, 2008-09 Tomas Fleischmann, 2008-09 Martin Havlat


Comments: Bryan Little’s peers are secondary offensive players – Martin Havlat notwithstanding. Little is one of arguably only two forwards that outplayed their peers.


Jim Slater


Peer Group: 2009-10 Keith Tkachuk, 2010-11 Jake Dowell, 2010-11 Ryan White, 2009-10 Chris Thorburn, 2009-10 Brandon Segal


Comments: No surprise here - Jim Slater had the lowest offensive zone start percentage among their forwards, and faced light competition. That’s generally the sign of a depth player (or a veteran on his way out). Since very little is expected of players like these, Stapleton didn’t do too badly.


Blake Wheeler


Peer Group: 2010-11 Milan Hejduk, 2008-09 Milan Michalek, 2010-11 Mike Ribeiro, 2009-10 David Moss, 2009-10 Valtteri Filppula


Comments: Blake Wheeler got solid second-line, two-way forward minutes. In a role like this you’re expected to pitch in with some secondary offense, while playing responsibly defensively, something Wheeler’s done three years running.


Tim Stapleton


Peer Group: 2009-10 Ryan Shannon, 2009-10 Patrik Berglund, 2008-09 Jamal Mayers, 2008-09 Teemu Selanne, 2008-09 Jeremy Roenick


Comments: Tim Stapleton got highly-sheltered ice-time usually reserved for shaky rookies, depth role players, or the aged. At least he didn’t struggle in this role as badly as Burmistrov did.


Rob Schremp


Peer Group: 2009-10 Rich Peverley, 2010-11 Zach Boychuk, 2009-10 Ales Hemsky, 2009-10 Max Pacioretty, 2008-09 Jon Sim


Comments: At first glance, a 43.8% offensive zone start and an above-average 0.323 Quality of Competition doesn’t look like Schremp is living up to his offensive-minded reputation, but look at his peer group. It's not that unusual to try to stretch Schremp into a Pacioretty-type role.


Alexander Burmistrov


Peer Group: 2009-10 Scott Walker, 2010-11 Michael Rupp, 2009-10 Cal O’Reilly, 2009-10 Jason Williams, 2009-10 Mathieu Perreault


Comments: Burmistrov has a peer group of players that were as sheltered as he was, for various different reasons. What are his?


Eric Boulton


Peer Group: 2010-11 Darren Helm, 2010-11 Adam Mair, 2010-11 Jesse Winchester, 2009-10 Jordin Tootoo, 2010-11 Tom Kostopoulos


Comments: Boulton’s role hardly need obviating – he’s clearly a checking line player. And not an effective one.


Evander Kane


Peer Group: 2009-10 Bobby Ryan, 2008-09 Brooks Laich, 2010-11 Scott Gomez, 2008-09 Devin Setoguchi, 2009-10 Steven Stamkos


Comments: Evander Kane is clearly being called upon to play offensive-minded minutes and given that he was only 19, he didn’t do too badly, especially compared with Anthony Stewart.


Chris Thorburn


Peer Group: 2010-11 Colin Greening, 2009-10 Jed Ortmeyer, 2008-09 Landon Wilson, 2008-09 Dan Fritsche, 2009-10 Mike Comrie


Comments: I can’t think of any better way to say "depth, replacement-level player."


Nik Antropov


Peer Group: 2009-10 Drew Stafford, 2008-09 Viktor Tikhonov, 2008-09 Steve Begin, 2008-09 Jesse Winchester, 2009-10 Patric Hornqvist


Comments: Kind of a mixed bag, but it’s easy to see how Antropov dropped from 67 points to 40 with ice-time like that. His OZQoC is almost smack-dab in the middle of the chart, very average in every respect, but his possession numbers were disappointing.


Patrice Cormier


Peer Group: 2009-10 Rostislav Olesz, 2010-11 Jamie McGinn, 2009-10 Chris Clark, 2009-10 Steve Reinprecht, 2008-09 Saku Koivu


Comments: Hard to reach any conclusions on a 21-game sample, but he didn’t exactly shine.


Radek Dvorak


Peer Group: 2008-09 Manny Malhotra, 2010-11 Jeff Halpern, 2010-11 Michal Handzus, 2008-09 Scott Hartnell, 2008-09 Matt Cookie


Comments: Dvorak may have been assigned a tough defensive role last season, but he is no Manny Malhotra.


Anthony Stewart


Peer Group: 2010-11 Marian Hossa, 2008-09 Jason Blake, 2008-09 Devin Setoguchi, 2009-10 James Neal, 2009-10 Shane Doan


Comments: Now you know why Stewart went from 12 points in 105 NHL games to 39 in 80 last season – his role changed to one shared by more offensive-minded players. He has 97 points in 207 AHL games, which direction do you think his scoring will go if he doesn’t keep getting great minutes?