Corsi and Moneyball

Cam Charron
July 07 2013 01:35PM

There is nothing "advanced" about "advanced stats", and CORSI doesn't stand for anything. "Corsi", which is a simple shot differential metric, is named after the Buffalo Sabres goaltending coach that used it to measure the workload on Sabres goalies.

It's simply counting up shot attempts in one end of the ice. Goals, shots, missed shots and blocked shots. The NHL has been keeping that data since 1998, and the early version of the NHL's Event Summary isn't too different to the sleek one we have today.

Jesse Spector of The Sporting News wrote up a feature on Corsi this season, and it's well worth a read. There are several paragraphs I could quote that I could use as a jumping off point to write the rest of this post, but I'll use these two:

“In a 24-shot game, (a goaltender) may see 60 actions, but it never results in a shot,” Corsi says. “You can't just say 'that's not going to be on goal.' He'll have to react.”

It was that line of thinking that led Corsi to begin tracking shot attempts, rather than just shots on goal. Shots that miss the net, and even shots that are blocked, all require a goalie to react.

Actually, one more is good:

“I was trying to measure the amount of work that a goalie does,” Corsi says. “What happened along the way, this fella, an engineer in California … tied it into the work that players do, and he sorted it out in a way that reflects the work that players do. He was kind enough to say it was based on my work originally. Hence, we have this Corsi number.”

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Devils Advocate

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
July 06 2013 01:56PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs made a lot of comittments yesterday, signing a couple of free agents, bringing back a few players, and letting a few walk. This comes shortly after a pair of buyouts and a trade acquisition. Opinions are all over the place: Some people hate the end result, some people are okay with it, some like and dislike certain parts, and others are taking the "waait and see" approach. Myself? I feel that this offseason will be seen as Dave Nonis' defining moment here, the one where he let a glimmer of hope and his personal reputation for being cautious to get to his head, making brash choices that only suit the short term.

But something I will admit, now that everything has sunk in? The Leafs are better suited for the now then they were a few weeks ago. 

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Explaining the Grabovski-Bozak "Stats" Debate in Shinny Hockey Terms

Blake Murphy
July 06 2013 09:22AM

First thing’s first: Mikhail Grabovski is an absolute gem. Whether or not you think it’s appropriate, you have to laugh at the crazy rant Grabo went on to Jonas Siegel after he was bought out on Thursday. Can’t say I blame him, or that he was wrong on any of those points.

There has been some discussion on Twitter and via articles as to whether Grabovski was a good player, a victim of circumstance and underappreciated or a guy blown up by #fancystats who just couldn't get the job done. It hasn’t been a back and forth so much as people restating their opinion over and over again, with analytically minded people (or people who watch the games at both ends of the ice) thinking this move is asinine and some main stream media people and Bozak fanboys supporting it. There are people in between those poles but those extremes yell the loudest.

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Toronto Sun compares David Clarkson to player that retired at age 33

Cam Charron
July 05 2013 09:28PM

via Twitter

There's something problematic about the Toronto Sun's Wendel Clark comparison of newest Maple Leaf acquisition David Clarkson. While I don't dispute that Clarkson is a good player that's tough, can score goals, and will be a positive player for the Leafs for two seasons, the Leafs had better hope that Clarkson is much more durable than Wendel.

Clark played his last NHL game when he was 33 years old and 191 days. The Leafs signed Clarkson until he is 36 years old and 92 days. Is three years much of a difference? Well, it depends on how Clarkson performs in the latter part of the contract.

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Leafs sign Jonathan Bernier to two-year deal

Cam Charron
July 05 2013 07:55PM

It wasn't a particularly good afternoon for Dave Nonis, but Nonis finished it off during the evening landing about the right price for goaltender Jonathan Bernier, at a manageable term.

When searching for comparable players after the trade was made, I determined that goaltenders in Bernier's situation landed salary cap hits of about $2.7-million. Bernier lands $100k above that. With the two-year term, there isn't a lot of risk on the deal, although still a lot of questions as to why the Leafs decided that they had to spend to upgrade a goaltender that was named almost unanimously the Maple Leafs' MVP this past season by our readers at TLN.

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