As a follow up to my post on Monday about individual scoring chances, this article covers the larger picture, totalling the number of chances that each player was on the ice for. The last update for this came at the end of February, so this adds just the 18 final regular season games. I did not include the playoff chances, those that feel the need to relive that can find that here.
As a refresher and for those who don't typically follow these stories, here's the definition again:
A scoring chance is defined as a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area - loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots, though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included, but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score.
All data after the jump.
As always, I start with the goaltenders. These are effectively the season totals, broken down by who was in net at the time. The data does not include 5v3 or 3v5 play.
We see that for the season, just over 52% of the recorded chances at even strength were in the Rangers favor. As was true for the most of the season, the team was better in front of Martin Biron, but as was pointed out in the past, quality of competition was likely the largest factor in that difference. What will probably be most surprising to fans, the team spent 60 minutes more on the power play than shorthanded. Not surprisingly however, the powerplay was less effective than their opponents. To the forwards we go:
|Name||EVF||EVA||EVTOI||EVF/15||EVA/15||SC%||EV DIFF||ZS DIFF||ADJ SC|
These tables are sortable by clicking on the column headers. Rates are based on 15 minutes of ice time.
A not-so-quick explanation of the last two columns in the even strength table. ZSDiff is the different in offensive zone starts and defensive zone starts for the season. For instance, Brandon Dubinsky started 20 more shifts in the defensive zone, while Derek Stepan started 141 more shifts in the offensive zone. Obviously, this has an impact on a player's numbers, similar to how it affects a player's Corsi. In an attempt to account for that, I used the model that JLikens used to adjust Corsi. Based on the scoring chance data from the Rangers and the Washington Capitals (courtesy of Neil Greenberg), combined with Corsi data available from earlier in the season, I used the JLikens formula to estimate that an offensive zone start would be worth 0.425 scoring chances.
That creates the last column, which is the chance differential adjusted for the zone starts. Using Stepan as the example again, his team leading +81 adjusts all the way down to a 9th best +21.08. Still good, but shows how large the value of spending all your time in the offensive zone really can be. To emphasize, the conversion factor of .425 is simply an estimate based on a small sample, so the actual number will vary, potentially to a large degree. For our purposes however, it still works as a good barometer to show the effect..
Technical jargon out of the way, there are a few things to take out of this chart. The outstanding work done by the Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust line tops the list. Although they mostly broke even by the raw data, once adjusting for their team worst zone starts, they move right to the top of the list. Against mostly second line caliber opponents, and with their outstanding work on the PK as well, those three were invaluable to the success of the Rangers last year.
On the downside, while Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik were obviously used in offensive situations, they found themselves giving back more than what they should have for the year. At least they were the leading contributors for the power play, which is not what can be said for Erik Christensen. He was one of the few regulars below 50% without adjustment, he was dead last after adjusting, and was also one of the worst regular contributors to the power play. He even managed to lead the team in chances against on the power play. While capable of wowing you with his skill, his play was overall very poor this year. Next up, the defensive charts:
|Name||EVF||EVA||EVTOI||EVF/20||EVA/20||SC%||EV DIFF||ZS DIFF||ADJ SC|
These tables are sortable by clicking on the column headers. Rates are based on 20 minutes of ice time
To hopefully no one's surprise, Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh were just outstanding this season, especially for a couple of rookies. They were given second pair defensive assignments for most of the season, and did everything just short of dominating. There's not a lot of offense to their games yet, so they won't get a lot of publicity, but like the Boyle line above, having that kind of defensive effort helps a lot. Honorable mention here goes to Michal Rozsival. While no one was shedding a tear that he left, he was actually having a fairly strong season for us. That play probably helped alot in increasing his value enough to get a young, highly skilled forward.
What will come as a large shock to just about everyone here is Dan Girardi. He ends up the season well on the bottom at even strength, and only above Eminger among the top 5 in PK minutes. He does lead the group by a good margin for the power play, and competition levels do take their toll, so it's not all bad.. For a guy considered to be a cornerstone of the defense, however, these are somewhat troubling results. It looks that much worse when you split out his time with and without Marc Staal:
|Chances For||Chances Against||Chance %|
|Staal & Girardi||279||287||49.29%
|Staal w/o Girardi||130||112||53.72%|
|Girardi w/o Staal||118||150||44.03%|
Together, they basically broke even with the hardest workload of any tandem in the league. Taken apart however, Staal saw much better success, while Girardi seriously struggled. Some of that comes from the teammates they played with, as Staal had Matt Gilroy and Bryan McCabe as his most frequent linemates (the top two by percentage), while Girardi got Michael Del Zotto and Steve Eminger as his most frequent (the bottom two by percentage). Nonetheless, a guy with Girardi's reputation should be able to drive play better than that, regardless of his teammates. He blocks an absolute ton of shots (even accounting for MSG scorer bias), and showed a lot of heart playing while getting the bejesus beat out of him in the playoffs, but any thoughts that he was our best defenseman this year seem to be based on his effort more than his production.