# Flames 2013-14 Adjusted Possession Rates

Byron Bader
December 03 2013 04:01PM

As we cross-over the quarter mark of the season, it’s time to look back at how each Flames player has done possession-wise. If you recall, at the end of last season, Kent wrote an article that provided adjusted final Corsi numbers to give a depiction of how good each Flames player was at driving the play, controlling for various circumstances.

The adjusted corsi equation was developed by Oilers fan/blogger Michael Parkatti. The equation took into account quality of opponents, quality of teammates and zone starts (i.e., where the player tends to start his shift). This makes it easier to compare players on the same club across various lines and roles.

Parkatti’s equation looks like this: Expected Raw Corsi = -11.91 + QualDiff*1.00+OffZS%*.24

So, a player with QualDiff of 0, and a zone start rate of 50% would have an expected Raw Corsi of: Expected raw Corsi = -11.91 + 0 * 1.00 + 50 * 0.24 = -0.15

The formula suggests that Corsi will increase by 1 for every unit increase in his quality of teammates and every unit decrease in his quality of competition. In addition, his equation suggests Corsi will increase by one about every 4 more percentage points in his zone start. A player with a zero QualDiff and starting every faceoff in the defensive end is expected to have a -11.91 Corsi, reflected in the intercept above.

Let’s have a look how each player has looked so far.

## THE FORWARDS

 Player POS GP Corsi QoC Corsi QoT Qualdif ZS% Corsi Expected Corsi On Corsi Adjusted Glencross W 15 3.218 -6.599 -9.817 47.4 -10 -3.04 7.311 Cammalleri W 15 1.161 -6.218 -7.379 54.1 -6.3 0.77 7.075 Stajan C 14 1.295 -6.168 -7.463 38.8 -10 -3.29 6.771 Backlund C 21 2.366 -6.59 -8.956 45.3 -10 -3.41 6.584 Galiardi W 22 2.318 -5.947 -8.265 45.2 -9.3 -4.16 5.167 Jones W 18 1.133 -5.947 -7.08 42.4 -8.8 -6.31 2.504 Bouma W 19 1.669 -9.005 -10.674 45.1 -12 -9.78 1.98 Hudler W 22 1.047 -6.298 -7.345 62.1 -4.4 -2.66 1.691 Stempniak W 15 2.06 -5.851 -7.911 50.7 -7.7 -9.08 -1.427 Colborne C 21 1.927 -6.627 -8.554 57.9 -6.6 -9.25 -2.682 Monahan C 22 0.701 -6.308 -7.009 60.8 -4.3 -7.26 -2.933 Baertschi W 19 0.54 -6.398 -6.938 61.5 -4.1 -8.68 -4.592 Street C 8 3.942 -6.935 -10.877 53.6 -9.9 -16.55 -6.627 Jackman W 10 2.405 -9.228 -11.633 69 -7 -18.97 -11.987 McGrattan W 20 0.955 -8.943 -9.898 53.2 -9 -22.69 -13.65

The first three columns (after games played) have to do with each forward’s quality of competition and linemates as well as the “difference” between them (Qualdif). Next, we have each player’s zone start ratio and his resultant expected corsi based on Michael Parkatti’s equation. Corsi on is their actual corsi/60 minutes. When you take corsi on (i.e., actual corsi) and substract their expected corsi you get the final adjusted corsi numbers. The tables are sorted by adjusted corsi. All the numbers are from www.behindthenet.ca. Many thanks to them and their great work.

Looking at the numbers, there’s not too many surprises. You’ve got essentially three groups: the ones driving the boat (Glencross, Cammalleri, Stajan, Backlund and Galiardi), the guys that are struggling to keep their heads above water (Jones, Bouma, Hudler, Stempniak, Colborne, Monahan Baertschi) and the ones dropping the anchor through the middle of the boat and sinking it (Street, Jackman and McGrattan).

There are a few players that surprised me where they ended up. Baertschi, for me, was the biggest one. While he has had his troubles in all three zones and, at points, he’s looked a little weak on the puck, I felt that he has been driving the play the other way with great regularity. His possession rate has actually steadily imrpoved over the course of the season, so maybe this will change by the end of the year.

Also, Galiardi being a top tier guy in terms of possession also surprised me a little. He’s had a few flashes of brilliance where he’s brought the puck all the way up the ice and used his speed to get around guys wide and create a few chances. However, based on his point totals and how his ice time has been dwindling, I thought he’d come out as a middling possession guy so that was a pleasant surprise.

## THE DEFENSE

 Player GP Corsi QoC Corsi QoT Qualdif ZS% Corsi Expected Corsi On Corsi Adjusted Giordano 8 5.38 -6.436 -11.82 36.7 -14.922 -7 7.892 Brodie 22 2.8 -6.422 -9.225 38.2 -11.967 -4.8 7.157 Russell 22 1.45 -5.581 -7.035 63.8 -3.633 -2.9 0.693 Butler 22 1.53 -6.472 -8.006 40.3 -10.244 -10 -0.006 Wideman 22 1.31 -5.664 -6.969 62.7 -3.831 -4.4 -0.589 Breen 2 -0.9 -7.794 -6.899 70 -2.009 -3.3 -1.331 Smith 7 -1.66 -8.266 -6.604 52.4 -5.938 -8.2 -2.302 Smid 22 -0.51 -7.364 -6.856 39.2 -9.358 -15 -5.922 O'Brien 20 0 -8.115 -8.116 54.1 -7.042 -14 -7.228

Looking at the D, clearly there are two guys that stand out like an elephant at a cocktail party: Gio and Brodie. They can get the puck up the ice and keep it in the o-zone efficiently. Interestingly, Gio has improved dramatically from the end of last year to today. Last year his adjusted Corsi was 1.77 and now it’s at 7.89. Gio had one of his worse years as a Flame last year and he appears to have rebounded nicely this year to get back to the player that he is capable of being. So to that I say Gio - get well, get well soon, we want you to get well!

Beyond those two possession dynamos, you have the guys that keep their heads above water in Russell, Butler and Wideman followed by Smith in a not terrible range. Then you have Smid and O’Brien getting killed on possession every night. In short, we can be legitimately terrified with every shift they serve together. So really no surprises on D, although Butler was terrible by this measure last year and the start of this season so it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up.

## CONCLUSION

There are not too many surprises in the bunch, except for maybe Baertschi and Galiardi. Gio and Brodie are two good possession D-men. When healthy, they serve as Calgary’s top D pair and likely had a lot to do with Calgary’s early success. While Backlund has fallen back slightly from his possession numbers from last year, he’s still doing what he does … driving play the good way. If anything it’s more evidence that he’s a valuable commodity to this team and if the Flames were to trade him it would be a pretty horrible decision. It’s been stated before but he’s a cheap two-way centre that continually has great possession numbers. The Flames likely wouldn’t get anything more than a 3rd rounder for him on the market. He’s a no-brainer to keep for the rebuild in my mind and many others.

Byron has always been curious about numbers and stats, especially related to hockey. His background includes schooling heavily-focused on psychology, economics and statistics and a professional background revolving around reseach, segmentation, data mining and statistics. His love for hockey is as deep as the ocean is wide. Tell him your questions and let him into your heart. Twitter: @Baderader; Email: byron.bader@gmail.com
#1 RexLibris
December 03 2013, 10:53PM

Were I the Oilers' GM I would offer up a 3rd round pick for Backlund right now without a moment's hesitation.

Some smart GM is going to (potentially, mind you) pick the Flames' pockets with this player.

#2 Truculence
December 03 2013, 05:28PM

Yeah, Baertchi's underlying numbers are pretty meh. Given that he isn't scoring at Monahan's rate either, I don't have a problem with his benching.

It's trite, but I'll say it again: he's gotta be more assertive. Go to the dirty areas, take more shots, and back-check furiously.

#3 CDB
December 04 2013, 08:43AM
beloch wrote:

Backlund is a proven NHL'er who drives possession, was a first round pick, and is just 24. A third round pick for that is insulting. Colborne for a fourth rounder was considered a steal, and that was before he proved he could play in the NHL, and not nearly as well as Backlund.

Backlund is clearly worth much more than a third rounder now, even though he's probably worth a lot less now than he will be a year from now. If Feaster and Burke sell off Backlund this year, let alone for such an absurd price, I'll be flabbergasted. That would be epically poor asset management.

Stajan is the center to sell this year. He's older and near peak value. Despite Stajan's quality linemates and copious TOI, Backlund is just 2 points behind, and his adjusted corsi is nearly identical. Hartley may have it in for Backs, but only a total moron would keep Stajan and trade Backlund.

I agree he should be worth considerably more, but let's review some of Jay's past deals and how they have devalued Backlund. Feaster has no idea of an fancy stats. He sees his best buddy (and godfather of his children) benching a forward that doesn't score a ton and is not physical. He is ripe for the picking. A GM can go to feaster and say I'll take this former first rounder, who is doing nothing and on your 4th line, off your hands (not accurate but Feaster doesnt know any better).

For gods sake, look at that Bouwmeester deal. The guy is in the running for the Canadian Olympic team, and Jay managed to get a first round pick, a 5'9 minor league D man and a goalie who has an .890 NHL save percentage that was playing in the the 4th or 5th best league in the world at the time of the deal.

It kills me to say it, but Rex is probably right. Feaster has no idea the value Backlund brings and will probably deal him for peanuts.

#4 everton fc
December 03 2013, 04:13PM

Smid doesn't seem to be much of an improvement in the 5/6 slot.

Brossoit looks pretty good down in OKC. Here's hoping the organization didn't make a huge mistake moving the former, for the latter.

#5 mattyc
December 03 2013, 04:24PM

#6 beloch
December 03 2013, 04:32PM

Most of Smid's stats this season are from playing for the Oilers. They have no defensive structure at all. Horrendous! Also, assuming that big fat 0 for QoC isn't a typo, he faced middling competition with worse teammates than anyone! That might also produce aberrant results. I wouldn't be surprised if his numbers improve the longer he's away from Eakins.

Breen's numbers are a lot better than I was expecting, but it's a very small sample for him. He might dive for the bottom if played more. Giordano also has a somewhat small sample size thanks to his injury. Hopefully he wasn't just temporarily in the zone!

At the other end of the ice... Backlund and Stajan are really starting to look interchangeable. Neither one is going to generate a lot of points, but it's a bit of a waste to have both of these players if you're going to play one on the fourth line. It's time to trade Stajan or Colborne. I bet Colborne is worth more than a fourth rounder now.

#7 Kent Wilson
December 03 2013, 08:33PM

@coachedpotatoe

The most improtant number to consider is the last one in the table. It has been corrected - as best as we can manage - for all for the confounding variables like quality of teammates, zone starts, etc.

Your last comment is noteworthy and something I'd like to look into...driving play north is a feedback loop that leads to more offensive zone draws for other players on the team. One of my pet projects would be to determine how many more o-zone face-offs an percentage increase in corsi causes.

#8 mattyc
December 03 2013, 11:29PM
John wrote:

As a benchmark, I wonder what Crosby's corsi is? or Gretsky?

[nerd alert]

Crosby has a Corsi QoC of -0.603, Corsi QoT of 6.664

This means his qualdif is 7.267.

zone start is 47.1%

Raw expected corsi is > -11.91+7.267+(47.1*.24) == 6.661

Corsi on is 14.15, meaning his adjusted corsi is 7.489

#9 beloch
December 04 2013, 06:10AM

@RexLibris

Backlund is a proven NHL'er who drives possession, was a first round pick, and is just 24. A third round pick for that is insulting. Colborne for a fourth rounder was considered a steal, and that was before he proved he could play in the NHL, and not nearly as well as Backlund.

Backlund is clearly worth much more than a third rounder now, even though he's probably worth a lot less now than he will be a year from now. If Feaster and Burke sell off Backlund this year, let alone for such an absurd price, I'll be flabbergasted. That would be epically poor asset management.

Stajan is the center to sell this year. He's older and near peak value. Despite Stajan's quality linemates and copious TOI, Backlund is just 2 points behind, and his adjusted corsi is nearly identical. Hartley may have it in for Backs, but only a total moron would keep Stajan and trade Backlund.

#10 Burnward
December 04 2013, 07:22AM

Hey Rex,

Sven and Mickis for Yak.

#12 mattyc
December 03 2013, 04:24PM

T.J. Brodie.

#13 clyde
December 03 2013, 05:08PM

I wonder how much Wideman dropped in the last 5 games before his injury? He really looked tired and a step slow compared to earlier.

#14 Craig
December 03 2013, 05:41PM

I hope gio's resurgence isn't just small sample size. He definitely passed the eye test in those eight games he looked tremendous. It's just such a big leap forward from previous years.

#15 coachedpotatoe
December 03 2013, 08:12PM

I will the first to admit I don't really follow all this tables but that is okay. What suprised me is how low the numbers were for both Hudler and Wideman. I think Hudler has played very well this season especially as he has been asked to play with kids and not the other veteran skilled players. I think that has kept his numbers down. I also wonder if Wides numbers dropped after the injury to Gio, as he had to play more tougher minutes. It could also be that he had some games with Butler as well.

I also wonder if those possession numbers for a guy like Backs then lead to offensive starts for Hudlers line that results in scoring chances, Is any of that tracked?

#16 Baalzamon
December 03 2013, 09:01PM

@coachedpotatoe

I think Wideman has had a few very rough games lately, so that would hurt his numbers.

I don't think he's actually been playing much tougher minutes since Gio's injury. To my knowledge the tough matchups and defensive starts still tend to go to Brodie and whoever's playing with him.

On a nother note... damn is Brodie good.

#17 John
December 03 2013, 10:23PM

As a benchmark, I wonder what Crosby's corsi is? or Gretsky?

#18 beloch
December 04 2013, 06:16AM

In other news, Ramo is getting the start today. This shows an almost shocking level of sanity from Hartley. Here's hoping Ramo doesn't blow it, because he'll probably wind up on the bench for another month if he doesn't deliver a quality start!

#19 coachedpotatoe
December 04 2013, 07:43AM
Baalzamon wrote:

I think Wideman has had a few very rough games lately, so that would hurt his numbers.

I don't think he's actually been playing much tougher minutes since Gio's injury. To my knowledge the tough matchups and defensive starts still tend to go to Brodie and whoever's playing with him.

On a nother note... damn is Brodie good.

His minutes might not have been significantly tougher, I just wonder with the depleted Dcore that he might be out there to long at times, exposed during crossover shifts and sometimes playing with a partner who is more vulnerable than Russell.

Yes indeed Tj has played well. Many had hoped he would be more offensive but I am so happy with his play. I also found it interesting that despite missing the last 8 games Gio has more points than some of the forwards, I hope they are not rushing him back to soon. Also we should not expect him to be playing as well as he did before his injury.

#20 Burnward
December 04 2013, 09:34AM

@Byron Bader

Burke is a trade Jedi.

#21 ?
December 04 2013, 10:31AM
Burnward wrote:

Burke is a trade Jedi.

Certainly true when there's a deal involving CGY.

#22 RexLibris
December 04 2013, 10:40AM

Just to clarify, I didn't suggest Backlund for a 3rd round pick.

It is taken from the article.

Second last sentence, in fact: "The Flames likely wouldn’t get anything more than a 3rd rounder for him on the market."

My comment was if that all Feaster wants for him, I'd be on the phone yesterday.

#23 Robear
December 04 2013, 12:58PM
Truculence wrote:

Yeah, Baertchi's underlying numbers are pretty meh. Given that he isn't scoring at Monahan's rate either, I don't have a problem with his benching.

It's trite, but I'll say it again: he's gotta be more assertive. Go to the dirty areas, take more shots, and back-check furiously.

I see Baertchi and Hudler, and even Wideman to a certain extent being affected in their corsi numbers, by what I'll call the "Alex Tanguay effect".

Tanguay (if I recall correctly) never really shone with his advanced stats (constantly negative corsi and high shooting percentage), even when he was driving the play consistently. I based that off watching him and then seeing his stats, so there might be some bias in there, but my theory is that the highly skilled distributors (such as Tanguay, Hudler, Baertchi, etc.) have their Corsi numbers disproportionately depressed by their tendency to try and increase the QUALITY of the shots taken. So when compared to players that play a simpler more N-S, get pucks to the net kind of game, their stats dont necessarily reflect their impact on the game.

One man's theory anyway. Shoot away at the holes if you dare!

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