So building upon the work I did using SDI last week, Frag went and constructed a similar regression tool to assess Corsi For rather than Corsi Against, and then expanded it to include forwards. This lets us compare expected Corsi For based on usage to actual Corsi For. Using this comparison, and the comparison to Corsi Against provided by SDI, we can construct comparables for any player we like. All we have to do is find players with similar dCorsi (delta Corsi) values in both the Corsi For and Corsi Against realms.
The latter portion of this isn't particularly mathematical - it just requires us to find players within a range of dCorsiF and dCorsiA values around the player we're interested in. As an example I've cobbled together a list of all of the Leafs and their closest comparables in the NHL over the past 6 years:
Let's start with the blue line, which should be easy since we already discussed SDI recently. If we add in the dCorsiF factor we can get an interesting picture of what "type" of defender each guy compares to. Have a look at the list:
This is using 6 year data, so obviously some players have larger sample sizes to draw on than others. This shouldn't necessarily be considered indicative of the players' absolute value in comparison to the rest of the NHL, but by way of impact with respect to how they've been used on their respective teams.
Cody Franson and Paul Ranger might actually make a half decent top pairing in the not too distant future - that is if Ranger returns to form, and if Franson can be locked up.
What will likely surprise Leafs fans the most are the Paul Ranger and Cody Franson rankings, and the comparison between Dion Phaneuf and Nicklas Lidstrom (who is likely driven lower in these rankings by direct result of the fact that he spent his entire career with a model franchise in Detroit).
It's nice to see where Carl Gunnarsson sits and who his peers are. This also gives us insight into what Jake Gardiner has been so far, and perhaps where we'd like him to end up (Scott Niedermayer's numbers were +1.03 dCF and +1.98 dCA - so he was actually better defensively than offensively - the comparisons to him don't make sense yet).
So let's look at the Leafs forwards (both current AND recently departed) and see who sits where in comparison to other NHL players over the past 6 years?
I've tried to roughly sort the players into tiers that likely approximate usage. The first 4 groupings are likely top liners (notice MacArthur?), the groupings for 5-9 are all 2nd or 3rd line caliber depending on the team. Groups 9-15 would all slot in as 3rd or 4th liners probably (and seriously how the hell did Bozak land a 5 year deal?). I also included a bunch of names of players we lost this off-season. Perhaps this can highlight what we've sacrificed and what's coming back in return? If you can't see an even larger issue with the Bozak for Grabovski decision (personality clashes be damned)... well I'm not sure what else to think.
So think of this as conversation fodder or food for thought. Personally I'm pleased with the "accuracy" of the comparables, and think this goes a long way to explaining the issues with how the Leafs are building their team.