Saturday, July 26, 2008

Worst 20 Adjusted +/- (Counting Stat)

In this summer's sabermetrics and hockey posts, I have been discussing +/- ratings so far. I have shown two ways to adjust them between teams. One treats them as a rate stat using on and off ice +/- ratings and another that treats them as a counting stat. I have shown the top 20 and worst 20 adjusted +/- ratings as a rate stat. I have shown the top 20 adjusted +/- ratings as a counting stat. Today, I will show the worst 20 +/- ratings adjusted as a counting stat.

Worst 20 Adjusted +/- Ratings 2007/08
RankPlayerTeamAdjusted +/- On/Off Ice Rank
1Radek BonkNas-30.85
2Dallas DrakeDet-21.82
2Daniel BrierePha-21.834
4Alexander SeminWas-20.812
5Patrick MarleauSJ-19.622
6Olli JokinenFlo-18.678
7Niclas WallinCar-18.43
8Kirk MaltbyDet-17.815
9Maxim AfinogenovBuf-17.618
10Jarret StollEdm-17.217
11Steve McCarthyAtl-16.040
12Adam BurishChi-15.87
13Marcel GocSJ-15.64
13Andrew FerenceBos-15.650
15Patrick SharpChi-15.481
16Sam GagnerEdm-15.297
17Jamal MayersStL-14.824
17Martin SkoulaMin-14.828
17Mike ComrieNYI-14.8214
17Mike ModanoDal-14.851

This list is limited to players who played 50 or more games for the same team last season. Craig Adams, who was number one on the rate list, does not qualify because he split time last year between the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks.

The difference between the worst players in the NHL is much smaller than the difference between the best players. The bottom part of most NHL team's rosters is largely interchangeable with one another. There should be more variation among the worst +/- ratings found by different methods than there is at the top. The rate calculations tend to pick players who play checking roles on good teams. These players are not as strongly selected because they don't have as much total ice time as some of the top line players on their team and because the quality of opposition factor is not so strong in the way these +/- ratings are adjusted. Nevertheless, some of those players do appear on this list. Players who played top line roles, but struggled in them tend to be highlighted more on this list. These are often famous NHL players who had bad seasons and unless they bounce back should be given reduced roles in the future. Also, defencemen get in these rankings more frequently because their increased playing time helps them get larger +/- ratings.

Radek Bonk leads this group of worst adjusted +/- ratings. He is well out in the lead. He had a poor year in Nashville last season. Dallas Drake is again among the worst. A newcomer near the bottom, Daniel Briere is tied with Drake. Briere is a weak defensive player, who had a lot of ice time. Philadelphia would improve if they could reduce his even strength minutes with another good scorer (Simon Gagne?). Alexander Semin, Patrick Marleau and Olli Jokinen are more players who are scorers who are weak in their own zone and saw decreases in their offence last year. Niclas Wallin is the worst defenceman on this list. He is followed by a few members of both lists in Kirk Maltby, Maxim Afinogenov and Jarret Stoll. Steve McCarthy is a defenceman who makes this list next. Then come some more members of both lists in Adam Burish, Marcel Goc and Mike Fisher. Andrew Ference is another defenceman who makes this list, but not the previous one. Sam Gagner, who had a good rookie year but struggled defensively, is next. Jamal Mayers, Martin Skoula, Mike Comrie and Mike Modano end up the list. Comrie is the biggest drop from the rate list because his Islander team was bad when he was off the ice so it was hard for it to be much worse in terms of +/- when he was on the ice. Mike Modano is a big name former superstar in decline who struggled much of last season.

Missing from the rate list are Eric Godard, Mark Smith, Ryan Hollweg, Colton Orr, Trevor Letwoski, Vitali Vishnevsky, Kris Draper and Jed Ortmeyer. None of them come in with particularly good adjusted +/- ratings, but they do not come out as badly. In most cases it is due to less ice time than the players who replaced them.

This list of the worst players according to their +/- ratings adjusted as a counting stat gives a list of players who struggled in their roles last season. Unless there is reason to imagine that they will improve in the future (and there is in some cases - such as Sam Gagner) their roles in the future should be decreased. In some cases, the player in question will likely be out of the NHL soon.

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