FanPost

No One Will Miss Hagelin More than Nash

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

**Featured FanPost: Outstanding Analysis by Banter newcomer "Blue Blooded". Very much worth your attention. -Digger.**

Training camp is nearing its end and the Rangers' main offensive weapon Rick Nash has struggled so far, failing to find chemistry on a line with Brad Richards and Chris Kreider.

Nash is coming off of a very successful 2012-13 regular season where he seemed to rediscover the scoring touch that was missing in his last season with Columbus. As seen in the 2013 playoffs; a scoring Nash can be the difference between a winning team and a losing one, although he was hardly the only problem in the Rangers' 2013 playoff campaign. So let us look at Nash's regular season and see what made it successful.

I like to use the With Or Without You (WOWY) charts from David Johnson's site Hockey Analysis when evaluating a player, especially someone like Nash who seems to be affected a lot by his linemates. They can be a help in identifying which players had good chemistry, and which who did not.

Looking at Nash's page from 2012-13 one player immediately stands out from the others: Carl Hagelin.

It is not really a surprise that Hagelin had good numbers with Nash the past season. He has been the best possession player on the Rangers since he made the team and most observers have noticed that whatever line he is on for the night is usually the best. The eye-test and underlying numbers line up so to speak.

What is surprising is the magnitude of the numbers.

NASH's Individual Stats With

When on ice Together

Player

Pos

Goals

Assists

Points

Shots

Corsi

TOI

GF20

GA20

GF%

CF20

CA20

CF%

HAGELIN, CARL

L

7

7

14

41

71

197:14

1.622

0.203

88.9

25.55

18.05

58.6

In the almost 200 Zone Start adjusted 5v5 minutes Nash and Hagelin spent together the Rangers took 58,6% of the shot attempts and outscored the opposition 16-2. That means they outscored the opposition by 1,4 goals per 20 minutes played, and took 7,5 more shot attempts. No other forward duo managed to outscore their opposition as much in 2012-13.

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Figure 1 - Goals For, Against, and Differential per 20 minutes

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Figure 2 - Corsi For, Against, and Differential per 20 minutes

While it is unlikely they could keep outscoring their opposition at a ratio of 8-1 over a full season, it is still a positive indicator.

As we can see from the table below, Nash's individual performance improves significantly as well. Nash was producing at twice the rate, both in goals and assists, when playing with Hagelin.

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Figure 3 - Rick Nash's individual production, with and without Carl Hagelin

Without Hagelin, Nash scored at the rate of a decent top-6 player. His 2,13 P/60 without Hagelin places him 69th in the league among players with 400+ minutes in 2012-13. With Hagelin, Nash scored at the level of Sidney Crosby.

To go along with the increase in production Nash also got more chances, increasing his shots on goal by ~17% and his shot attempts by ~48%.

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Figure 4 - Rick Nash's shots and shot attempts, with and without Carl Hagelin

His 4,26 P/60 scoring rate amounts to almost one 5v5 point/game, assuming a forward gets roughly 13 minutes of ZS adjusted TOI/game. However, since the 200 minute sample is small it allows for big variance effects. Only Crosby has managed to put up more than 4,00 P/60 5v5 over a longer period of time in the current era. The sustainability of these numbers are then in question, so let's look at the Corsi shooting percentage (CSh%) of Nash and the top-10 5v5 goal scorers from the 2012-13 season.

Player

TOI

G/60

CSh%

Nash with Hagelin

197,23

2,13

9,86%

Nash Total

567,58

1,59

8,62%

Lupul

174,93

2,40

15,21%

Grabner

441,18

1,77

10,32%

Toews

555,22

1,62

9,32%

Carter

521,95

1,49

8,13%

Anisimov

362,53

1,49

10,59%

Couture

532,35

1,47

7,93%

Crosby

460,67

1,43

9,02%

Gallagher

419,63

1,43

6,41%

Tavares

672,73

1,43

8,74%

Tlusty

567,50

1,37

9,77%

The goal scoring pace does seem high, especially his pace with Hagelin. One cannot expect Nash to continue scoring on almost 10% of his shot attempts. But his percentage for the entire season is right in line with the other top goal scorers, the average for the top-10 being 8,89%.

Lupul was included to show what can happen with a small sample, he played almost as many minutes as the Nash-Hagelin combo but posted a 15,21 CSh%. It is extremely unlikely that Lupul can sustain such a percentage.

Let's move on to on-ice CSh% and compare Nash to the top-10 5v5 point scorers in 2012-13.

Player

TOI

P/60

On-ice CSh%

Nash with Hagelin

197,23

4,26

6,35%

Nash Total

567,58

3,07

5,81%

Lupul

174,93

4,46

10,83%

Crosby

460,67

4,43

7,45%

Kadri

540,22

3,44

7,14%

Hall

557,95

3,44

5,75%

Kunitz

548,77

3,39

6,98%

Galchenyuk

455,08

3,30

6,70%

Cullen

432,53

3,12

7,54%

Pacioretty

470,68

3,06

5,59%

E. Staal

611,67

3,04

5,55%

Toews

555,22

3,03

6,00%

These numbers were even more reasonable, the average of the top-10 was 6,45%, higher than both of Nash's figures. Lupul's numbers are once again included for comparison.

However, we cannot just compare him to other top scorers. We need to look back into his career and see at what level can one expect Nash to produce.

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Figure 5 - Rick Nash's individual- and on-ice Corsi shooting percentages 2007-2013

This paints a slightly different picture and the percentages from 2012-13 look less sustainable, especially his goal scoring pace.

The increase in on-ice CSh% could however be attributed to moving to a better team, suggesting that his point scoring pace may not drop much although the ratio between goals and assists likely will.

So let's look at the other side of the coin, does this look like an on-ice shooting percentage that Hagelin is able to sustain?

First let's examine his 2012-13 season:

First of all we need to make a distinction. We are looking at Hagelin's on-ice CSh% in a scoring role. I don't consider playing with Brian Boyle and his on-ice CSh% of 1,39% a scoring role.

Carl Hagelin

2012-13

With Boyle

Without Boyle

On-ice CSh%

4,57%

1,94%

5,01%

There is still a gap between the 6,35% he posted with Nash and the 5,01% he had for the season (excluding Boyle), that includes his time with Nash, which indicates that it may not be a sustainable rate for Hagelin. So how did he do in 2011-12?

Carl Hagelin

2011-12

With Boyle

Without Boyle

On-ice CSh%

6,92%

5,05%

6,95%

These figures are more encouraging. Hagelin actually had a higher on-ice CSh% than he had with Nash, suggesting that maintaining a similar pace is not out of the realm of possibility. Hagelin's career numbers with/without Boyle are as follows:

Carl Hagelin

2011-13

With Boyle

Without Boyle

On-ice CSh%

5,27%

3,81%

5,67%

Then was Hagelin getting bounces and shooting well above his career Corsi shooting percentage with Nash, thereby driving up the on-ice shooting percentage?

Carl Hagelin

2011-13

2011-13 without Boyle

2012-13 with Nash

CSh%

5,74%

6,33%

5,71%

Not at all, in fact he was shooting slightly below his career average. His increased goal scoring pace playing with Nash (1.22 G/60) came from an increase in chances rather than variance effects on shooting percentages, indicating a higher level of sustainability.

Conclusion:

Although the sample is small and the percentages are on the high side it is hard to deny that Hagelin seems to have a significant effect on Nash's game. Nash's numbers improve significantly across the board, and even with a regression towards the mean the duo should still be one of the best in the league.

If Nash and Hagelin could maintain a similar rate of creating chances together, an on-ice CSh% of 5,67%, and they score at their respective career 5v5 CSh% of 7,16% and 5,74%, they would still score at incredible paces.

Projection

Rick Nash

Carl Hagelin

G/60

1,55

1,22

A/60

1,90

1,63

P/60

3,45

2,85

iShots/60

12,47

14,91

iCorsi/60

21,60

21,29

So if you are reading this Alain, and I know you aren't, put Nash and Hagelin on the same line when Carl returns and don't break them up without an extremely good reason. I want to see what they could accomplish in a full season together.

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