Midseason “MoneyPuck”: An Advanced Statistical Look at the Chicago Blackhawks and the NHL at the Halfway Point of the Season

1 of 2


(All stats and data are thanks to extraskater.com, a fantastic website for all hockey statistics, and NHL.com.)

The last time we did this was around the 20 game point, of the 2013-2014 season, and now that we are a tad bit beyond the halfway point, of the season, now is a good time for another basic statistical and advanced statistical check-up.

Once again, please excuse the lame title.  This is where we will take a look at the where the Chicago Blackhawks rank statistically, and what it means for the men of four feathers.  We will also look at where the Blackhawks’ individual players stand, when looked at through a statistical and advanced statistical lens.

For refresher purposes, or if you’re still new to the statistical revolution, without getting too mathematical and boring, Corsi measures quality puck possession.  It is basically the sum of all chances for minus the sum of all chances against.  So, the higher the corsi, the higher the amount of scoring chances created, and thus more opportunities to score vs. being scored against, which of course tends to lead to more victories than losses.

Arguably the most effective Corsi statistic for measuring individul players is Relative Corsi Number.  Basically, relative Corsi breaks down the average number of net shots attempted per 60 minutes of ice time, for an individual player, compared to the rest of his team.  So, a positive Relative Corsi Percentage means that player, on average adds that many more shots on net, for his team.  It’s often easier when broken down into percentages, too.

Let’s take a look at Blackhawks  forwards’ Relative Corsi Percentages

[table id=35 /]

What should we take away from this?

Jonathan Toews leading the way should come as no surprise, but for anyone who might think he isn’t having a great season, since he is being overshadowed by the point production of other players, his Relative Corsi Percentage proves that his all-around game is as good as it has ever been.

Andrew Shaw continues to show maturity, this season.  He was ranked 2nd in Relative Corsi Percentage, at the 20 game check point, also, but in the last 20 games, he has improved by nearly a whole percent.  While he isn’t putting up points at an alarming pace, he has grown his all-around game, remarkably.

Brandon Saad, like Shaw, has shown growth, in his all-around game, this season.  Saad however has more offensive points, to go with it, and as a result, is proving himself to be an invaluable member of the Blackhawk’s mighty core.

Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp are well known for offensive output, as well as being very good defensively.  Their quality Relative Corsi Percentages should come as no surprise.

Patrick Kane’s Relative Corsi Percentage has improved, as his defensive game has improved a bit, but don’t expect him to be out on the Penalty Killing unit, anytime soon.  Does his low Relative Corsi make him overrated?  Absolutely not!  He is a positive, which anywhere near even is respectable, and  you can’t argue with cold, hard point production, and Kane is one of the best, in the NHL, at it.  He isn’t on the ice for his defensive game, he is out there to put points on the scoreboard, and he has been stellar at it, this season.  The fact that he is always playing with different linemates, makes everyone of his numbers even more impressive.

Marcus Kruger is far behind in Relative Corsi Percentage, but why?  It’s because he is centering the Blackhawks checking line, often starts his shifts, in his own zone.  While he isn’t terrible, offensively, he certainly isn’t known for it.  He is a defensive specialist, and is almost exclusively on the ice, in defensive situations, which explains why he isn’t a Corsi darling.

Now that we’ve looked at the Blackhawk’s forwards, let’s take a look at their defensemen.

[table id=36 /]

What does this tell us?

One thing is that Brent Seabrook may be having a bit of an underrated season.  Yes, Duncan Keith is well deserving of all the praise he has earned, this season, but since Seabrook is ranked higher, in Relative Corsi Percentage, it tells us that he is better with Seabrook.  Keith may be taking another run at a Norris Trophy, but he may have to thank Seabrook for a lot of his success.

Nick Leddy has improved by one whole percent, in the last 20 games.  Once again, anything around even is considered respectable, and when considering the fact that he is in the positives, he has put up solid points, when considering his playing time, and he is vital to the Hawks’ elite Power Play unit(which is not considered, in these Relative Corsi percentages).  Leddy is having his best season yet, and isn’t getting the recognition that he deserves.

Why are Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya in the negatives?  Just like Kruger, Hjalmarsson and Oduya start a lot of their shifts, in their own zone.  This is largely due to the fact that this is the Hawks’ best defensive defensemen pairing.  Hjalmarsson’s shot blocking ability is 2nd to none, on the team, and Oduya’s skills as a puck mover make him vital to getting the puck out of their zone.  They play a dirty role, but someone has to do it, otherwise the Blackhawks wouldn’t be nearly as succesful.

Go to the next page for team statistics.