New York Rangers Stats: ESPN's Clutch Performance Indicator

Brought here for clutch, he's provided clutch.

Hockey sabermetrics are still in their infancy compared to their baseball equivalents. What that means is that every day, hockey sabermetricians are looking for new ways to evaluate what has happened on the ice. One such way is through a new metric introduced by Neil Greenberg via ESPN, called the Clutch Performance Indicator (CPI). A warning: the link unfortunately requires an ESPN Insider subscription. For those without, CPI is defined here:

Similar to "win probability added" in baseball, the Clutch Performance Indicator is derived by looking at the current game situation -- the period in which the goal was scored, the score at the time of the goal and the time remaining -- and determining what percentage chance each team has of winning the contest in that situation. The data for those percentages is based on all previous hockey games for which we have available, complete information. CPI then awards each skater a fraction of a win for each goal he is involved in, in every game he plays.

It's worth noting here that this is a measure of what a player has done in the clutch, but does not represent an ability to be clutch. While the full list not accessible thanks to ESPN's 'wonderful' internal policies, Neil was generous enough to provide me with a couple of key players. We'll look at the list after the jump.

This past week, the top 3 players for each team were listed. (again, subscription required). The Rangers leaders by this metric are Marian Gaborik (3.77), Brad Richards (3.02), and Ryan Callahan (2.96). Obviously, while they do take into account playmakers via assists, there's a heavy emphasis on being the goal scorers. Thus, there's not much surprise that the Rangers three leading goal scorers are also your three leaders by this metric. Gaborik's score puts him 15th in the NHL, and 10th in the east, behind some obvious names (Claude Giroux, Steven Stamkos) and a couple of less obvious ones (Matt Moulson, Jason Spezza).

As for the names that weren't made initially public, I was initially offered the top 5 players, but there's little question (in my estimation) that the next two on the list will be Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov, in some order. Instead, I was curious about the performances of a few others:

Brandon Dubinsky (CPI: 0.664): Dubinsky's been racking up assists this season, so it was worth finding out just how much the lack of goal scoring hurt. The answer, it seems, is a lot. He trails the team leaders by a fair margin, despite being the team's 6th highest scoring forward. He's played better of late, so we'll see what happens later on.

Carl Hagelin (CPI: 0.504): Hagelin has only played about 1/2 the current season, but his impact has been noticeable to all. He's had an uncanny knack for cashing in important 3rd period goals, thrice putting the Rangers up 3-1 in the 3rd. His uncanny possession skills so far don't show up here, so you're left with a CPI reflective of him having just one point in his last seven games. Still, interesting that he's right up Dubinsky's tuchus.

Erik Christensen (CPI: 0.493): Fewer points than Hagelin, well fewer than Dubinsky, and yet comparable here. Christensen's points have put the Rangers ahead early, 3 of them giving the Rangers early two goal leads that ultimately resulted in wins. He hasn't been consistent, but he's chipped in a little bit.

I asked for Sean Avery as a comparison here, for obvious reasons, but to no avail. Hopefully in future columns, ESPN will release a full listing.

I don't have much analysis here, so I'll leave the discussion for you guys. What do you think of this metric, and who else would you like to see evaluated?

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