Will giving Troy Brouwer more offensive zone time work?

Of all forwards who played 500 minutes of 5v5 this past year, Troy Brouwer received the 66th hardest zone starts. On the Blues, he had the sixth roughest time by raw numbers (26.71 OZS%) and relative numbers (-11.73% ZSRrel% [zone start ratio: OZS/(OZS+DZS)]). If he played on the Flames last season, he would have the fifth worst starts by raw and fourth by relative numbers.

Brouwer was placed in situations where he would get his head kicked in. As a result, he got his head kicked in (49.56 CF%, -3.32 CFrel%). Among the fanbase, there are those who would say that Brouwer is doomed to fail due to his history of poor possession numbers (among other things). Others would say that Brouwer’s consistency with regards to scoring prove that he is an offensive stalwart whose poor possession stats have been the result of his zone starts.

This season, Brouwer is going to test that hypothesis for us. He is (probably) going to get first line duties with Sean Monahan (36.71 OZS%, +8.43 ZSRrel%) and Johnny Gaudreau (37.24 OZS%, +9.94 ZSRrel), and hopefully prove to be a solid offensive addition. Brouwer hasn’t seen starts like that since his final season in Chicago. 

Using stats, we’re going to try and predict how it’s going to go.

All data in this article is from corsica.hockey and Puckalytics.

The simple solutions

The quick way of solving this debate would be to adjust for zone starts. In that case, Brouwer goes from -3.32 CFrel% to -2.35 CFrel%. All things being equal, he is still a possession drag. Thank you for reading my hockey article.

However, adjusting for zone starts could perhaps slight Brouwer. Considering his history of being in the trenches, his stats have already taken enough hits that, even in an attempt to make all things fair, Brouwer still doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt.

The second thing to consider are his WOWY stats. To say Brouwer is a passenger is to put it lightly.

If he isn’t dragging players down when together, he is noticeably bad away from linemates. While he will be playing with Calgary’s best, it’s still not great if he has to be held up by Johnny Gaudreau to look serviceable.

To argue the case for Brouwer, we can look at what he did historically. The RW has only had two seasons when he has had a positive corsi rel, both with Chicago. Those are also the only two seasons when he had relative zone starts like Monahan and Gaudreau (16.93 ZSRrel% and 1.02 CFrel% in 08/09, 11.8% and 3.2% in 10/11). Although he has added years since, perhaps the more important thing is that he stays away from the defensive zone.

Zone starts and trendlines

If we’re assuming that zone starts and corsi go hand-in-hand, we can build a model for Brouwer. We’re taking every game he’s played since the beginning of the 2007-08 season, comparing the zone starts (x-axis) to the CF% (y-axis) and putting in a line of best fit. Here’s the chart:

image001

Pretty simple stuff. I’ve made a few observations after diving into the data.

  1. If you follow the line of best fit and match it up to where Monahan and Gaudreau usually start (together, 37.5%), you could expect Brouwer to have a CF% of 51.95%. That is actually very good, considering that Monahan and Gaudreau only managed a CF% of 50.1% together. Theoretically, Brouwer’s impact should actually boost the two youngsters.

    The problem with that theory is that it doesn’t account for relative stats. Due to Corsica not including ZSR rel in their individual game stats, I couldn’t measure the relationship between ZSRrel% and CFrel% as I originally intended to. The raw numbers work fine as a substitute, but a bit more context is always nice.

  2. The r-squared number, 6.05% for Brouwer, suggests a few things.
    a) The standard interpretation would be that if Brouwer did receive the same zone starts as Monahan and Gaudreau, there would only be a 6.05% chance of him actually achieving that 51.95CF%. Not very good.

    b) Let’s take it one step further. Statistically speaking, that r^2 number can just barely be recognized as a relationship. Starting him in the offensive zone is likely to be beneficial, but that won’t solve his possession woes. If 6.05% of his corsi is explained by zone starts (mathematically spitballing), than it’s more important to pay attention to what makes up the 93.95%.

    If we assume individual input is the biggest chunk of that 93.95%, then Brouwer is in trouble. His most common linemates throughout his career have been Patrick Kane (1,045:59), Jonathan Toews (1,021:37), Evgeny Kuznetsov (601:24), and Alexander Ovechkin (572:28). His linemates are a topic for another day, but for now Brouwer’s poor corsi performances seem to be completely on him.

  3. I did some digging around and chose to see whether or not the r^2 values actually meant anything for other players; i.e, would an elite player have a higher number? Do grinders have lower numbers? I searched for forwards who have played more games than Brouwer since 07-08 (for sample size and practicality purposes) and compared the OZS% vs CF% data.

    Generally speaking, the relationship between the two is very weak. R^2 numbers rarely went up past 8%, with the highest being 12% (belonging to Jeff Carter). 7% was about average for my sample.

    Compare r^2 to players’ careers, and the numbers are more random. Alex Ovechkin barely cracks 5%. Iginla is slightly above Brouwer at 6.15%. Henrik Sedin is at 8.15% while his brother is just above 5%. Generally speaking, OZS% and corsi rarely have anything to do with each other. All players’ trendlines were positive, but as a whole the data suggests that putting players in the offensive zone to boost their possession does not guarantee results.

Putting it all together

Brouwer is the ideal fit with Monahan and Gaudreau. He’s a sharpshooter with size and the tendency to drive the net and get the dirty goals. He could be the final piece that the top line was missing last year.

Ideal isn’t reality. Reality is that Brouwer has never been an effective driver, which is what the Flames really could use. It isn’t enough to just slot in a guy on the first line; there should be someone who will be keeping pace instead of always catching up. The data here reasserts that point. Just because someone starts a lot in the defensive zone and suffers does not mean that they will flourish with offensive zone starts. That’s not a caveat to a rule, the data suggests that that is the rule.

I don’t think Brouwer will be as bad as some people expect him to be. On the first line, he will be an inoffensive choice and will probably put up 40 points again. If the Flames are wise, they can maximize their return by keeping him in the offensive zone. I don’t think it will turn him into a whole new player at age 31, but I believe that keeping him away from the defensive zone is best. 

  • DoubleDIon

    Wish we would have gone after Pirri instead of Brouwer honestly. But he isn’t big. Big is overrated according to most empirical evidence, but somehow we still value it highly.

    • Stu Cazz

      Yah I see what you mean…Pirri is a big time established leader, takes full command of the dressing room, holds other players accountable and scores huge goals when the games really matter..NOT!!

      • DoubleDIon

        Exactly what you just said is why bad contracts end up being signed. Pirri was top 15 in goals per 60 last year. Ahead of superstars that make 7 million +. He’s smart money to whoever signs him.

        Brouwer isn’t smart money. He’s being touted the same way guys like Bickell were. I also thought we were overpaying Stajan, Engelland and Smid for the same reasons. How many guys getting too much money for “good in the room” do you need? Usually when you try to explain it away with that it winds up being a poor signing. I’d rather we sign good players like Frolik than spend the same on guys who are really 3rd liners that are “good in the room.” Guys who are good in the room tend to be bought out when teams realize they’re really 3rd liners now and will be replacement level at the end of their contracts.

        • Stu Cazz

          I think you may be misinformed..Brouwer’s contract was perhaps the best value contract signed as confirmed by most of the analysts and those inside the hockey organizations…low term reasonable dollars…..Goals scored are but one factor in the consideration of the deal..the Flames other than the recent one time playoff success are in need of leaders with character and that’s what they got with Brouwer..awesome contract and signing!

          • DoubleDIon

            Oh my… Just remember this post. If you think Brouwer was the best value contract I think you’re in for a difficult surprise. He rates out as a borderline 3rd liner on the hero chart. Frolik was good value. Brouwer and Engelland were abysmal value. We gave both too much money by at least a million and too much term by at least a year. Don’t know how anyone can consider it good value. Even Treliving said you have to overpay July 1st. TJ Brodie is good value. Brouwer, not so much.

          • Stu Cazz

            Oh my…if you think Brouwer would have signed here for a 3 year term at $3M per then I have bad news for you…he would have signed elsewhere…then DoubleDion would be posting and asking why the Flames have not signed a bonafide RW this year….

          • DoubleDIon

            No, I would have signed Pirri. I’d also save 3 million per year and have a better hockey player. If he wants a mistake level contract I’d let someone else give it to him. The Hawks just lost Teravainen to get rid of the mistake they made with Bickell. Or I would have resigned Big and Local for 2 million less per year at 2 years less term and gotten the same type of production if I absolutely “had” to have a guy who was “good in the room” and brought size to the middle six.

            I also take umbrage with Brouwer being a “bonafide” winger. He’s a 3rd line winger for most teams, 4th line for some.

          • Greg

            These debates about Brouwer’s contract are starting to remind of climate debates circa 10 years ago. You can look at the data all you want, but the majority is obviously leaning in the opposite direction and there doesn’t seem to be anyway to change it except to wait and see how it plays out.

            I don’t even mind being in the minority on this one, and I hope to heck I’m actually wrong and he turns out to be a great signing. But I’m fully expecting him to be just barely ok next year, and in “how many more years is he under contract?” territory by the end of the following season.

            Hopefully by the end of this contract, he’s more like David-jones “we’re paying him too much but he’s good to have around at least” and not like Engelland “think of what we can do with that cap space once he’s off the books”.

          • Mort

            In a perfect world, we would have signed a guy like Brett Connolly over Brouwer. Connolly is better, younger, plays the same position, and is cheaper. The only disadvantage with Connolly is that he has a worse history of injuries, but that’s just a risk you have to take when signing guys.

            Oh but I forgot, Brouwer scores more goals so he must be a better player! Also he has truculence and locker room presents, right guys?

            Whatever. In a couple seasons from now, you guys will forget that you ever supported this signing and want him out, and then you’ll laud the next bad signing that’s made because “we just need to have faith in BT,” and the cycle of life will continue.

          • SmellOfVictory

            How many leaders and how much character do they need, though? By most accounts, Gio is a great leader, Stajan is good in the room, Engelland is a leadery type, Monahan is already leadery at a young age, etc. etc.

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            You do understand that Stajan and Engelland are likely done on this team by year end, if not sooner? We have an otherwise young roster, so will need a few guys to help the young pros keep their heads.

            Or would you prefer Monahan or Johnny take abuse and end up in the box? How about having a player next season to work with Tkachuk?

          • Jake the Snail

            From The Hockey News – Winners and Losers of the First Day of Free Agency:

            WINNER
            Calgary Flames: In the space of one week, GM Brad Treliving filled the goaltending black hole that was in the organization. But his biggest splash on July 1 came when he signed Troy Brouwer to a four-year, $18.5 million deal. That’s an outstanding signing by the Flames both in money and term. The only caveat here is that for this deal to really work for the Flames, they have to be a playoff team. Brouwer has made his reputation with his play in the post-season and won’t be nearly as valuable to them if they don’t make it there.

            From the Bleacher Report WInners and Losers…

            “They (The Flames) did just about the best job they could on July 1 by picking up Troy Brouwer and Chad Johnson from the open market.

            And the prices were pretty great compared to some of the hefty price tags that marked the afternoon frenzy.

            Brouwer has been above or very close to the 20-goal mark for the past eight seasons, hitting 20 three times and scoring no fewer than 17 in that span. The Flames were looking for a right-handed shot for the right wing on the top line alongside Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. If Brouwer plays with those talented linemates, he could find himself having a career season.

            Similar to the need Edmonton filled with Milan Lucic, the Flames get a gritty and hard-working veteran winger who should set the tone for the younger guys.

            The Flames will pay the 30-year-old $4.5 million a year for four seasons, locking up one of the top 10 names on the market for decent term and reasonable dough.”

            Those were just a couple. There are even more than that. Not one article says that Flames were losers at UFA Frenzy time 2016!

          • Parallex

            OMG… you’re going to cite THN and Bleacher Report as “analysts”! Even better you’re going to cite articles that simply state the writers opinion without any actual analysis that empirically demonstrates the validity of the writers claim.

            .

          • Jake the Snail

            Using analytics to predict what will happen when a player changes teams is a bunch of hooey.

            Using analytics to prove a point got the Habs analyst fired! There are other reasons for acquiring, trading or releasing players than numbers.

            We shall see how valuable Brouwer will be to the Flames and then we can argue some more. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW SEASON.

            Goals trump possession i.e. aimlessly ragging the puck up the ice and dumping the puck into a corner before making a line change…

        • cberg

          Pirri was released and still isn’t signed, even by the stats-centric Arizona and Florida teams, so I’m guessing there are other issues?

          As for Brouwer, I’m wondering what his stats are for playoffs only, like this past year? Some guys really come to the fore when the going gets tough.

          • piscera.infada

            As for Brouwer, I’m wondering what his stats are for playoffs only, like this past year? Some guys really come to the fore when the going gets tough.

            In fairness, so did Bickell in 2013 (17 points in 23 games). Small sample sizes. Brouwer is a better bet than Bickell was, but you don’t make these decisions based on 20 playoff games.

            I don’t like the Brouwer contract, and I’m very certain it will be onerous sooner rather than later. That said, I’m not as vehemently against the signing as many commenters appear to be. It will, however, be even more incumbent on Treliving make less of these “poor bets” in the future. You can live with a bad contract for a few seasons, but they compound exponentially the more you have on your roster.

            And for the “I thought Treliving was the best GM in the league” crowd. No one, not a single person has said that. However, he has made some very, very solid moves. That doesn’t mean he won’t make bad deal–every single GM does.

  • Prototype369

    I just thought I’d add this in here, brouwer looks pretty good with a beard. Without a beard, he kinda looks like a pedo. Especially his player picture in nhl 16 lol

  • freethe flames

    The question for me is he a better fit with Bennett and controlled zone starts or with Johnny and Monny playing in almost every situation? With Jihnny and Monny at the World Cup I wonder if GG will give Bennett and Brouwer a look see.

  • KACaribou

    After reading this article, it makes me wonder why Tree would sign Brouwer for $4.5 over 4 years considering from what I have read here: “We have the best GM in the league.” The guy is apparently brilliant. So what isn’t adding up here?

    • Baalzamon

      I don’t want to get into a big debate about the efficacy of Treliving, or even whether Brouwer was a good signing or not. I just want to say the following in a general sense:

      Good GMs make bad moves. No one is perfect.

      Take Stan Bowman as an example. Architect of the Blackhawks’ dynasty. He also signed Bryan Bickell to a monstrously and obviously stupid contract for no reason whatsoever (imagine if Chicago had just let him walk as a free agent like Anaheim did with Beleskey; they would have won the same number of cups, and they’d still have Teravainen today).

      Or how about Dale Tallon. Architect of Chicago’s first cup team, and frequently praised for what he’s done with the Panthers’ franchise. For some reason, he went out and signed Dave Bolland to a contract that was immediately pointed out as a boat anchor by practically everyone everywhere.

      The point is, a bad move is a bad move, no matter who makes it. Just as a good move is a good move no matter who makes it. If Jim Benning was to trade Brandon Sutter straight up for Mark Scheifele, for example, would that move be automatically bad because it was made by Benning? Or would that move immediately make Benning a good GM, in spite of practically every other move he’s made since he was hired by Vancouver?

    • Oyo

      You have to keep things in perspective. Was his contract as much of a bargain as Brodie’s, Hamilton’s, or Backlunds? No of course not. Simply because he wasnt an RFA.

      So if we compare him to other day 1 free agent signings, then yes I think we can fairly say that his deal has more value than others.

      Brouwer – 4×4.5 > Okoposo – 7×6

      Brouwer – 4×4.5 > Lucic – 7×6

      Brouwer – 4×4.5 > Eriksson – 6×6

      Brouwer – 4×4.5 > Ladd – 7×5.5

      Is it ideal? Probably not but this is the real world where you have to pay to have players. We can argue that it isnt a perfect contract and I don’t think it is but I don’t blame Treliving for that. Besides, who is to say that Brouwer isn’t picked up by the expansion draft anyways?

      So far I believe BT’s good moves and especially his contract negotiations, far out weigh his mistakes. Most of those were made when he was brand new anyways.

      The only other current GM’s I MIGHT prefer over Tre at this time are Tim Murray (Buf), Poile (Nash), Wilson (SJ), Bowman (Chi), Nill (Dallas).

  • OKG

    Brouwer was signed for one reason: He shoots right and scores power play goals. He is our “Iginla on Bruins/Avs” or “Doan on recent Coyotes”. He is also a strong faceoff guy who can kill penalties. Evaluating him on 5v5 is misguided as he was signed for special teams. We have a ton of talented pieces for 5v5 – Gaudreau, Bennett, Jankowski, Brodie, Backlund, Giordano, Frolik, D. Hamilton, Ferland, Stajan, Kulak, Hathaway, Monahan maybe even Tkachuk. You still need guys like Brouwer and Chiasson who excel on the PP and guys like F. Hamilton and Brouwer who can line up on the PK. We were a below average possession team but we were an atrocious PK/PP team. Brouwer is overpaid but fills a niche none of our great 5v5 players fill. We would not have signed him if Monahan were a right handed shot for example.

    • He is also a strong faceoff guy who can kill penalties.

      Just wanted to jump in here, but I looked ta Brower’s last 3 years on the PK. He’s played a lot, but he gives up a ton of shots against – 107 shot attempts/60. For context, Backlund is down at 85/60. His expected goals against/60 compared to any regular Flames penalty killer recently is the highest.

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        I see him forming part of one of the two PP units, not playing on the PK. He’s going to get 17 minutes with that. No point in using him on the PK.

      • Kevin R

        How come we always ignore one particular stat? The guy scores about 20 goals a year consistently. Thats 20 goals from the right side that was badly needed on this team. Remember Moneyball & they were in the boardroom talking about players to sign. Everyone crabbed, “the guy can’t play defence” & what did Brad say over & over, “but he gets on base X amount of time” Well you guys may not like a lot of analytic measures of Brouwers game, but the guy scores goals from the right side. Scoring goals wins hockey games, just like getting on base scores runs in baseball.

        • RealMcHockeyReturns

          Agree simple stats like goals are sometimes forgotten! Also agree his usefulness on power play to bug the goalie and score from close in are valuable. Bonus if he can be second face off option on his line.

        • Parallex

          You’re not getting the metaphor right. Runs are analogous to goals, On base therefor would be analogous to possession.

          The more accurate terminology would be to say that run (thus in hockey… goal) differential wins games. I havn’t seen anything to suggest that Brouwer drives goal differential.

        • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

          “Scoring goals wins hockey games, just like getting on base scores runs in baseball.”

          That statement is just not true. Everyone knows that rolling the puck on net at the end of your shift wins hockey games 😉

          • Kevin R

            Hahaha. Yeah kind of my response to Parallex is maybe he didn’t get the gist either. Rolling the puck on net & heading to the bench doesn’t equate to getting on base either. Sometimes measuring the wrong things just because you can doesn’t mean it becomes an undisputed foundation for metrics declaring if a player is a bust or not like so many like to do. Seems like shot suppression is more valued than goal scoring.
            I see the reference to a player like Pirri that should have been signed before Brouwer. I looked & he has hit 20 goals just once in the last 5 seasons & over 10 just twice. Yet for some reason some stat metric made Pirri the player we should have gone after, ignoring the fact he is a left shooting player that doesn’t usually play RW. Me personally, I am looking forward to seeing Brouwer play on one of our top 2 lines this year & I hope he maintains that 20 goal pace & scores some real big goals for us. He’s played with talented players, obviously on the top 2 lines on other better teams than the Flames, not 3rd & 4th lines, otherwise how else do you explain the 20 goals per year he’s hit consistently. Nobody crabs that Frolik plays a lot on 3rd line with Backlund & being paid 4.2 mill per.

    • 1. Powerplay problems were likely systematic, seeing as Hartley got partially canned for them. The entire thing was designed around giving the puck to Wideman and then trying to get Colborne to tip it in. Not good. If you have a functional system, you can slot average dudes (like Colborne and Wideman) in and not have a problem.

      2. You should never, never, never, never, never sign anyone purely for special teams. Brouwer might get an average of 3-4 minutes per night (he averaged 1.9 in STL) if the refs are generous. For the other 15-17 minutes he plays, he is a hazard. 5v5 success will always trump 5v4 success in the long run.

      3. Brouwer is overrated as a powerplay specialist anyways. He scored 10 points with Alex Steen feeding him the puck. For p/60 throughout the entire league, he was 82nd. I had to be generous and adjust for players who played more than 140 minutes (Brouwer played 157) because corsica only lists up to 100. He fills no niche besides being a right winger, and there were still better options.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    I look at the Brouwer contract like this: Both Lucic and Brouwer will be 34 when their contracts expire…..The Oilers will get a couple of good years out of Lucic and then 4 crap years…..The Flames just get the 4 crap years out of Brouwer (at a $1.5 million discount)….

    WW

    • Druds

      Hey Walter always boils it down to the truth! I have yet to see anyone be worth the money in those 6,7 or 8 year contracts…never. you always are paying for those 2-3 years where you hope something good happens after that its the long slow slide to trade,waiver or buyout.

  • Prototype369

    Here’s a little out-there question: who would be the best right winger in the nhl to slot besides gaudreau and Monahan on the top line? Don’t consider cap space, likeliness of trade or any thing like that. From a purely hypothetical point of view, what player that currently plays as a right winger in the nhl would be the best fit on our top line? Let me get the ball rolling.

    Blake Wheeler

  • reidja

    You had me until the last sentence. I’m not sure why he should stay out of the defensive zone when you seem to have just shown that TB’s variation in CF, compared to ZS, is just about average.

    It might be a good idea to do a similar analysis but replace ZS with QC. Maybe TB should be deployed further down the lineup against lesser competition (i.e. with Bennett). It seems like a logical hypothesis given his fairly poor possession numbers, when playing along side top line players, if one assumes they saw consistently high-quality competition.

  • freethe flames

    Until BT gets Johnny and Monny signed there is little chance anything else gets done. What I find interesting is how many UFA defencemen are still out there; I wonder how many of them will need to take a discount to get a contract done?(Remember the hype around Franson last summer) I also wonder how many older vets will be given PTO’s at training camps. BT still needs to add some veterans to the AHL.

    Here’s hoping he can move Wideman or one of the other poor contracts so that he can find a bargain player or two to add. While I did not want the Brouwer signing to occur it’s been done; now it’s up to GG to find a way to best utilize him and it’s up to Brouwer to prove he is worth his contract.

  • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

    Can someone please explain how 49.56% CF is getting your head kicked in?

    Last time I went to school and used math, the use of percentages looked something like this:

    100 – 49.56 = 50.44

    That would mean that for every 100 events when Brouwer was on the ice 50.44 events were shots against and 49.56 events were shots for.

    Even if every shift he played started with a faceoff at center ice the shots for and against were pretty much even (a difference of less than 1 in 100).

    Tell me again, how is he getting his “head kicked in?”

    • SmellOfVictory

      Because relative to his team, it’s bad. The majority of the Blues players had better underlying numbers than he did, including his own linemates. That’s normally a bad sign and means that specific player is dragging others down.

        • piscera.infada

          You’re missing the argument. He’s ineffective by relative measures. The strength of his team and more narrowly his linemates, made him appear better by absolute measures (the 49.56%). Simply put, he’s going from a team that has many effective play drivers to one that doesn’t–so the chances of him being buoyed to a similar extent are (to be generous to a 30 year old player) rather poor.

  • The Fall

    Not sure that Brouwer on the top line is a lock. He may work better with Bennett.

    Christian, I would love to see some numbers with Chiasson on the top line: with more emphasis on this time in Dallas.

  • T&A4Flames

    I really get tired of reading these “his advanced stats are (mediocre) so therefore its a crappy acquisition” type blogs. As Kevin and a few others have tried to say, scoring goals wins games, not possessing the puck.

    Sure, some will argue that because he only has a corsi of 49.56%, it’s more likely we get scored on with Brouwer on the ice than scoring ourselves….by a whole .44% Deadly!

    If you’re going to use the advanced stats to argue this signing, you need to acknowledge the intangibles. Unfortunately they’re intangible because you can’t create a mathematical formula on them to prove their worth.

    Brouwer should be a good fit. He’ll create room for his linemates. And finally we have a guy that can play tough in a top 6 role. Maybe he will not build his corsi over 50% but as long as he can continue scoring at a 20+ goal rate, thats enough for me.

    Scoring goals wins games, period.

    • OKG

      The Flames scored the 10th most goals last season. They were the 26th place team.

      So no, scoring goals doesn’t win games. Scoring goals and preventing goals wins games. You prevent goals by possessing the puck.

    • Parallex

      “I really get tired of reading these “his advanced stats are (mediocre) so therefore its a crappy acquisition” type blogs”

      Should we call the police? I mean surely if you’re tired of reading these someone must be holding you hostage and forcing you to read them.

      “scoring goals wins games, not possessing the puck.”

      Incorrect, Goal differential wins games. You could score 1000 goals per game and it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference if the other teams are scoring 1001. More to the point… if you don’t possess the puck you can’t score. Puck Possession -> Shots/Shots Against Suppression -> Goals/Goals Against Suppression -> Goal Differential -> Wins.

      “Sure, some will argue that because he only has a corsi of 49.56%, it’s more likely we get scored on with Brouwer on the ice than scoring ourselves….by a whole .44% Deadly!”

      49.56 on a team that was significantly better then ours at possessing the puck. More over are you saying it’s a good thing that we’re paying 4.5 x 4 for a guy that it’s more likely we’ll get scored on with? The sarcasic “deadly” inplies that yes you do.

      “Unfortunately they’re intangible because you can’t create a mathematical formula on them to prove their worth.”

      Which is why you shouldn’t pay for them. Why would you spend anything (to say nothing of millions of $$) on something who’s worth you can’t evaluate?

      “Maybe he will not build his corsi over 50% but as long as he can continue scoring at a 20+ goal rate, thats enough for me.”

      I suggest adapting some higher standards on what is value for 18M dollars. Moreover the “continue scoring at a 20+ goal rate” is really superficial. Brouwers team mates generally produce better without him… I repeat… better without him. That means he’s been costing his teams goals. Why is acquiring a guy who cost his team goals good enough for you?

      “Scoring goals wins games, period.”

      Again incorrect. Goal differential wins games.

      • cberg

        Wow, enough of the Corsi Kool-Aid already!

        Because you can’t put a number on something it has no value! Right…

        Players better without him…. how about a player moves off a shut-down line to a sheltered line, of course Corsi is going to go up. It all depends on usage….

      • T&A4Flames

        Thanks for the rundown. But, break it down to its simplest form, scoring goals wins games. Of course you need to score more than the other team. But people like you seem to get so caught up in advanced numbers you miss the simplest of things. I will take team chemistry and balance of skills within that team over these stats any day. Possessing the puck is just another #. To use your type of analogy, you could possess the puck 100% of the time but if you don’t put the puck in the net, you don’t win.

        And you little quip about the 49.56 % corsi. Maybe the fact that he’s on the ice in tougher situations has something to do with his sub 50%. Use whatever metrics you want to argue your point. Cheer or jeer for the team based on some fancy math. I’ll watch the game and cheer based on the efforts the team is putting out. I won’t point at the tv and say “yep, he lost the puck, can’t fool the analytics.”

        Maybe his contract isn’t ideal but how many are? We’ll see how this turns out.

        “Which is why you shouldn’t pay for them. Why would you spend anything (to say nothing of millions of $$) on something who’s worth you can’t evaluate?”
        So, it’s all math for you? That’s just ridiculous for a game that’s played on the ice, with battles etc and not on paper. Connor McDavid lost as may games (more I believe) as he helped win in EDM. There’s a sat, but it’s a negative. Would you not pay him? And by the way, you can evaluate them, you just can’t do it with a spread sheet and protractor. Psychology plays as much a part of the game than what mathematics does. More, actually. Teams don’t spend millions on scouts to go out and punch in #’s to some fancy math formula. They are paid to understand who the player is and how they can help a team win by talking with them, their coaches, their families and friends, their teamates.

        Perhaps you should adapt a more balanced approach between analytics and actually understanding, without the use of a calculator, ALL the factors that help teams win.

        Thanks for the opinion though.

      • Kevin R

        Geez buddy, you are so wrapped up in the stats you are forgetting about the common sense. If Team A is getting out possessed by a significant margin by Team B consistently over a best of 7 series, it usually means that that Team B is way more talented than Team A & it will show that in whatever goofy things you want to measure during the course of the game. Also note, goal differential doesn’t mean squat if you “don’t” score goals. If you don’t score, you can’t win, even if you suppress shots perfectly. You will ultimately lose in a shoot out. Now this is pretty extreme but I find your position pretty extreme as well. Sorry, JMO.

    • urbzy

      “Scoring goals wins games, not possessing the puck.” Doesn’t possessing the puck make it a lot easier to score goals? Isn’t possessing the puck what every hockey player wants all the time? I don’t think there’s such a thing as a professional hockey player who likes to just sit back, bide his time, bleed scoring attempts against, just waiting for his moment to go score a goal. Good hockey players always want the puck and they always want to score. A negative corsi differential means he’s failing at that, relative to his teammates. I hope Brouwer scores 20+ goals next year, but I hope putting him on the top line (if that’s what happens) doesn’t cost the team 20+ goals because he drags his linemates down.

      • The Fall

        Shot totals are a proxy of possession > Possession is a proxy of goals of goal differential > Goal differential is a proxy of winning.

        Shots are measurable acts and simple to count and therefor can be used to compare two players. Other aspects of hockey make these stats more or less useful: that seems to be the big debate overall. What works in baseball does NOT work in any other sport due to further complexities.

        Possession is a strategy that teams can employ, AND have employed recently to great success. Just as trapping was a strategy 20 years ago. Just as the butterfly is a strategy to Jonas Hiller…

  • Brodano12

    So why do we use advanced stats like corsi? There is a high correlation between good corsi and team success. Because the more shots you take and the less shots you allow will result in more goals for and less goals against. The reason we use corsi over goals for/goals against is because corsi gives us a higher sample size and is therefore more precise and less susceptible to randomness. However, Brouwer has over half a dozen seasons of having a good GF%, despite bad zone starts and top competition. His Goals for/against stats have enough sample size to be considered good data. Why does it matter if his corsi isn’t as great when his GF% is good? Goals are what matter on the scoreboard, not corsi.

  • Slowmo

    Do you think that now that Troy is gone from the blues they lose a huge part of there power forward play. Don’t forget Troy is a power forward and can move the puck as well as push his way to the front of the net. So now we have 3 or 4 power forwards in Frolik troy Bennett and coming soon Tkchuck. Not to mention Backland who is very good at moving the play forward.If you look at hockey as a whole you will see the game goes back and forth no good team is going to let another team have full control of the ice each team will have there share of shots on net. To me all this corsi crap is just that crap. Every game is different every team has different systems and in every game your team has to figure out how to contain and control the game no team is perfect so you are always going to get good games and bad.

      • supra steve

        A quote from a comment of Train’s from ON a few days ago:

        “Hey MODS. I know that we here on On have way more leeway than they do on FN, but I think there comes a time with this firebug to remove him from this site. He never brings anything worthwhile to talk about and he belittles everybody’s comments or suggestions. I for one am tired of seeing his daily bullship. Once in a while is fine but this is getting to the point where regular visitors to this site are getting pissed off. Please do us all a favor and remove him. We have our own trolls here but at least they’re ours.”

  • Parallex

    “I will take team chemistry and balance of skills within that team over these stats any day.”

    You can… the various executive managers of a company with an approximate value of $15,000,000,000.00 (The NHL… guesstimating based on the cost of an expansion franchise) probably shouldn’t.

    • T&A4Flames

      Hmmm, more #’s. I would say, based on the type of business they run, they may want to go by more than just what the calculator says. That’s likely why they employ both a scouting dept (which helps narrow the psychological and actual talent scope of things) and an analytics dept. which simply helps aid, not wholly determine, in the process.

  • reidja

    For all the box score lovers hating on possession metrics, here’s a winner stay you can use to back up your “he scores goals sometimes! Goals win games!” rhetoric: As an established NHLer TB is +1 at ES over his career…. Weeeee.

    You’re welcome.

    • Kevin R

      :-}
      Compared to what?
      Maybe instead of arguing about random numbers & saying one guy is so much better because of the .25 difference in these random numbers, maybe a standard can be set. Maybe players that no one would ever complain about being on your team & are proven winners can be used to set a standard table of what players hit X%’s over a decent sample size & have been successful. Then we have something to compare to. Sounds like a nice summer job for some writer on FN :-}