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A Closer Look at Devils Possession Stats

This week I take a break from Devil's Advocate and look deeper into the Devils possession statistics. I take a shot at zone adjusting and look at on/off Corsi.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It has been noted at ILWT, among other places, that the Devil's are having an uncharacteristically low-achieving season with regards to possession. For the record, we are up to 15th after a slow start and at just over 50% at evens we are technically a positive posesssion team so some of this travesty may be overblown. I'm going to look briefly at 2 hings, but more importantly present some of the stats. The 2 things are Corsi On vs Corsi Off and ZS% Adj Corsi.

Corsi On versus Corsi Off

War On Ice has statistics called Corsi% and Corsi%off. For those new to Corsi, it is the shot attempts including blocked and missed shots. Corsi% is the ratio of those attempts for and against when a player is on the ice. Corsi% off is a stat that War on Ice uses to indicate how well the team performed in games that the player was in when he was not on the ice. Corsi Rel% is the stat that shows how they've done in relation to their teammates in games they've played in. Below are the results.

Name Games Corsi Rel% Corsi% Corsi%off Corsi Rel%
Jaromir.Jagr 25 7.74 56.34 48.61 7.73
Steve.Bernier 14 5.67 54.85 49.19 5.66
Andrew.Greene 25 3.34 52.91 49.57 3.34
Tuomo.Ruutu 24 3.07 53.21 50.14 3.07
Damon.Severson 25 2.95 52.64 49.69 2.95
Jacob.Josefson 18 2.74 53.8 51.06 2.74
Mike.Cammalleri 19 2.41 51.48 49.07 2.41
Travis.Zajac 23 2.02 51.47 49.45 2.02
Eric.Gelinas 20 1.73 51.2 49.46 1.74
Damien.Brunner 16 1.35 53.72 52.36 1.36
Dainius.Zubrus 25 -0.26 50.64 50.9 -0.26
Marek.Zidlicky 25 -0.38 50.59 50.97 -0.38
Michael.Ryder 24 -0.51 50.1 50.62 -0.52
Adam.Larsson 17 -0.87 50.75 51.62 -0.87
Patrik.Elias 25 -3.07 48.57 51.64 -3.07
Stephen.Gionta 25 -3.68 47.77 51.45 -3.68
Adam.Henrique 18 -4.27 47.16 51.43 -4.27
Jon.Merrill 11 -4.33 48.58 52.91 -4.33
Martin.Havlat 14 -4.85 44.83 49.68 -4.85
Ryane.Clowe 13 -7.01 46.64 53.65 -7.01
Seth.Helgeson 8 -7.24 42.76 50 -7.24
Bryce.Salvador 15 -7.73 46.44 54.17 -7.73
Jordin.Tootoo 11 -9.55 44.53 54.08 -9.55

A lot of this isn't surprising, like Jagr being at the top (though the degree to which we need him is even more glaring here than normal). Bernier is at the top and that is deserving because he and Josefson have rejuvenated our bottom 6 from a possession standpoint. The high Corsi off stats indicate that Jon Merrill, Ryane Clowe, and Damien Brunner among others may have an overrated possession game.

The list of players that the Devils are a negative possession team without are Jagr, Bernier, Greene, Severson, Cammalleri, Zajac, Gelinas, and Havlat. They all deserve credit for helping this team in possession, though Gelinas's high ZS% may somewhat dampen that. Also Havlat deserves no credit as he has is 4 below teammates. He just happens to keep playing in games that we stink in I guess.

Adjusting Corsi for Zone Starts

Hockey Analysis has zone start statistics. These tell what percentage of time a player opens a shift in each of the 3 zones: Offensive, Neutral, and Defensive. This is important in possession because it is easier to get shots when you start close to the other net. Before I move on I should mention that Hockey Analysis has attempted ZS adjusted stats, andso has Michael Schuckers, the creator of ThoR. These are not worse methods than mine, and they are worth checking out if you get a minute.

I ran something called a multiple linear regression on the ZS% stats as predictors and the Corsi% as a result. Did I successfully lose everyone yet? Yes? Good. What that means is that I did math things to create a formula that can use any players zone start information and produce what their Corsi should have been based only on their zone starts. Whatever the difference is between that and their actual corsi will determine their Adjusted Corsi. My findings for the Devils are below.

Regression Formula: Expected Corsi = 85-(OZ%*0.12)-(DZ%*0.53)-(NZ%*0.4)

Player Name Team GP CF% OZFO% DZFO% NZFO% Expected CF% CF%Resid Adj CF%
BERNIER, STEVE New_Jersey 14 54.9 23.6 30.9 45.5 47.591 7.309 57.309
JAGR, JAROMIR New_Jersey 25 56 33.3 30.6 36.1 50.346 5.654 55.654
LARSSON, ADAM New_Jersey 17 51.3 23.3 43.6 33.1 45.856 5.444 55.444
ZUBRUS, DAINIUS New_Jersey 25 50.9 19.2 37.6 43.2 45.488 5.412 55.412
GREENE, ANDY New_Jersey 25 52.6 25.5 35.6 38.9 47.512 5.088 55.088
SEVERSON, DAMON New_Jersey 25 52.2 27.1 33.5 39.4 48.233 3.967 53.967
JOSEFSON, JACOB New_Jersey 18 53.8 33.8 27.7 38.5 50.863 2.937 52.937
RUUTU, TUOMO New_Jersey 24 53.2 34.3 27 38.7 51.094 2.106 52.106
BRUNNER, DAMIEN New_Jersey 16 53.7 36.7 27.2 36.1 51.74 1.96 51.96
GIONTA, STEPHEN New_Jersey 25 47.9 21.7 34.3 44 46.617 1.283 51.283
RYDER, MICHAEL New_Jersey 24 50.3 31 32.5 36.5 49.455 0.845 50.845
ELIAS, PATRIK New_Jersey 25 49.1 27 32.8 40.2 48.296 0.804 50.804
CAMMALLERI, MIKE New_Jersey 19 51.4 35.5 30.8 33.7 50.936 0.464 50.464
ZAJAC, TRAVIS New_Jersey 23 51 34.7 30.1 35.3 50.763 0.237 50.237
MERRILL, JON New_Jersey 11 48.8 27.5 29.6 43 48.812 -0.012 49.988
SALVADOR, BRYCE New_Jersey 15 46.6 23.8 32.6 43.5 47.466 -0.866 49.134
HARROLD, PETER New_Jersey 4 50.9 39.3 30.4 30.4 52.012 -1.112 48.888
ZIDLICKY, MAREK New_Jersey 25 50.8 36.8 25.9 37.3 51.937 -1.137 48.863
HENRIQUE, ADAM New_Jersey 18 47 28.8 34.4 36.8 48.592 -1.592 48.408
HAVLAT, MARTIN New_Jersey 14 44.7 22.5 37.5 40 46.425 -1.725 48.275
HELGESON, SETH New_Jersey 8 43.1 20.5 42 37.5 45.28 -2.18 47.82
CLOWE, RYANE New_Jersey 13 46.3 28.4 33.6 38.1 48.544 -2.244 47.756
GELINAS, ERIC New_Jersey 20 51.2 43.4 21.5 35.2 54.317 -3.117 46.883
TOOTOO, JORDIN New_Jersey 11 44.9 27.9 32.4 39.7 48.6 -3.7 46.3

So Jordin Tootoo is still awful. I've never seen someone so unaided by every statistic. Even Salvador had some redeeming stats when we looked at zone starts. Conversely, Bernier has overachieved more than anyone on this team both with respect to statistical expectation as well as with regards to his talent level (subtle dig). Former Devil's Advocate subjects Stephen Gionta and Dainius Zubrus also performed very well in this stat. Gelinas is a ZS fiend in a bad way. For a defender he spends a remarkably low amount of time defending. His monstrous 43.4 OZFO% seriously inflates his possession stats.

Last consideration is that my computations indicate that Jagr is miles ahead of Zajac and Cammalleri as a possession driver despite that lines success as a unit Jagr's WoWY stats with regards to those guys are pretty eye-opening. No one can deny Cam's finishing ability is undeniable, but I'm not ready to call him a possession demigod like Jagr. Zajac is running low on redeeming qualities and he might get a Devil's Advocate article of his own soon.

Conclusion

The Devil's top shelf possession players according to these stats are Jagr, Greene Severson, Bernier, Ruutu, and Josefson. The first 3 have the feel of perennial possession drivers and the latter 3 are having a good season and helping drive our bottom 6.

The possession goats are Tootoo, Helgeson, Clowe, and Havlat. Too some degree Henrique belongs here too, but given his magic ability to consistently outperform his possession stats I'm inclined to give him a pass.

Your Thoughts

Were these statistics more or less in line with your observation? Do you think Hockey Analysis's ZS% Adj stats are more accurate? Who needs to improve their possession game and who needs to be utilized differently by the coaches? Leave comments below!