Correlated Ice Times: Who Drives the Boat?

Statistically speaking, one of the difficulties in measuring individual hockey performance is that there are lots of interrelated factors occurring at the same time. An individual’s +/- rating, for example, depends a lot on who he is playing with and who he is playing against (especially both of the goaltenders).

Sure, on every goal scored the NHL gives data about who was on the ice at discreet moments in a hockey game, but there is little context to hold these events up against. It would be kind of like judging an MLB batter just based on his hits without having data on any of his unsuccessful at-bats; it’s just not a complete story.

Enter JavaGeek, the king of number crunching, who has concocted a method of extracting such shift data from what really are some pretty challenging sources (I highly recommend reading his Intro to Shift Analysis to better appreciate some of the hurdles). Essentially, JG is able to fill in a missing piece of the puzzle, what percentage of situational ice time an individual shares with a specific teammate. And at my enthusiastic insistence, he was kind enough to run these ice-time scripts for my beloved Ducks.

As an intro to how this concept plays out, let’s consider how Andy McDonald and Teemu Selanne played only at even strength:

When playing together:
When playing apart:
T. Selanne A. McDonald
Pct. of E.S. TOI

77%

77%

Pct. of E.S. ‘Plus’ events

80%

93%

Pct. of E.S. ‘Minus’ events

78%

83%

So based on these numbers, the idea is that Selanne continued to score without McDonald better than McDonald could without Selanne. In other words, McDonald’s ability to generate ‘pluses’ appears to be awfully Teemu-dependent; Selanne looks to be driving the metaphorical boat when it comes to even-strength scoring. (Of course, had the Finnish Flash concentrated more on driving actual boats than metaphorical ones, perhaps his boat would still be above water.)

This system of shift analysis still has some work ahead of it, for sure (opposition is still a factor to consider), but I got money on JG being the guy to get there first. I’ll have more on the Duck-specific correlation numbers on a later post, but I did want to demonstrate the concept a bit first before delving into some more of the 05-06 results.

T. Selanne A. McDonald
Pct. of E.S. TOI

23%

23%

Pct. of E.S. ‘Plus’ events

20%

7%

Pct. of E.S. ‘Minus’ events

22%

17%

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Battle of California

You must be a member of Battle of California to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Battle of California. You should read them.

Join Battle of California

You must be a member of Battle of California to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Battle of California. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker