The possession and overall rankings in this article combine several advanced statistics into a single score to give an idea of how players are performing relative to their peers. Statistics used and how they are combined are detailed in the article introducing this project for the 2014-15 NHL season.
The rankings in this article are created using five-on-five data from WAR On Ice. Samples for defencemen and forwards include all players who had played at least 10 games by the end of Friday, January 16, 2015. A total of 228 defencemen and 437 forwards met that minimum game criterion.
The possession scores used to create these rankings are a combination of players' team-quality-adjusted Corsi-for percentage and their deployment quality (as described in the introductory article linked above).
Ranges of team-quality-adjusted Corsi-for percentage (TQA CF%) in this sample:
Defencemen: 59.3% (Xavier Ouellet) - 39.3% (Brad Stuart), median of 49.9%
Forwards: 59.4% (Patrice Bergeron) - 32.3% (Manny Malhotra), median of 50.0%
Ranges of deployment quality:
Defencemen: 1.5553 (Mike Weaver) - 0.2926 (Ryan Suter), median of 0.9871
Forwards: 1.7232 (Paul Gaustad) - 0.1809 (Zach Parise), median of 0.8087
Worst possession defencemen
Ryan Suter and Mark Barberio have team-quality-adjusted Corsi-for percentages above 50 percent, but have taken advantage of the easiest and second-easiest deployment quality, respectively, to attain that mark.
Best possession defencemen
Adam Larsson moves into the top spot, being about even in terms of Corsi-for percentage despite the third-toughest zone starts of all defencemen.
Zdeno Chara has returned to the Boston Bruins lineup and both he and defensive partner Dougie Hamilton moved up into the top three.
A significant jump by Cody Franson (whose possession numbers were highlighted by EotP contributor Jack Han in a recent article) since December 5th moves him up to the 16th position. Seth Jones also experienced a large bump with the help of an actual relative Corsi-for percentage of +9.6% over the 42-day span. Jones joins Nashville Predators teammates Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm in the top 17.
Largest possession ranking changes among defencemen
Raphael Diaz increased his Corsi-for percentage from 33.5% to 40.0% despite a defensize shift in his zone starts while playing with the least-used members of the possession-challenged Calgary Flames.
Three members of the Chicago Blackhawks' defence corps are among the biggest risers after changes in personnel deployment for the club. Niklas Hjalmarsson has been negatively affected by that shuffling, falling 77 spots between weeks 11 and 13, and 86 spots in the last six weeks.
Jonas Brodin suffered a massive drop in Corsi-for percentage since the last edition of these rankings. His league-leading adjusted Corsi-for percentage of 61.5% after week nine is now down to 54.2%, thanks to only having 48.7 percent of shot attempts go his side's way over his last sixteen games.
Three rookies who were unable to maintain their lofty early-season numbers follow Brodin.
Worst possession forwards
Derek Stepan had the worst relative Corsi-for percentage (-8.9%) of all New York Rangers forwards over the last six weeks, dropping him 97 positions.
Best possession & defensive forwards
Qualification as a defensive forward is determined by comparing a forward's personal defensive zone start percentage to that of his team to obtain a relative defensive zone start percentage. The cutoff for consideration is having at least a median-level DZSt% rel, which is approximately -0.2% in this sample. Players below that level are highlighted in red in the list of best possession forwards below.
Patrice Bergeron's reclaimed his usual number-one position on the possession rankings board, holding the highest adjusted Corsi-for percentage while playing a defensive role for the Boston Bruins. Former-Bruin Joe Thornton achieved the second-highest mark in that statistic, also in a defensive role for the San Jose Sharks, to sit at number two.
New York Islanders rookie Anders Lee moved up 123 places into the 12 slot after a significant increase in his quality of competition was coupled with a boost to his shot differential.
Jesse Joensuu was released by the Edmonton Oilers on December 12th.
Largest possession ranking changes among forwards
Craig Adams had a Corsi-for percentage of 44.5% after week nine. In the 13 games between then and the end of week 15, he had a Corsi-for percentage of 57.8%. That turnaround rockets him 224 spots up the possession rankings.
At the other end is another rookie who has seen a large decline in his position: An adjusted Corsi-for percentage that has fallen from 54.2% to 51.6%, despite easier zone starts, drops Vincent Trocheck 188 places.
Top possession rookies
Mirco Mueller was rising steadily through the rankings before heading off to join Switzerland at the World Junior Championship. He has held position since his return to the San Jose Sharks earlier this month.
Damon Severson's numbers are very similar to those of Mueller, so he takes up a spot just two places behind the Swiss rookie.
Dmitrij Jaskin reappears after a brief hiatus to claim the title of top possession forward among the rookie class.
Possession filter views
The Google Documents spreadsheets containing all of the data used in creating these rankings (separate files for defencemen and forwards) are publicly available and can be viewed by clicking either the 'Defencemen' or 'Forwards' links in the table below. If you would like to jump directly to the rankings/scores for players of one particular team or just see how this season's rookies compare, you can use the filter views I've created in those sheets. The "Def." filter shows the list of defensive forwards. The team defensive zone start percentages used in determining that status can be found in the "Team DZSt% 14-15" sheet in each file.
You can click the links below or go to "Data | Filter views..." within the spreadsheets, although some of the views may be hidden off the screen via that method.
There are also links for the individual files containing the four previous seasons' rankings that I created last year using five-on-five data from the now-defunct Extra Skater.
If you'd like to compare the numbers for players from this edition (week 15) to the last (week nine), you can view the archived numbers from week nine for forwards and defencemen.
There are also sheets for the weeks in between that I was able to create the rankings for but couldn't find the time with the holidays and EotP's World Junior Championship coverage to write articles for: week 11 (forwards, defencemen) and week 13 (forwards, defencemen). The columns with the rankings from those weeks are visible in the main spreadsheets linked below.
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference||Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
The two factors used in creating the possession scores are combined with a time-on-ice-adjusted scoring statistic to create the overall scores
Ranges of primary-points-plus per sixty minutes (P1+/60):
Defencemen: 1.91 (Victor Bartley) - 0 (multiple players), median of 0.52
Forwards: 3.28 (Tyler Johnson) - 0 (multiple players), median of 1.25
Best overall defencemen
Except for a drop to second place in week 13, Ryan Ellis has been at number one all season. He has taken advantage of middle-of-the-pack deployment to put up the 10th-best adjusted Corsi-for percentage and ranks 12th in terms of primary-points-plus per sixty minutes of ice-time.
The Nashville Predators are well-represented in the mid-season rankings, with four members of their defence among the top 24. None of those members are named Shea Weber or Roman Josi, as that duo is currently sporting a relative Corsi-for percentage of about -6%. Weber and Josi are still putting up great scoring numbers, however, and all told the Predators have seven members wthin the top 108 ranks.
Largest overall position changes among defencemen
Three of the top five biggest movers in the standings are players who have changed addresses this season. Kevin Connauton, Jason Demers, and Brenden Dillon all appear to have benefitted from early-season moves. Connauton scored six five-on-five goals and added two assists over the last six weeks to experience the largest gain of the group.
Best overall forwards
Bergeron uses his great possession numbers to take the top spot on the overall board. The 30th-best primary-points-plus per sixty minutes helps him to stay just above second-place man, Ryan Strome.
Third spot is occupied by Tyler Johnson, who leads all forwards with 34 five-on-five points and has the highest P1+ per sixty minutes.
Anders Lee jumped from 212th-highest P1+ per sixty minutes to 37th with 10 five-on-five points since week nine. Jonathan Toews went from 143rd to 32nd in that category, scoring 13 five-on-five points in 18 games to advance 82 positions.
It would also appear that James Neal is doing just fine without Evgeni Malkin.
Largest overall position changes among forwards
Bobby Ryan emerges from a long period near the bottom of the rankings where his poor possession and offensive numbers kept him at the beginning of the season. Since week nine when his Corsi-for percentage was 44.2% and he had contributed four five-on-five points for the Ottawa Senators, Ryan has six goals and eight assists (six primary assists) in 18 games, with a Corsi-for percentage of 52.2% over that time.
Matt Halischuk has fallen over half of the way down the board. His teammate quality has increased, his defensive zone starts decreased, and his team-quality adjusted Corsi-for percentage has dropped from 52.6% down to an even 50.0%. Those factors all add up to a decline from top-tier numbers to those of a fourth-liner.
Top overall rookies
John Klingberg and Aaron Ekblad hang onto their positions at the top of the rookie board despite minor falls.
Matt Dumba only played one game over the six-week span, but his 67.9% Corsi-for percentage in that game was enough to give him the biggest jump in position among rookie defenders while the majority of first-year defencemen have seen a drop from week nine.
Anders Lee leads Dmitrij Jaskin at the top, followed by two Ottawa Senators rookies in Mike Hoffman, who possesses the 10th-highest P1+ per sixty minutes of all forwards, and Mark Stone. San Jose's Melker Karlsson makes his debut at number five in the rookie forward ranks.
Overall score filter views
The overall ranking sheets are located next to the possession sheets in the Google Docs files. They are linked, along with their filter views, in the following table.
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference||Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|TOR||WSH||Rookie Defencemen||TOR||WSH||Rookie Forwards|
Archived 2014-15 data
Week five: Forwards | Defencemen
Week seven: Forwards | Defencemen
Week nine: Forwards | Defencemen
Week 11: Forwards | Defencemen
Week 13: Forwards | Defencemen
The next two-week period will include a lengthy break for the All-Star Game which will see teams play fewer games than normal. Because there won't be much new data over that period, the next edition of these rankings will be posted after the end of week 19 and will include data for players who have played in at least 12 games by the end of Friday, February 13, 2015.