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Hockeymetrics in the Offseason: Analyzing the Corsi Numbers of the Stars Defensemen

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And in case you're new to the topic of Corsi numbers, allow me to refer you to Behind the Net for a brief explanation, chock full of links that delve into what information you can glean from a Corsi number as well as what other metrics a Corsi number can be related to

In a nutshell, the Corsi Number is the shot differential while a player was on the ice.  This includes not just goals and shots on goal, but also shots that miss the net, and in some formulations, blocked shots.  In other words, it's the differential in the total number of shots directed at the net.

And in a nutshell, Corsi Numbers attempt to do what traditional plus/minus does not. Paint a more detailed picture of how effective a player is when he's on the ice.

Now when it comes to any statistic, we must remember the words of one Darryl "Razor" Reaugh who once said:

Statistics are like bikinis. They reveal a lot, but not everything.

For instance, would anyone like to take a guess on which Dallas Stars' defenseman had the highest Corsi Number amongst the guys who played 10 games or more?

After the jump, I'll reveal the answer. Along with the Corsi Numbers for all Stars' defensemen who got into double digits in games played.

It was this guy, with a 5.38 Corsi Number.

Matt Niskanen

#5 / Defenseman / Dallas Stars



Dec 06, 1986

And here are the others:

Matt Niskanen 5 74 14.48 -0.37 -0.071 0.112 5.38 -7.11 -1.49 1.74 2.18 -0.44 26.9 24.1 2.8
Mark Fistric 28 67 13.91 2.64 -0.085 -0.082 1.42 -4.61 -3.19 2.7 1.03 1.67 26.9 26.8 0.1
Stephane Robidas 3 82 17.34 -0.34 0.077 -0.011 -1.81 -4.7 -6.51 2.78 3.12 -0.341 26.9 26.5 0.4
Jeff Woywitka 44 36 13.08 -1.38 -0.074 -0.08 -3.7 -7.84 -11.54 1.66 2.55 -0.89 27.4 30.5 -3.1
Nicklas Grossman 2 71 16.27 -0.26 0.066 -0.091 -7.22 -1.81 -9.03 2.65 2.91 -0.26 25.6 26.9 -1.3
Trevor Daley 6 77 17.16 0.08 0.002 0.004 -9.03 -1.46 -10.49 2.5 2.54 -0.04 27.1 30.9 -3.8
Karlis Skrastins 37 79 15.74 -0.41 0.004 -0.026 -10.66 0.29 -10.37 2.22 2.6 -0.38 25.3 28.9 -3.6

Technically, Philip Larsen led the Stars with a Corsi rating of 11.19 per 60 minutes while Ivan Vishnevskiy had the worst Corsi rating with a -25.17 per 60 minutes. Of course, both of those players only played two games so their stats will be skewed. For the purposes of this post, I chose to throw their stats out because of the low sample size. Ditto for Max Fortunus.

Now as for Niskanen leading the team amongst all the other blue liners? Yeah, I'm a little shocked.

If there's one guy who was the official whipping boy in all the GDT's last season, it was Niskanen.

So why the high number? Well, there's one theory I'll postulate.

Keep in mind that when a team gets hemmed into their own zone for an entire shift but doesn't surrender any goals on the shift or surrenders one at the very end, their Corsi Number is probably going to suffer a bit, unless they block a ton of shots.

This scenario more closely resembled your typical Mark Fistric shift.

Conversely, if you're controlling the puck in your own zone and your linemates get off a number of shots but don't score on them, your Corsi Number will go up.

Even if the opposition goes back down the ice and scores off the rush. This last scenario, unfortunately, represented quite a few of Niskanen's shifts last season.

Fistric led the Stars with a +27 in traditional plus/minus while Niskanen finished with a -15. Furthermore, look at the differentials in 5-on-5 goals for and against and shots for and against.

Now that all explains Niskanen's high number. As for Daley's -9.03?

Ruminate amongst yourselves.