When I took on the challenge of creating a new statistical rating system for the Red Wings this season based on the original work by Chris Hollis at The Production Line, I had a firm grasp of the scope of the task, but not quite the breadth. The purpose of the Common Sense Scoring Index was to break through the messy and blunt statistical categories given to us by traditional (and even some nontraditional) hockey metrics to create a ratings system that would give us a precise look at what the Detroit Red Wings' players brought to the team; I wanted to find a way to make the intangible something that could be counted, averaged, compared, and rated. Through a few tweaks and some excellent reader feedback, we were able to succeed in that goal.
Looking back at the season, I wanted to attempt to further break down the context of the stats and create a system by which we could see some differentiation in how the numbers for each player came to be. As a result, I've gone back over the regular season and have broken down every single adjustment into sub-categories to give us more insight to how the project worked out and to give us a more in-depth look at exactly what we were trying to capture in the first place, a way to count all the ways the Red Wings contributed to their team this season.
Follow me after the jump for a look at the points adjustments made this season..First up, I've separated out all of the points adjustments into eight categories. Those are as follows:
Screener's Assists: Given to a player whose body position prevented a goaltender from seeing a puck to make a save.
Third Assists: Given to a player judged to be the third person in a play worth of earning an assist for a goal.
Fourth Assists: Given to a player judged to be either fourth or fifth in a play worth of earning an assist.
Self-Assists: Awarded to a player judged to have made an assist-worthy play on a goal he scored himself.
Non-Touch Assists: These are given to a player who, by positioning, prevented a player from the other team from being able to make a play to prevent a goal being scored.
Bonus Assists: Awarded to a player on a play which has been judged that, by its virtue, is special enough to warrant giving the same player more than one assist on the same goal.
Assist Lost: Designed to keep track of times when an official assist has been taken from a player due to context.
Goal Credit: Designed to track goals awarded or lost due to the context of a scoring play.
Let's take a look at the totals for each player.
As you can see, there is plenty of reason that Tomas Holmstrom is considered the best net-front presence in the league. Without his contributions, the Red Wings are looking at a possibility of 12 fewer goals scored. This is not an insignificant amount over the course of a season. Danny Cleary came in second with only half that number. Todd Bertuzzi's three goes very well to show the same thing that the Zdeno Chara net-front experiment through the first two games of the Cup Finals showed: having a big body in front of the goal does not equal results. Wings fans understand better than most how hard it is to do what Homer does night in and night out.
Meanwhile, looking at Johan Franzen's numbers showed just what an offensive powerhouse he can be. When he wasn't busy setting up plays without getting official credit, he was running give-and-go plays to help set himself up for goals and doing a good job using his body in the offensive zone to keep defenders away from puck-carriers. He had nearly as many total points adjustments as Homer's team-leading +22, but did so without a single assist credit for screening a goalie. He was generally not used in the net-front role, but I can't help but think it's also a confirmation that he spent much less time in the middle of the ice in front of opposing netminders than we all would have liked to have seen.
Jiri Hudler makes a bit of an interesting case here, as he was awarded self-assists on half his goals this season and also led the team in running either decoys or picks with four non-touch assists. Seems that the biggest complaint about him (that he would go invisible) was also one of his better assets. If he's still with the team next season, I would expect those numbers to improve. On the other hand, Valtteri Filppula was also awarded self-assists on half of his goals. The numbers (taken in context with more traditional numbers) suggest that he is still too reluctant a shooter and did not do as much work in the playmaker department. However, I'll caveat this will full context that by virtue of Filppula being a center and having more defensive responsibility than Hudler, he also had significantly fewer opportunities to spend time in the offensive zone simply "being in the opposition's way."
In fact, when comparing Datsyuk's and Zetterberg's numbers to the rest of the team, a disparity between centers and wingers for offensive responsibility (at least on the scoring lines) becomes more apparent. When we get to the plus/minus adjustments, you'll see the distinction in roles play a much larger part in scoring changes. Pavel and Hank did a fantastic job as playmakers, but are hardly expected to stand in front of goalies.
I'll finish with a small regret in a way that the scoring turned out. Nick Lidstrom led the team with ten total third assists this year. I know that four of those bonus assists were what I'd call outlet passes. These plays, originating in the defensive zone and springing the team for a quick-transition strike are among my favorites to watch and I believe they would be an important stat to keep. Sadly, I did not have a means to separate how many of Lidstrom's official assists fit that category, so all I can say is that he had four outlet passes that weren't also counted as first or second-assists. As the CSSI goes into season 2, I intend to keep track of those as well as to keep a running tally of each of the above points categories, so we can have a more accurate accounting of what the players are doing on the ice.
Stay tuned as later in the week, we'll go over the plus/minus adjustments and try to explain how the Wings' second-best defenseman for official plus/minus was actually the worst on the team at actually playing defense over a long season.