FanPost

5-on-5 vs Close vs Zone Start Adjusted stats

I was looking at one of the recent bubble charts (here), and remembering previous discussions on using Zone Adjusted or Close stats in order to filter out some of the data noise, so I figured I would go ahead and run some numbers and see what impact they bring to the table. I'm just looking at the current season's numbers, as previous analysis has led me to believe that trying to estimate success based on previous performance is not overly useful, and the shortened 48-game season serves as the best proxy for what it would be like to view player performance in the midst of a season. So using various methods, and the data available as of Wednesday morning, here are the R² correlation values.

Metric ............. 5-on-5 ......... Close ......... Zone Adjusted ......... Close Zone Adjusted

GF ................ 0.3285 ......... 0.4875 ................ 0.2435 ......................... 0.3992

GA ................ 0.4921 ......... 0.5368 ................ 0.4975 ......................... 0.5373

Diff ................ 0.7844 ......... 0.7939 ................ 0.7727 ......................... 0.7752

Shots ............. 0.1357 ......... 0.152 ................ 0.1547 ......................... 0.1617

Fenwick ......... 0.1228 ......... 0.1423 ................ 0.1368 ......................... 0.1455

Corsi ............. 0.1003 ......... 0.1267 ................ 0.1081 ......................... 0.1235

So what do these numbers tell us? First being that, as expected, the ability to outscore your opponent is the best indicator for team success, as Goal Differential is still the only instance in which we see a strong correlation with total points. And as we found previously, Goals Against has a stronger correlation than Goals For, so the ability to prevent your opponent from scoring is more important than being able to do so yourself. So defense is the key, although it is up to individual interpretation whether defense means possession or outplaying your opponent in your own zone. Goals For/Against are again the only metric in which we see a moderate correlation with total points. And of the possession numbers, as we saw in our previous study, Shots > Fenwick > Corsi, although they all have a rather weak correlation.

As for which is better between standard 5-on-5, Close, and Zone Start Adjusted... there is no definitive answer. Goals For and Goal Differential have the best correlation with Close statistics, with Goals Against being a miniscule amount behind the Close Zone Start Adjusted stats. Considering the changes from standard 5-on-5, one could postulate that Close greatly increases the offensive output and ever so slightly increases the defensive output, while Zone Start Adjusted greatly decreases offensive output while ever so slightly increasing defensive output. But overall, we are probably better off with the Close numbers.

We see similar inconsistencies with the possession metrics. The Close statistics are all higher than their standard 5-on-5 counterparts, while the Zone Start Adjusted one benefit Shots and Fenwick much more than they do Corsi. The end result being that Shots and Fenwick are more accurately represented by Close Zone Start Adjusted data, while Corsi is just slightly better with Close data. However, seeing as how Shots and Fenwick have a stronger overall correlation, one can surmise that the Close Zone Start Adjusted data is superior when discussion possession metrics. If you think about it though, this makes sense, as the bubble charts people like to use to visually represent the data are usually created comparing zone starts.

However, the next question to answer is whether or not this carries over to individual player performance. But to what do you compare player stats? It is easy to determine team success in regards to total points, but what about individual players? Considering what we know about correlation between team points, the obvious answer would be that a player's +/- On is the measure of success, as a player's ability to outscore the opponent is the only way to win the game. Perhaps that will be the next task, comparing 5-on-5 vs Close vs Zone Start Adjusted individual player stats, and seeing which has the greatest correlation with goal differential between Shots, Fenwick, and Corsi...

The content expressed in fanposts does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff here at Pensburgh.com. FanPosts are opinions expressed by fans of various teams throughout the league but may be more Pittsburgh-centric for obvious reasons.

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