Dallas Stars Advanced Statistics: Using the Bonnar Method to Visualize the Stars and Corsi

Ronald Martinez

Visualizing the Stars Forward/Defenseman pairings using Corsi.

A few days ago, Tim Bonnar from the excellent Winnipeg Jets' blog, and fellow member of the SBNation family of hockey blogs, Arctic Ice Hockey, wrote a post about why he thought the Jets were doing as poorly as they were.

Tyler Dellow at mc79hockey picked up on it, as well as a few other bloggers including Canucks' blogger Cam Charron and Blue Jackets' blogger Nick Bliss. If you've followed Dellow's Twitter account much in the past few days, you may have noticed him posting datagrids with the hashtag of #corsivis, or some variation thereof.

Dellow dabbled on this topic during the summer and came to the following conclusion:

I fooled around with something a little bit this summer that I didn’t end up publishing. If we assume that the coach uses his best players the most, we would expect that the Corsi% for when the most heavily used defenceman and the most heavily used forward are on the ice to be the highest on the team, barring something really unusual – a defenceman who plays exclusively in the defensive zone or something.

I decided since I already track multiple advanced statistics based on opponent's lines, I could create a datagrid for the Stars to test Tim Bonnar's and Tyler Dellow's theory.

To weed sample sample sets of data, Dellow set a minimum of 10 games played and 60 minutes on the ice, together.

For that reason, you won't find Dustin Jeffrey, Lane Macdermid, or Chris Mueller on this chart for the forwards. Likewise, Jamie Oleksiak and Kevin Connauton are omitted amongst

Then the list is ordered by whomever had the highest TOI/60. For the purpose of this exercise, I chose to order by Extra Skater's TOI/60 for the Stars.

And since the chart contains exactly 12 forwards and 6 defensemen, I've divided the chart into a four equal quadrants to test the theory that the forwards and defensemen with the heaviest 5on5 minutes will have the highest Corsi For % on the team.

The result?

As you can see, the chart plays out the way you'd think it would. The upper left hand quadrant with the highest TOI/60 for both forwards and defensemen has 12 out of the 18 cells colored in green with the Whitney/Goligoski pairing at exactly 50%. In addition, the top three forwards in TOI/60 all have above 50% Corsi For percentages when paired with the top three defensemen in TOI/60.

From that standpoint, it proves Dellow's hypothesis correct.

What's somewhat surprising is the lower right hand quadrant has 8 cells colored in green, 9 in red, and one at exactly 50% (the Chiasson/Jordie Benn pairing).

Other notable observations:

  • Erik Cole is the only forward with a Corsi For percentage under 50% when paired with every defenseman on this list. A few days ago, Shawn Horcoff joined him in this inauspicious territory. As you can see, he's up to 50% with Dillon, Goligoski, and Robidas on the ice.
  • Alex Chiasson has similar CF% numbers, but is above 50% when Trevor Daley and Alex Chiasson have been on the ice.
  • Ryan Garbutt is one half of the pairing with the highest CF% with a 0.5778 mark when paired with Sergei Gonchar.
  • He's also one half of the pairing with the lowest CF%. With Brenden Dillon, he has a 0.4439 mark.
  • The quadrant with the most red cells is the lower left hand quadrant (high TOI/60 for defensemen and low TOI/60 for forwards). That checks in with 11 red cells and just 3 green cells).

Having just started tracking this, I can only assume the first part of the season would not have only seen some reds, but some ugly numbers to go along with the reds. Since then, the Stars have improved their play in Corsi overall.

Not to mention, Colton Sceviour is going to find his way on this graph. He has too small a sample size to qualify, but his play certainly indicates he's going to be sticking on this roster for the foreseeable future.

And I'll be interested to see what his numbers look like.

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