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Hockeymetrics: Not Hard to See Why Woywitka's a Regular in the Lineup

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Jeff Woywitka, second from right next to Brenden Morrow, has plenty of reason to smile based on his play this season (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Jeff Woywitka, second from right next to Brenden Morrow, has plenty of reason to smile based on his play this season (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
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Yes, folks, it's time, once again, for almost everyone's favorite topic, hockeymetrics.

This week, I wanted to step outside of the box just a bit and focus on one particular player for the Stars instead of doing a 30,000 foot view of the club.

The impetus of my little project here was the play of one Jeff Woywitka, who didn't see a lot of action last year because he was firmly entrenched as the #7 defenseman on the Stars depth chart. And he didn't see a lot of action early on this year.

But then Mark Fistric got hurt before the Stars visited Ottawa 22 days ago just before Thanksgiving. And since then, Woywitka's been a regular staple on the blue line.

My eyeballs are telling me that he's doing a good job out there. He's playing positionally sound and not falling victim to some of the defensive breakdowns this unit was known for last season.

But what about the stats? Are those also reflecting his good play? Because really, I think that's why we have stats in sports. To validate what we're seeing.

Well fear not, because the answer lies below the jump.

When you look at the CORSI ratings and the various GF/60 and GA/60 ratings from Behind The Net, it's not hard to see why:

RK NAME CORSI REL CORSI ON CORSI OFF GFON/60 GAON/60 GFON/60 GAON/60 +-ON/60 GFOFF/60 GAOFF/60 +-OFF/60 REL +-/60
1 Mark Fistric -13 -13.22 -0.23 2.99 3.74 2.99 3.74 -0.75 2.4 1.71 0.69 -1.44
2 Jeff Woywitka 3.3 -6.58 -9.86 3.02 0.82 3.02 0.82 2.19 1.76 2.7 -0.95 3.14
3 Karlis Skrastins -1 -7.2 -6.24 1.8 1.94 1.8 1.94 -0.14 2.74 2.36 0.38 -0.52
4 Trevor Daley -3.4 -8.71 -5.27 2.94 2.35 2.94 2.35 0.59 2.15 2.15 0 0.59
5 Nicklas Grossman -5.1 -9.97 -4.84 1.84 2.1 1.84 2.1 -0.26 2.75 2.29 0.46 -0.72
6 Matt Niskanen 15.2 4.04 -11.16 2.18 1.86 2.18 1.86 0.31 2.63 2.37 0.26 0.05
7 Stephane Robidas -3.9 -9.82 -5.94 2.61 2.24 2.61 2.24 0.37 2.4 2.12 0.28 0.09

 

I added in a Relative +/- Rating per 60 minutes that subtracts the +/- GF/GA ratings when each player is off the ice from their +/- when they're on the ice. It's similar to how the Relative Corsi ratings are computed.

While Woywitka's Corsi Ratings are really good, I wanted to draw more attention to Woywitka's defensive play. Now obviously, he'll never be an offensive machine. His six career goals, all with St. Louis, should tell you that much.

So for Woywitka to be an effective player, he's going to do what he can to make sure the puck stays out of the net during his shift. And during 5-on-5 play, he's done just that as GAON/60 of 0.82 will tell you.

Every other Stars defenseman who has played at least 10 games this year is up by more than a goal per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time.

I also wanted to draw attention to Woywitka's team leading relative +/- rating of 3.14. Again, that far and away leads the team in large part because Woywitka's the only Stars defenseman with a negative +/- OFF/60. What means is the Stars goal differential is worse when he's off the ice than when he's on the ice.

And he's the only regular Stars defenseman who can say that, at least as far as 5-on-5 play is concerned.