Unconventional Wisdom - Teammate Comparisons

Christian Petersen

A couple of different looks at regular season player performance comparing players to their teammates.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are busy giving fans heart attacks as they prepare to head into Game 5 of the 2014 NHL Playoffs this evening. Everybody has an idea for what they can do to fix the team, who to blame and who should be playing, so I wanted to take another look at how they did in the regular season.

When the season ended a little over a week ago we looked at how the players stacked up compared to their own averages, and then last week we looked at how they stacked up compared to the rest of the league. So this time around we will be looking to see how they perform compared to the rest of the team.

We are going to do this mostly through looking at relative stats, which is the team's performance while the player is on the ice minus their performance when he is not on the ice. We are going to do this for Goals, Shots, and the percentages derived from the other possession metrics. Then lastly we have the Individual Percentages, which shows us how many of the on-ice events that occurred came from the player's own stick.

As per the usual when we do these, bear in mind that the mid-season acquisitions: Pyatt, Stempniak, and Goc; are going to have some of their performance based on their play with their old team, so they may actually be higher or lower than expected.

Likewise, some players have a small enough sample size that their numbers are perhaps a little inaccurate as well. So while I included everybody that had 50+ Close ZS minutes I allowed the ones that are not currently playing to be cut off if they existed well outside the range of the regular players, so you may notice Despres, Kobasew, Sill, Conner, and Zolnierczyk missing on some or even most of the charts.

5-on-5 Zone Start Adjusted Goals Relative

The X-axis is the player's offensive production represented by Goals For per 20. The further to the right the more often the team scores whilst that player is on the ice, whereas players further left see less goals scored when they are on the ice. The Y-axis is the player's defensive production represented by Goals Against per 20. The lower the player is on the chart the less likely it is for the opponent to score whilst they are on the ice, whereas players higher up see more goals go into the back of their own net when they are on the ice. The bubble size is based on GF%, with white bubble representing negative values.

Players in the lower right quadrant are our most successful two-way players, making the team better both offensively and defensively when they hit the ice. Players in the top right quadrant are solid offensive contributors, but are perhaps a bit of a defensive liability in their own end. Players in the bottom left quadrant are solid defensive contributors, although they don't bring much to the table offensively. Lastly players in the top left quadrant are those that are a cause for concern as the team does worse both offensively and defensively when they are on the ice.

5-on-5 Close Zone Start Adjusted Shots Relative

The X-axis is the player's offensive production represented by Shots For per 20. The further to the right the more shots on goal the team takes whilst that player is on the ice, whereas players further left see the team shoot less often when they are on the ice. The Y-axis is the player's defensive production represented by Goals Against per 20. The lower the player is on the chart the more capable they are at suppressing the opponents' ability to get pucks on net whilst they are on the ice, whereas players higher up face more shots against when they are on the ice. The bubble size is based on SF%, with white bubble representing negative values.

Players in the lower right quadrant are our most successful two-way players, making the team better both offensively and defensively when they hit the ice. Players in the top right quadrant are solid offensive contributors, but are perhaps a bit of a defensive liability in their own end. Players in the bottom left quadrant are solid defensive contributors, although they don't bring much to the table offensively. Lastly players in the top left quadrant are those that are a cause for concern as the team does worse both offensively and defensively when they are on the ice.

5-on-5 Close Zone Start Adjusted Relative Percentages

The X-axis is the player's offensive production represented by Fenwick Shooting Percent. The further to the right the higher the team's Sh% whilst that player is on the ice, whereas players further left have a lower team Sh% when they are on the ice. The Y-axis is the player's defensive production represented by Corsi Save Percent. The higher up the player is the better the team's collective Sv% is whilst they are on the ice, whereas players further down lower the team's Sv% when they are on the ice. The bubble size is based on PDO, with white bubble representing negative values.

This time our axes are a little different since positive Sv% is a good thing. So now our best two-way players are in the upper right quadrant, making the team better both offensively and defensively when they are on the ice. Players in the bottom right quadrant are those that excel offensively, but are perhaps a bit of a defensive liability in their own end. Players in the top left quadrant are those that excel defensively, but they do not bring much offensive contributions to the table. Lastly players in the bottom left quadrant are the ones that should concern us as the team is worse both offensively and defensively when they are on the ice.

Individual Percentages

This is the one that is different, as we do not have a relative value with positive and negative numbers centered around an average 0. The X-axis is Individual Points Percent based on 5-on-5 ZS data, which is the percentage of Goals For the player is on the ice for that they had a direct hand in by getting a Goal or Assist. The Y-axis is Individual Shots Percent based on Close ZS data, which is the percentage of Shots For that the player is on the ice for that come from that player's own stick. The bubble size is based on Close ZS TOI per game, so the larger bubbles are the players the team relies on more heavily when the game is on the line.

We don't have as clear cut of a distinction between axes and separate quadrants, so we had to calculate the averages to determine where the axes should intersect. For forwards the X-axis is split at the 69.6% average IPP whilst the Y-axis is split at the 25.0% average ISP. For D the X-axis is split at the 31.5% average IPP whilst the Y-axis is split at the 13.3% average ISP.

So players in the top right quadrant are those that directly contribute to all aspects of offensive production while they are on the ice. Players in the bottom right quadrant directly contribute to their team's ability to find the back of the net whilst they are on the ice, but they tend to defer to their linemates and allow them to take the shots on goal. Players in the top left quadrant are those that put a lot of pucks on net and drive the flow of play, but they are less successful when it comes to actually getting points on the board. Then lastly players in the lower left quadrant are those that just completely ride on the coattails of their linemates, relying on others to both drive the flow of play and to find the back of the net.

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