Time for another go at presenting an alternative view on the Bubble Chart. Last time, I went with Fenwick because it allowed me to present a slightly different view than what everybody else does with Corsi. But what the hell, this time let's jump in with the fan favorite. However, I still prefer to look at HARO and HARD rather than CorsiRel. A few quick notes before we dive in:
- The numbers inside the bubbles are player's jersey numbers. They took up far less room than player names and allowed me to keep all the labels centered at the midpoint of the bubble.
- HARO/HARD is the Hockey Advanced Rating Offense/Defense, a number calculated through a complex formula involving Corsi For/Against both On-Ice and Off-Ice (as in CorsiRel) but with the added inclusion of comparing the player's performance with and without each individual teammate and with and without each individual opponent.
- HARO is an offensive rating, so a positive value means more offense. In this case, we are using Corsi, so the farther right and more positive the more shots/missed/blocked there are when the player is on the ice. In the case of HARO, the value can be viewed as a percentage, so a rating of 10 would mean there are 10% more Corsi events for when the player is on the ice. HARO QoC examines the offensive output of opponents faced. So the higher up and more positive, the tougher calibre of scorers the player faces.
- HARD is a defensive rating, so a negative number means more defense. Again, using Corsi this time, the farther left and more negative the player is the more defensive the player plays. HARD, as a percentage, a rating of -10 would equate to there being 10% fewer Corsi events against while the player is on the ice. HARD QoC is viewed similarly, wherein the players further down and more negative are facing the toughest defenders the other team has to offer, whilst the players at the top see very sheltered minutes.
- The Bubble Size is based on Relative +/- (Goals For On per 60mins - Goals Against On per 60mins). Ultimately, the game is won by the team that scores more than their opponent. So while we can look at the HARO and HARD to see who is playing better offensively or defensively, we still need something to compare it to to see who is most successful at it. So a bigger bubble means you're outscoring your opponent more and thus more likely to be winning games. White bubbles (with black text over yellow background) indicate negative values, while yellow bubbles (with yellow text over black background) indicate positive values.
- I've plotted Corsi HARO vs Corsi HARD QoC, as this allows us to not only see who is playing the most offensively, but also who is managing to do so against the toughest opponents. Conversely, I've plotted Corsi HARD vs Corsi HARO QoC, allowing us to see who the most defensive players are and how they are stacking up against the opposing teams' best scorers. So, without further ado:
Corsi HARO vs Corsi HARD QoC
- The first thing that we notice is that we now have a 4th player who have a negative +/-. Tyler Kennedy is an offensively minded player stuck on the defensively focused Check line. Considering the fact that he is a relatively offensive player, yet facing a lesser quality of defensive opponents, the fact that he is in the negatives is a bad sign. He may very well be the worst player currently on the roster.
- The 4th line isn't good. They could be worse, don't get me wrong, but they are by far the 3 least offensive players on the team, and they match up against amongst the least defensive of opponents. I'm not shocked to find them in the negatives, they are 4th liners after all, but it shouldn't be as drastically negative as it is.
- Bortuzzo, well, he hasn't played in quite some time, but when he does he plays extremely sheltered minutes. He is primarily defensive, and faces the least defensive opponents the opposition has to offer. However, he is decently positive, so in his limited exposure he is playing a good shut-down game.
- Sutter and Cooke on the 3rd line are, as expected, slightly more defensive and match up against slightly stiffer defensive competition than the 4 liners and nowhere near that faced by the 1st liners. They are positive (actually, Cooke is at 0), so they haven't been spectacular, but they are getting the job done. Jeffrey, ostensibly the 7th in the Bottom 6, is much more offensively minded than the others, and actually faces tougher defensive opponents, all while still managing a decent sized positive bubble.
- Engelland is, surprisingly, an offensive player, albeith not as offensive as Despres. However, he does manage to face tougher defensive opponents than Despres. Apparently Despres is still being sheltered, even as far as 3rd pair minutes are concerned, but nowhere nearly as bad is Bortuzzo is. Eaton, the other Bottom Pair D, is extremely less offensively minded (which shouldn't come as a shock) and faces a much lesser calibre of defensive opponents. But they all manage to be positive (Eaton incredibly so, but that is likely due to his limited minutes).
- Orpik and Martin, the "Shut-Down D Pair"... Martin is more offensive than defensively minded Orpik, but Orpik faces tougher defensive opponents. They both have similarly sized bubble too, so they have become fairly effective at what they do.
- Malkin and Neal are disappointing this season. They are both decidedly offensive players, and should be counted amongst the best in the league. However, Malkin is facing off against the level of opponents seen by the 4th liners while Neal is facing off against the equivalent of opponents faced by the 3rd liners. With how good they are offensively, facing such weakly defensive players they should have huge bubbles. But they don't they have bubble about the same size as Jeffrey, Martin, Orpik, and Sutter. They're playing like borderline 2nd/3rd liners, not the elite scoring pair that dominated the league last season. Its not bad, not for an average 2nd/3rd line player, but for elite players like Malkin and Neal, its bad.
- Very oddly, Bennett and Niskanen are up against the toughest defensive opponents. It may be a matter of limited exposure skewing the data, like with Bortuzzo and Eaton, but despite the fact that they are facing stiff competition, Bennett is doing amazing. Niskanen is scoring about as well as Malkin and Neal, which considering he is a defenseman facing extremely tough defensive opponents, I'd day he is doing fairly well.
- It comes as no surprise that Crosby is the most offensive play on the team, followed closely by Letnag, Kunitz, and Dupuis. They face the toughest defenders the opponents can muster (other than Bennett and Niskanen, whose results seem a bit unlikely), and the top line of forwards have amongst the biggest bubbles on the team. But they are, after all, the best line in the NHL (plus a Norris candidate D-man).
Corsi HARD vs Corsi HARO QoC
- The 4th line, despite being devoid of offensive talent, are not particularly skilled defensively either. Vitale actually managed to pull ahead of the pack this time. He is the most defensive of the 3 and faces tougher offensive opponents than the other two. Glass, oddly enough, is now the least defensive. Its a complete 180 from the last bubble chart. All 3 of them are highly negative, so they have negligible offensive output, barely average defensive output, and are getting blown away on the scoreboard. I said before that maybe Kennedy is the worst, but the 4th line is giving him a run for his money...
- Speaking of Kennedy... nearly as defensive as Vitale, meaning nowhere near what you want from a player on the Check line, and only managing to match up against the same level of offensive talent that is faced by the Top Line (meaning mostly Check line players. All while managing to drop to a negative bubble. He needs to shape up or ship out.
- The other members of the 3rd line, Sutter is far and away the most defensive player on the team. Cooke is the next best amongst forwards, but Sutter has the benefit of having a decent sized positive bubble.There are also only 2 players that face off against more talented offensive opponents. They are facing off against the opposing team's best players and still managing to come out ahead. The 7th member of the Bottom 6, Jeffrey, is much less defensive, and faces much lesser opponents. Which is not at all shocking, because he really is a 2nd line player stuck playing on the 3rd and 4th lines.
- Which is exactly where he fits in. The other members of the 2nd line, of which he has been filling in whilst Malkin is injured, are right there with him. Jeffrey and Neal have very similarly sized bubbles, while Bennett's is huge. Malkin himself is rather disappointing on this chart as well. He is one of the least defensive players on the team, and matches up against the same level of offensive output faced by the 4th liners. So offensively AND defensively, Malkin is matching up as if he was a 4th liner. And yes, he is coming away the victor, but he should be completely obliterating them on the scoreboard. Neal is slightly better off than Malkin, playing more like a borderline 2nd/3rd liner both offensively and defensively, but considering Neal's potential its a big disappointment.
- The Top Line, Dupuis is by far the most defensive, matching up against tougher scorers than even the 3rd liners face. Yet accompanied by a huge positive bubble. Crosby and Kunitz are only slightly defensive, but still manage to face off against averagely offensive opponents (as mentioned, primarily the opposing Check line). But despite this, they have an impressively positive output. They are the cream of the crop.
- Orpik is by far the most defensive defenseman on the team (down with the 3rd liners), and him and Martin together go up against the best offensive opponents that any of the D on the roster face. Yet they both come away with positive +/-. I'd have to say that, despite the criticism they receive, Orpik and Martin are performing admirably as the team's shutdown D pair. Martin is more of a Two-Way player, like Dupuis. Which is slightly troubling, because he is being billed as a Shut-Down D. He can wind up overextending himself on his offensive rushes, and has a habit of turning the puck over at inopportune times, but more often than not is able to make up for it and the two of them clean up the play. I would be less harsh on him if he were touted as an offensive D like Niskanen or Letang, but defensively I have to be critical.
- Niskanen is strangely more defensive than one would be led to believe watching him play. He doesn't often face top offensive opponents, coming in at around where the Top Line is. Which actually leads me to believe maybe his offensive bubble is not a mistake, as he is often with the Top line facing off against the opponents' Check line. Though that being said, one would imagine that his bubble should be much larger if that is the case. Letang, frequently his partner, is on the opposite end. Playing less defensively, as opined by his critics, he nevertheless squares off against some of the top opponents and manages to walk away the winner.
- Eaton, seems more obvious that the limited data is making his bubble unreliable. He is plotted as the 2nd most defensive D behind Orpik, which is not really a shock. However, he is shown be face far and away the stiffest offensive output the opponents' have to offer. Being that he is often paired with Letang, one would expect him to be closer to his level of QoC. But, whatever the issue is, Eaton is managing to be on a decent hot streak and has one of the biggest positive bubbles on the team, so he is getting the job done well.
- The final members of the Bottom Pair, Engelland, Despres, and Bortuzzo. Bortuzzo has, as with the other chart, shown to have gotten extremely sheltered minutes. He projects as being not overly defensive, which is troubling for a player that was one of the best Shut-Down D that WBS has ever seen. The only person that is more sheltered is Despres, who is not only the most sheltered but also the least defensive player on the entire roster. Like Bortuzzo, he has talent, he has the potential to be better, but so far he is not playing like he should be. Yet despite the criticism he receives, Engelland manages to be better defensively while also facing a tougher calibre of opponents. Still limited, facing what is seen by Malkin and the other members of the 4th line, but he easily proves why he has a roster spot day in and day out while the other two (and occasionally Eaton) tend to switch off being healthy scratches. Which is not to say that Engelland doesn't get scratched, if they need an offenive boost they bring in Despres, but overall, as a complete player, Engelland is the best Bottom pair D on the team. All 3 are also positive, with decently sized bubble, so that is reassuring that they manage to contribute.