As we finish the season, I figured it was time for an update of our visualized Corsi charts. As a reminder, we look at the visualized Corsi charts for two reasons: to identify patterns and to determine if ice time is being distributed properly. The first time we looked at this, the Flames were struggling in basically every facet of the game. Now? Not so much. Charts are sorted by EV TOI, and every player has played at least 20 games and 120 minutes with his counterpart. If the cell is blank, they haven’t played enough together to get a good enough sample. If you want or need a primer, or want to see the last article, click here.
The first chart is once again our standard Visualized Corsi chart – under 50% is blue, 50%-55% is orange, above 55% is red. You’ll notice something we didn’t have last time…
We have red!
It’s pretty obvious as to who is driving the bus on the blue line. Brodie and Giordano are a legitimate number one pairing and they certainly play like it. Look at the vast amounts of red and orange in their names and the lack of blue. The amazing thing is that Giordano and Brodie play against the toughest comp the league has to offer and they’re still doing as well as they are. Backlund, Cammalleri and Galliardi all make their team mates better than average. There’s some numbers here that might look out of place, but that’s likely due to a combination of smaller sample size and competition/deployment – but I’m not quite able to adjust correctly for those things just yet. Hudler and Stajan are also guys who move things forward, but not as much. Somehow Wideman and Jones are almost 52%. Not totally sure how that happened, aside from circumstances. Jones, McGrattan, Monahan look to make their teammates worse.
The second chart shows the Corsi% relative to the team’s Corsi%. Last time we did this, the number was just 43.9% – now it’s all the way up to 47.0%, so you might see a little less red than you did last time.
We get a good picture of the Forwards and their impact here. Backlund, Cammalleri, Galliardi and to a lesser extent Byron and Glencross seem as though they’re able to drive their teammates past the water mark. I like this chart because it allows us to see who is “hurting” the team and who is “helping” it. Usually those numbers are as simple as “under 50%” and “over 50%” but every team is different. Generally, the guys in red are making the team better while the guys in blue are making it worse. It’s no coincidence that the guys Butler and Wideman are above-average with are the guys who are also driving play away from them. Butler has spent more time with TJ Brodie as his defensive partner than anyone else, and his results are still sub-par – like his WOWY, which goes from 49.7% with Brodie to 42.7% without him. That’s from “top-4 level” when considering his comp with Brodie to “ECHL level” without him. Lots of parallels to the situation where Butler and Bouwmeester were partnered. Wideman was probably Calgary’s best defenseman by the underlying and counting numbers from the point he was signed until he hurt his hand earlier in the year. Since then, he’s been the same ol’ Wideman: okay counting stats buoyed by circumstance (ZS still well over 50%) and poor underlyings since he’s miscast as a #3 guy who can carry his partner. At best, Wideman is a 4 who probably doesn’t need to be carried.
The last chart is the duo’s CF% relative to the rest of the team. The cells are grouped in tens – darker blue, worse; deeper red, better. The two white ones are right in the middle.
Hard to tell if Giordano’s dominance here is a product of him alone or of him and Brodie sharing the ice together. The reason the second can be true is simply because about 65% of the time Giordano’s been on the ice it’s been with Brodie, while Brodie has to share between Giordano (45%), Butler (25%, which means Butler is a 42.7% Corsi player 75% of the time he’s on the ice) and Russell (20%). Obviously, the latter two are not as good at the hockeys as the former. Backlund and Galliardi look excellent once again here. Smid, however, does not. He has 6 of the 10 worst percentages on the team, and based on who they’re with, there’s no way deployment has anything to do with it, (and after spending a little more time on it) his quality of competition doesn’t seem to matter either. He’s an interesting case because before this year he had legit top-4 numbers and now he’s absolutely cratered. His CF% is 14th worst in the league among regular skaters (i.e. 50% of team’s GP). You might say “well, he was in Edmonton for so long” or “his CF% is bad because of the Flames’ CF% is bad”. Unfortunately, there’s been only marginal improvement since Edmonton (while everyone else around him has been getting better at a faster rate) and his relative CF% is in the bottom-25 of regular skaters. If the Flames weren’t in danger of not being able to hit the cap floor, he might be a compliance buyout candidate.
We’ll find a little more context behind these numbers later on in the week as we update the adjusted Corsi, but things are looking up for the Flames so long as Giordano, Brodie, Cammalleri and Backlund continue to lead the team in ice time and they reduce the amount of time Butler and Smid can harm the team.