FanPost

Corsi WOWY, part 1: Frans Nielsen

Editor's Note: BenHasna takes a great look at the effect for Islanders players with and without Frans Nielsen on the ice to help them. We are not the only ones -- non-Isles fans have noticed Frans' Selke-like qualities, too. For those of you who have some interest in these "advanced" stats to measure what's going on, this is a nice way to dip your toe in. A quick explanation is after the first table. The links explain the rest, but ask questions or make corrections in comments.

Advanced stats have drawn my interest quite a bit over the last few months. Reading about the Oilers, Canadiens, Avalanche is great, too, but I obviously would prefer to read about the Islanders. As there isn't much out there, I'll give it a try here myself.

Advanced stats don't explain everything, but there's so much going on during play and you can't catch everything just from watching the games. So, in my opinion, as long as you don't try to predict the future solely based on these numbers and always use them in context, they indeed help a lot to understand what's going on on the ice. I don't know too much about statistics, but I can understand most of the things and I'll try to reproduce a few here. Tyler Dellow inspired me with two interesting pieces about Horcoff and Ovechkin. And thanks to the great sites and new tools of Vic Ferrari, I should be able to do the same for the Islanders.

Basically, it's about how certain players do with or without certain other players on the ice in terms of Corsi, which is one of the most telling numbers. Whoever is dominating Corsi is almost sure to dominate scoring chances, too, and obviously has the best odds to outscore the opposition.

I have already run the numbers for most of the Islanders and now will try to spot and post a few interesting things over the next few days or weeks. To begin with, I tried to keep it simple and looked at Frans Nielsen - someone who does well with anyone in any situation, as we all know from reading this blog. And I can tell you, it's very true indeed.

 

I'll look at maybe the other centers next and later at some other forwards, the defensemen, certain combos or other stunning numbers. Some look pretty interesting at first glance, some might not tell very much and some might be tough to interpret. But I hope you will join in there or also correct me, which easily could be necessary, as I have never done anything like this.

 

So, let's look at the numbers of Frans Nielsen. You can find a reading example below. The table includes all players who had at least 100 Corsi events in total (Even strength, excluding empty-net situations) while being on the ice together with Frans Nielsen.

 

with Nielsen

without Nielsen

Corsi %

 

Total

Corsi %

Total

Corsi %

WOWY

Witt

183

0.514

842

0.422

21.83%

Bailey

361

0.537

1357

0.463

16.12%

MacDonald

383

0.527

989

0.457

15.40%

Streit

712

0.538

2215

0.467

15.23%

Gervais

532

0.536

1816

0.465

15.13%

Hunter

676

0.558

782

0.491

13.57%

Sim

302

0.490

1258

0.434

12.91%

Moulson

448

0.542

1641

0.492

10.16%

Hillen

553

0.501

1629

0.456

9.82%

Sutton

471

0.480

1365

0.450

6.67%

Meyer

358

0.528

1397

0.503

5.06%

Okposo

696

0.507

1393

0.500

1.51%

Reese

108

0.491

383

0.491

-0.02%

Bergenheim

536

0.481

968

0.500

-3.73%

Reading example: Brendan Witt was on the ice together with Frans Nielsen for 183 Corsi events in total. 0.514 of these 183 (94) were in the Isles' favour (89 were against them). Witt had 842 other Corsi events in total while not being on the ice together with Nielsen, whereof 0.422 (355) were in the Isles' favour (487 against). Witt's ratio therefore is 21.83 % higher with Nielsen than it is without Nielsen. Or simply put, he benefited a lot from playing on a line with Nielsen.

Nielsen's numbers are very impressive indeed. Just like Witt, everyone on the Isles' roster except for Bergenheim (and Reese) benefited from Nielsen's presence. And not only that - most of the guys were in fact able to outshoot the opposition together with Nielsen, whereas almost everyone got outshot without him.

Corsi definitely needs context, though. Mainly two things need to be considered. First of all, it's crucial who you're on the ice against. It's obviously much easier to outshoot the opposition, when playing against 3rd and 4th lines only, whereas it can be almost impossible against the league's top lines. Another important factor is where your shift starts, as it's much more difficult to outshoot the opposition when being on the ice for more defensive zone faceoffs than offensive zone faceoffs.

Taking into account these things will only make Nielsen's numbers look even much more impressive, though. It won't be that easy to tell for everyone, but as long as we remember from watching the games who played together with whom in what kind of situations, we always should be able to get a good idea. Anyway, Nielsen's role is pretty obvious. Being the best defensive forward of the team, Nielsen's line is often used in tough situations against tough competition. So, whenever a winger or a defender is on the ice together with Nielsen, it's one of his more difficult shifts and we would except his Corsi to fall off. As mentioned, the contrary is the case for almost everyone, by mostly big margins, and that's again just incredible. Why exactly Bergenheim is the exception here, I don't know. I might find out when taking a closer look at Bergie's numbers...

 

More praise for Frans

Now, let's also take a quick look at the numbers from Nielsen's perspective.

 

Nielsen with

Nielsen without

Corsi %

 

Total

Corsi %

Total

Corsi %

WOWY

Hunter

676

0.558

1071

0.490

13.77%

Streit

712

0.538

1035

0.501

7.27%

Moulson

448

0.542

1299

0.507

6.92%

Gervais

532

0.536

1215

0.508

5.49%

Bailey

361

0.537

1386

0.511

5.20%

Meyer

358

0.528

1389

0.513

2.85%

MacDonald

383

0.527

1364

0.513

2.77%

Witt

183

0.514

1564

0.517

-0.57%

Okposo

696

0.507

1051

0.522

-2.91%

Hillen

553

0.501

1194

0.523

-4.31%

Reese

108

0.491

1639

0.518

-5.26%

Sim

302

0.490

1445

0.522

-6.08%

Sutton

471

0.480

1276

0.530

-9.43%

Bergenheim

536

0.481

1211

0.532

-9.49%

The reading is pretty similar. The first column is the same again - 0.558 of the 676 Corsi events with Nielsen and Hunter together were in the Isles' favour. The 2nd column has to be read from Nielsen's point of view this time around. Therefore, 0.490 of the 1071 Corsi events when Nielsen was on the ice without Hunter were in the Isles' favour. Nielsen's Corsi ratio is 13.77 % higher with Hunter than without him.

First of all, very impressive again that Nielsen is able to outshoot the opposition no matter who he's on with. Then, Hunter actually is the only player who benefited as much from playing with Nielsen as Nielsen himself benefited from playing with Hunter. Some others (Streit to MacDonald) still affected Nielsen's Corsi positively, but not by as much as Nielsen affected theirs. And then there's lots of players who hurt Nielsen's numbers, whereas Nielsen affected theirs positively. Again, no clue really why Bergenheim is down there. They somehow don't seem to work very well together. Sutton is more obvious, as he was their primary shutdown defenseman and Nielsen surely had easier shifts with the other defenders. And Sim, well... He has a Corsi of 0.434 without Nielsen, who himself has a Corsi of 0.522 without Sim, despite probably playing tougher minutes without Sim. So, Sim is just terrible and be sure, that's something you'll read a few more times... 

 

Centers up next

We can probably tell already now that Nielsen will turn out to be the Isles' most valueable forward here. But I'll take a closer look at the (other) centers next anyway. Meanwhile, don't hesitate to point out things I could improve or maybe also tell me which players you'd be eager to see the numbers for.

<em>Submitted FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or SB Nation. If you're reading this statement, you pass the fine print legalese test. Four stars for you.</em>

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