With the 2014 NHL Playoffs kicking off tonight it seemed like the opportune time to post the final Pittsburgh Penguins player grades for the 2013-14 season. As our previous installments have stated, this grades are showing how the player performed compared to their own standards, not how good they were compared to the rest of the team, so don't be upset if your favorite player or obvious Hart Memorial Trophy candidate didn't score higher than you would like.
We made minor tweaks to the formula throughout the season. In the 1st Quarter we compared the players' 5-on-5 performance during the 1st 20 games to that of their previous 3 seasons' 5-on-5 average. In my first attempt I used a percentage difference rather than a percentage change when comparing the values, which I later found to be less than ideal, and the grades were based on the US scale, which caused some people to worry about scores being too low.
For the 2nd Quarter we were able to compare those 21 games 5-on-5 numbers to the players' 5-on-5 performance during the first 20. I made changes based on suggestions in the comments and switched to percentage change and the Canadian grading scale, and expanded the number of categories for goaltending to include different situations.
Then in the 3rd Quarter we took that 20 game chunk and compared it to the performance in the first half of the year. Again there were some changes made, as we now split the data so that individual stats were compared at 5-on-5 while on-ice numbers were compared in Close situations. In looking at the data I also noticed that I still needed to tweak the numbers, as looking at the percent change in opponent's Sh% yielded better results than looking at individual Sv%, and for goaltenders I needed to remove the Shutout Percent category.
Now for the final grades, I had originally intended to continue the trend by comparing the 4th Quarter data to the previous 61 games, however I had a hard drive die and lost all my accumulated spreadsheets. So I went back to the beginning, and what we end up with is comparing the entire 2013-14 season performance to that of the previous 3 seasons. So a player with a high grade did better this year than they have in previous years, whereas a player that hasn't been able to keep up with their previous level has a lower grade. And to reiterate, this does not mean the player had a bad season or played worse than his teammates or other players in the league, but rather that he was just unable to maintain the pace he had in previous years.
As before, we looked at multiple categories, although this time I went with traditional shot based metrics rather than the Fenwick and Corsi I had previously used, in light of research showing that for the Pens at least it had a slightly higher correlation with winning. I also expanded by two categories, keeping the per 60 possession numbers rather than just looking at the differential, since a recent look at relative numbers made it evident that some players aren't being given proper credit for their defensive ability to suppress shots on goal.
Individual statistics were weighted to be worth 4 grade points and were taken as 5-on-5 data: Goals per 60, Points per 60, Shots per 60, and Shot Percent. On-ice team statistics were weighted to be worth 3 grade points and were taken as 5-on-5 Close data: Goals For per 60, Goals Against per 60, Goals For Percent, Shots For per 60, Shots Against per 60, Shots For Percent, Shooting Percent, and Save Percent. For goaltenders we looked at Points Percent as well as Goals Against Average and Save Percent in three different categories: overall, 5-on-5, and Close. As an individual metric, Sv% was weighted to 4 grade points whereas the others were weighted to 3 grade points because they are team statistics. Percent change in PDO is listed in order to add context, but was not included in grading.
The grades were calculated using the 12-point grading scale using the Canadian standard: A 80-100, B 70-80, C 60-70, D 50-60, and F below 50. The percent change was added to the midpoint value of 75%, so a player who gets an A is performing well above their previous level, whereas one who gets a D is struggling and playing below their ability. The overall grade was calculated as a GPA, but rounded to the nearest whole number, so some players got a slight boost to the next grade despite not quite reaching it.
Because we are now comparing the results to previous seasons, there were a handful of players who I was unable to include. This includes all of our rookies: Dumoulin, Gibbons, Maatta, Megna, Payerl, Samuelsson, Sill, and Zatkoff. Also I skipped Letourneau-Leblond because he did not play enough in the previous 3 seasons to reach HockeyAnalysis' 50 minute cutoff, so I wasn't able to get any on-ice Close data to compare to. I also chose to skip Drazenovic and Zolnierczyk, who both had enough data, but there was an error that caused their data to be split under two different names, so I didn't want to use them until that gets fixed in the next update.