Friday, June 1, 2012

HABS: Defensive-zone Ratios for Each Individual Player

Ratios are basic expressions of how well players perform. It is simply a measurement of how many successful puck-possession plays a player makes for every 1 unsuccessful puck-possession play.  A successful or unsuccessful event could be anything from a completed pass to a lost puck-battle. Simply put, the higher a player's ratio, the more that player helps his team maintain or acquire possession of the puck.

The graph below is a visual representations of the defensive-zone ratios produced by every player who played for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2011-12 season.

As with all statistics, the larger the pool of data the more reflective the data becomes. Ratios are no exception. In fact, I believe (with this large pool of data) ratios have become one of the most important expressions of how well players perform. 

ONLY even-strength events are included in this calculation.


Defenseman Josh Gorges had the top defensive-zone ratio of any Montreal player last season. Gorges made 2.65 successful plays in the defensive-zone for every 1 unsuccessful play. He had the second-best defensive-zone passing success-rate. He also led the team in blocked shots and had a defensive-zone puck-battle winning percentage of 61%; no other d-man had a d-zone puck-battle winning-percentage above 55%.

Other defensemen with d-zone ratios above 2.25 include; Tomas Kaberle (2.5), PK Subban (2.48) and Andrei Markov (2.38). Kaberle's ratio is padded by his strong play with the puck. He led the team in defensive-zone passing-percentage, and blocked passes per-minute of ice-time. That said, he won only 51% of his d-zone puck-battles, and blocked the fewest shots-per minute of any d-man.

Subban and Markov had defensive-zone puck-battle success-rates of 52% and 51% respectively. Their defensive-zone ratios were buoyed by their ability to beat players 1on1, as well as their defensive-zone passing success.

The lowest defensive-zone ratio among defensemen belonged to Raphael Diaz. He made 1.9 successful plays in the defensive-zone for every unsuccessful play. His ratio was hurt by his low loose-puck recovery total, and his inability to beat opposing players 1on1, as he was successful with only 35% of his attempted defensive-zone dekes last season.

The only other d-men with a defensive-zone ratio below 2.0 was Alexei Yemelin. He made 1.95 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. His low defensive-zone passing-percentage hurt his ratio.

Gabriel Dumont did not engage in enough events to produce a reflective defensive-zone ratio. That said, his d-zone ratio of 2.50 succcessful plays in the defensive-zone for every 1 unsuccessful play remains impressive.

Among forwards with substantial events, Mathieu Darche (2.37), Aaron Palushaj (2.35), and Lars Eller (2.40) have the top defensive-zone ratios. All 3 players also shared the 3-highest defensive-zone puck-battle winning-percentages among forwards, while Eller had the second-highest defensive-zone passing success-rate.

Other forwards with defensive-zone ratios above 2.0 include; Tomas Plekanec (2.01), Petteri Nokelainen (2.06), Brian Gionta (2.06), David Desharnais (2.03), and Max Pacioretty (2.05).

The lowest defensive-zone ratio was produced by Michael Blunden. He made only 1.47 successful plays in the defensive-zone for every 1 unsuccessful play.  Blunden won only 43% of his defensive-zone puck-battles, and was successful with only 22% of his attempts to beat opposing players 1on1 in the defensive-zone.

Other players with defensive-zone ratios below 1.65 include; Brad Staubitz (1.61), Rene Bourque (1.60), Andrei Kostitsyn (1.58), Andreas Engqvist (1.61), and Louis Leblanc (1.63).

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