There has been, to varying degrees, concern over the team's possession numbers over the first twelve games of the season. In particular, there's a lot of angst vis-a-vis last season when we started strong, and finished slow, and whether this season is a continuation of that finish.
So how does this season's start actually stack up to last season's?
Of course, all of the usual sample size disclaimers apply here, but there's no way around those when examining such a short span of time.
Just to set the baseline for each season's first 12 games:
2014 score adjusted corsi for % - 52.5%
2015 score adjusted corsi for % - 48.4%
Here are two quick graphs, the first one is of last season's first twelve games. The second of this year's first twelve games. Each point on the graph represents the team's score adjusted corsi for as a percentage of the total corsi in an individual game.
What's initially interesting is tallying the games above and below 50%. In both seasons, we've started the season 7-5 as far as "winning" the possession battle goes.
However, the first thing that is really jumps out is how much lower this year's graph extends-down below 40%, whereas last year bottomed out around 45%. This year when we've gotten beat, we've had our lunch handed to us. We were better in our wins last year, but not by nearly as much as we were better in our losses. To wit:
As you can see, in our wins we're within 2% of our wins last year, and that's despite a couple truly dominant games last season. But our losses are more than 6% worse this season, which is just tanking our overall number right now.
I'm not sure how much to read into any of this-as we know twelve games isn't very many when it comes to data. But I do come away encouraged for a couple of reasons.
First, when we're playing well, we're on a par with last season's start. I think it's important that we know we can play as well as we did last year, and be as consistent in that (recall, both seasons have 7 games of >50%).
Second, while the lows have been really, really low, they haven't hurt us in the standings. Last year we picked up 14 points in our first 12 games. This year it was 15. Improved special teams is likely to thank for that extra point, but it's worth noting that while our bad games have been worse, we've still managed to find points in those games. You might argue that if we continue to be that far out of games, we'll need a ton of luck for that trend to continue, and there's reason for concern there. But the hope would be that that four out of five game stretch where we got hammered was just that-a stretch that becomes a footnote going forward.