Balanced Corsi for Toronto

"You wanted to trade me?"

Editor's Note: Be26 has taken a good fanpost from Broad Street Hockey and made it matter by applying it to the Maple Leafs.

As you may have seen, Chemmy posted a link to Broad Street Hockey yesterday, where Eric T. has concocted another one of those advanced stats that, personally, I find interminable, although I am willing to accept this is because a) I don't fully understand them and/or b) I'm actually thick as shit. Either is possible. If you haven't seen it already, the post is here and is very much worth reading before you join me again after the jump.

For those of you who are like me and a bit oblivious of why everybody is flipping their shit because this one guy has a poor 'Fenwick', the basic principle of the Corsi number is that it's the equivalent of the plus-minus figure, but for shots rather than goals. You tally up the amount of shots a player's team put on the opposition's net, subtract from the number of shots the opposition had, and voila - Corsi. It might not sound like much, but extensive statistical analysis by people much smarter than I am indicates a solid correlation between good Corsi numbers and goals scored, scoring chances and all that good stuff.

Eric's postulation, however, is that standard Corsi doesn't tell the whole story - he brought up the example of Vancouver's Ryan Johnson, who had the worst Corsi number in the league at the point of the post he linked to, some time in March 2010. Johnson did have an awful Corsi, but at the same time he was taking a significant majority of faceoffs in the Canucks' defensive zone - over 67% - and was suffering with mediocre linemates into the bargain.

Hence, the creation of the Balanced Corsi metric. The idea of this is to combine Corsi with the Zone Shift analysis done by Behind the Net last month, with the aim of comparing like to like - players are grouped by the percentage of offensive zone faceoffs they take compared to total faceoffs in order to create groups of guys who are used in similar fashions. As well Balanced Corsi, Eric did the same thing with each player's Relative Corsi figure - where the team's performance is tracked both with the player in question on the ice and off the ice, to give an idea of how much that player is improving or detracting from the team - to get a Balanced Relative Corsi. In practice, Balanced Corsi alone showed a distinct bias towards stronger teams, whereas Balanced Relative Corsi has a diminished but still present bias the other way.

Anyway. You did not come here to read me summarising Eric's work, you're after the results on what this says about the Leafs, but there's bad news to start with - since Eric included only players who'd played in at least 75% of their team's games, there are somewhat fewer Leafs on the list than there might be other teams. There's only twelve of them, basically, and I was surprised to note Tim Brent was one of them. Feast your eyes:



Balanced Corsi (2011)

Balanced Relative Corsi (2011)






































So. Hands up all those who are surprised the Means of Production are the top three? Yep, not a lot of you. Even with the lesser team bias, it's testament to how damn good Grabbo and Clarkey Mark have been that their BRC scores are so high - if you haven't read Eric's original post, they're actually 1-2 in the league for it, ahead of Lubomir Visnovsky on 18.8. This doesn't tell us a whole lot we don't already know - Armdog was signed for his INTANGIBLES but ain't doing half bad, we've been getting primary scoring but not a lot of secondary offense, Lebda sucks (which isn't shown above but is self-evident in the same way gravity is) - but does raise the question of why there's the gap between Kulemin and the other two.

A similar situation exists on the Flyers, where Andrei Meszaros and Sean O'Donnell, despite playing together for a majority of the time, are at opposite ends of the spectrum - Meszaros tops among defensemen, O'Donnell bringing up the rear - and a current theory suggests that either Meszaros has been amazing playing with others, O'Donnell has been awful without Meszaros, or both. I'd hope, in our case, it was more that Grabbo and Mac were playing phenomenally wiith everybody than it was Kulemin sucking alone, but I'm biased.

Anyway. Enjoy. is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of

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