Adjusted Save Percentage: Measuring the Impact Defense has on Goaltending Statistics

money puck
October 16 2014 01:30PM

#456882700 / gettyimages.com

One of the reasons we love sports as much as we do is because of the great debates it can spawn. I came across a classic hockey debate the other day in relation to Ryan Miller. “Of course Miller didn’t post elite numbers last year. He played for Buffalo!”   

As I was thinking about this, it struck me that while we have made huge strides in advanced statistics overall, we haven’t made much progress in terms of quantifying the impact of defense and separating that contribution to statistics for the goalie themselves. We can tell the percentage of shots a goalie save (SV%), but we have little to no insight into the difficulty level of the shots themselves.  

From a quantitative standpoint, we understand the game better now than ever before. We understand shot attempt differential, which we know we can be used to approximate possession. We call this corsi, and we understand this to be a key component of overall team success. We can also begin to isolate the impact a player has on their team’s shot attempt differential, which is a solid representation of strong two way play.

However, there is one factor that detractors of advanced stats have always struggled with. Detractors have long protested that not all shots have an equal chance of going in, and they’re right. Is it possible to adjust save-percentage to reflect easier or more difficult workload? Find out after the jump. 

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The Home and Road Effect

Ryan Pike
October 13 2014 08:30AM

#482065237 / gettyimages.com

Coaching in the National Hockey League is basically two sets of skills. At home, you need to effectively identify the other team's weakest players and put your best players out against them in order to maximize your home ice advantage and last change. On the road, you need to cope with what happens when the other coach does that to you, and do your best to implement a game-plan to counter the disadvantage you face while on the road.

Over the course of the pre-season, in discussions with other media members, I noted that coaching against the Calgary Flames probably has a simple strategy: isolate their best possession players (Giordano, Brodie and Backlund) as much as you can and do what you can to run up the score when they're not on the ice.

While no perfect measure exists quite yet to see if that is precisely the case, last year's data from Hockey Analysis (and War on Ice) allows us to compare possession stats at home and on the road to see how differently each player is used and how their Corsi production changes as a result.

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The Nation Minute

Nation World HQ
October 13 2014 06:00AM


The Nation Network brings you the Nation Minute, a rapid fire look around the network and the NHL. On tap this week: Don Cherry and the Leafs, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jeff Petry, Mason Raymond and more.

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THE ROUNDUP

Nation World HQ
October 10 2014 08:38AM

The 2014-15 season is officially underway. We’re talking Phil Kessel, John Tortorella, Pacific war room, season predictions and more in this week's Roundup.

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IT’S NATION DRAFTS TIME AGAIN!!!

baggedmilk
October 09 2014 04:16PM

NationDrafts

Can you believe it’s finally opening night (for the Oilers anyway… as if anyone else matters)?! After months of sitting around, and rehashing the same argument thousands of different ways, the NHL regular season is finally back!  That means it’s also time for another round of NationDrafts.

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