Randy Carlyle's effect on Tyler Bozak's possession statistics

Cam Charron
July 12 2013 01:30PM

I guess there's some room to be fair to Tyler Bozak. Tyler Dellow's been going through some zone faceoff data (I got my hands on some Leafs-specific zone data that I'll be rolling out this weekend) and it seems like Randy Carlyle's teams in particular are quite poor at puck possession. Dellow's been doing some great work at his website showing how the system can contribute to poor possession rates for top forwards. There's some indication that's been happening with Bozak.

Now, my opinions on Bozie are well-documented, but if you looked at his statistics relative to his own team, I think his collapse in shots for and against metrics aren't isolated on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The problem is that he's a key player in a system that's designed to give up shots on goal. While Randy Carlyle won a Stanley Cup, his Anaheim teams after that were never dominant again, and he missed the playoffs twice in the four years at the end of his term if you count 2012 as a year that the Ducks would have missed. They were 7-13-4 at the time.

So what does this mean for Bozak? Well, look at his basic relative Corsi, relative Quality of Competition, and zone start rates next to his time on ice. These are even strength statistics alone:

  TOI/60 Rel Corsi Corsi Rel QoC Ozone %
2010 13.47 1.7 -0.169 56.7%
2011 13.98 -2.9 0.293 52.4%
2012 14.82 -4.9 0.340 52.5%
2013 15.17 4.0 0.858 44.8%

Obviously, it's not about Corsi alone, or any one metric, but it is important to note that Bozak did better relative to his teammates than in any other year, and he did it in a career high of minutes, relative quality of competition and defensive zone faceoff start rate. I don't think that Bozak had a good season by any means, but if you strip out the Randy Carlyle components and compare him face up with teammates, he's not doing as badly as maybe we thought. There's the potential, again, for a third-line centreman.

Then there's his PK record. While Jay McClement was most-heavily leaned on this past season, Bozak had career highs in minutes per game on the PK, as well as career lows in shots and goals against rate. As a key PKer, he was part of the reason the Leafs had a strong PK this season, although that's also thanks to coaching and Scott Gordon's effect on the PK, which focused around pressuring point men, entries, and no longer fronting:

  TOI/GP 4v5 SA/2 MIN 4v5 GA/2 MIN
2010 1.21 1.57 0.224
2011 1.76 1.73 0.235
2012 0.67 1.95 0.244
2013 1.63 1.49 0.133

Is Bozak perfect? No. When he goes on radio, he sounds like he's trying to address the "haterz" and I think he knows he has a lot to prove this upcoming season.

Was he as good as Grabovski last year? No. I have some snippets of data that shows Grabovski was better in certain specific situations, but Bozak was relied on this year and as a player, improved. The system though, the one that exists purely to give up shots on goal and force goaltenders and top scorers to drag teams into the playoffs, is not doing Tyler Bozak any favours.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 leafnerd
July 12 2013, 05:36PM
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I don't really like Bozak and was hoping we would walk as UFA (or be traded at the deadline). However, it appears from twitter that some in the advanced stats crowd (at least those who use corsi etc) hate on Bozak excessively. Initially it started to take pressure off Phaneuf who was the designated MSM goat when the leafs struggled. And Bozak became the goat of the advanced crowd.

I find both attacks rather offensive to the players both from MSM and the social media crowd. I think these player attacks are giving stats a bad rap. At any rate, I'm rather impressed that the advanced stat crowd who used social media to push the anti-bozak view point so strongly. I hope this doesn't dissuade quality UFAs from desiring to playing in Toronto. But then again Don Cherry does the same thing with on coaches corner as the twitter folks and he is just as bad.

And good on Lupul for sticking up for team mates. The funny thing is Lupul was the designated goat back on twitter in early 2011. But then he shut everyone one, was voted into the all star despite fielding poor fancy stats.

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#2 m@
July 12 2013, 07:23PM
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Good read Cam...

Bozak is by no means a #1 C - I think we can all agree with that. But the way people talk about him sometimes - it's almost like he should be playing for the Cobourg Cougars.... as a 2nd line C.

I do think he is a very serviceable 2nd line C. Hopefully Kadri can take the reigns half way through the 13-14 season... or to start the 14-15 season. I'm sure the Bozak signing was done with this idea in mind...

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#3 Badger M
July 12 2013, 08:31PM
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I think it's pretty silly to say that Carlyle teams are bad at puck possession because of the events after a DZ faceoff loss.

They certainly relied on good defenseman though. FF% took a significant hit after Pronger left and then the year after when Niedermayer left.

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#4 Badger M
July 12 2013, 08:36PM
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Also, is it just me, or are Carlyle teams looking like an exception when it comes to making the playoffs despite poor Fenwick numbers?

I didn't realize they placed 4th in the tougher Western Conference despite having the 2nd worst FF% in the league (2010-2011)

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#5 jasken
July 12 2013, 08:58PM
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Bozak can still be better then he has been. He increases his shot total to 2.5 game he could be a low end 1st line center to high 2nd. He wont every be a power forward, or high skilled passing center but more goals would make him manageable there.

People get on him cause he dont get points, or has high corsi but that is not his job. When people realize what his role is he fits there. His wingers like him as they dont need to sit there tapping sticks, its already on its way. They will never get shunned. If a winger and coach are happy with the your playing, why not ride that gravy train.

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#6 leafer4life
July 12 2013, 09:35PM
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@Badger M

I'm not sure I would pin this on Phaneuf for not being a elite Pronger like Dman. A great coach get results with the talent he has. Carlyle is an mediocre coach. Actually Carlyle is a plug.

I'm more concerned with Bozak's poor offense then his Corsi especially given he gets prime PP. But like Cam says a good coach will design smarter play strategy for the talent he has. Rather then try to employ a strategy and pretend Phanuef is Pronger and Bozak is Getzlaf.

What is strange is that Wilson did better with his run and gun that fit the leafs players speed and offensensive threat (except for a few of the glacial blueliners) but the team didn't get result and really play for him. Carlyle has somehow to do everything wrong and yet is getting results.

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#7 jasken
July 12 2013, 10:41PM
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@leafer4life

I am trying to figure out what you mean by wrong. A little abnormal but not wrong.

The fact that Leafs average shot against comes from 37 ft as opposed to 33 feet last season and

Carlyle believes his vision is a work in progress. Its not like Carlyle is trying to pass anything off as a full implemented system.

Wilson system finished and got ate time and again. Granted he couldn't get players to perform. Could have been they didn't believe in him, or the system, they just didn't have a winning attitude every night like with Carlyle.

Like you I would like to see Bozak rise a bit in offence, I realize he is a way 2 forward not a offensive, or power forward so he wont dominate in that category but be nice to see 60 - 65 pts

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#8 DR
July 13 2013, 05:23AM
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A winning attitude? lol Is that french for "healthy James Reimer"?

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#9 leafer4life
July 13 2013, 08:30AM
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@jasken

For example, Carlye is employing poor Corsi facepunchers,he relies on poor Corsi #1C and he saddled of his most productive C (Grabbo with checking duties). He also pairs Phaneuf with two AHLers and has the defense collapse down.

Everything that advanced stats say a coach should avoid Carlyle employs and is somehow successful. This really annoys the crap out of me because low Fenwick teams should not make the playoffs and should not be competitive with the Bruins in the playoffs. The probability of leaf success this season occurring given their shot data is so small that is either a 1 in 1000 chance aberration or Carlyle is coaching well. And as small as 1 in 1000 is, I'd rather say that is the case and not that Carlyle has some sort of magic beans.

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#10 firenonis
July 13 2013, 09:55AM
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To tell you the truth I think most of the leaf players, GMs and coach have poor judgement. How Lupul can support Bozak with a straight face is beyond me.

How Kessel can let his friendship get in the way of the leafs winning is clear he doesn't have what it takes to win. And how Phaneuf as captain can give his approval to Bozak shows a complete lack of hockey knowledge.

This team needs to torn down and replaced with players, GMS, coaches that care more about winning then friendship. And are not dazzled by players who promise the world and have nice hair but are a detriment to the team.

All aboard tank nation. Trade everyone away this team is rotten at its core

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#11 Badger M
July 13 2013, 10:35AM
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@leafer4life

When it comes down to it, Fenwick/Corsi/PDO/#fancystats are still vague and often inaccurate predictors of success. Thy just happen to be the most accurate statistical models that are publicly available.

Low Fenwick teams make the playoffs just like high Fenwick teams miss them. Fenwick isn't an end-all-be-all indicator of if your team will win games or not.

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#12 Badger M
July 13 2013, 10:55AM
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Also, after re-reading the article, the "Carlyle missing the playoffs" statistic is really bizarre and selective. Him making it to the conference finals and winning a cup is hand-waved, yet a season where he coached 24 games is considered a full season.

In years where he coached every game, he's made the playoffs six out of seven times. In seasons where his team had low fenwick numbers he made the playoffs two out of three times.

It's going to be very interesting if the Leafs place Bottom 5 in FF% again and still make the playoffs.

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#13 m@
July 13 2013, 11:51AM
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firenonis wrote:

To tell you the truth I think most of the leaf players, GMs and coach have poor judgement. How Lupul can support Bozak with a straight face is beyond me.

How Kessel can let his friendship get in the way of the leafs winning is clear he doesn't have what it takes to win. And how Phaneuf as captain can give his approval to Bozak shows a complete lack of hockey knowledge.

This team needs to torn down and replaced with players, GMS, coaches that care more about winning then friendship. And are not dazzled by players who promise the world and have nice hair but are a detriment to the team.

All aboard tank nation. Trade everyone away this team is rotten at its core

This is just as ridiculous as saying the Leafs are going to win the Cup.

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#15 Badger M
July 13 2013, 12:05PM
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Personally, I think firenonis is a satire poster.

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#16 jasken
July 13 2013, 06:24PM
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@leafer4life

What is it people and complaining about Grabo being on 3rd line. Were Grabos personal numbers more important then winning, as a Leafs fan I care more about the end result, not how many points a player gets.

Gunnarsson, Gardiner were hurt who did you want him to use. He used him what would give him best chance to win.

You want the same advance stats as Wilson well give him the same players. Where's his healthy players what does Carlyle get AHLer's and walking wounded. People going on about advance stats there was no collapse so he was lucky. Wilson had 3 with a good corsi whats his excuse unlucky 3 times.

You might not like Bozak because he is a poor Corsi center. He listens to whats asked, maybe if Grabo had listened he would have been there instead of Stajan, before Bozak arrived. Kadri would never have supplanted him on 2nd line so easy.

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#17 jasken
July 13 2013, 07:23PM
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firenonis is Cam in disguise

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#18 firenonis
July 13 2013, 08:21PM
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I will sy this,Bozak and Phaneuf are both gorgeous. Let's keep them here, forever.

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#19 Badger M
July 13 2013, 08:24PM
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Stats are for losers, I bet no Black Hawks fans areon Their sites discussing this stupid topic, and just Who are going to be the lEAFS Top 2 centers with Grabovski gone?? Dumb team.

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#20 Badger M
July 13 2013, 09:20PM
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^The Habs trolls are back. I really don't understand it.

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#21 firen0nis
July 14 2013, 03:24PM
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Hockey Inside Out fans are back trolling, I just went there on a hunch and they're laughing about the comments posted here..Time to get even.

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#23 jasken
July 14 2013, 06:05PM
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Cam that was a response to "@leafer4life" where @leafer4life responded to my post where I responded too.

My response was #5 posted .

I didn't know everything including what we comment to other posts must be totally focused to what you wrote but its good to know. So no responding to other people posts or what they got to say it has nothing to do with topic posted.

Glad that is straightened out

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#24 Paul J
July 19 2013, 07:02PM
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Stats are an after the fact assessment about WHY teams finished where they did. The fact is... Carlyles system relies on on high percentage counter attack with a collapsing defense. Of course they get less shots, they get BETTER ones, as evidenced by their higher shooting percentage. Hockey is a game of momentum, this is not baseball..... this is emotion.

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