# Balanced Corsi Numbers

Written by Corey Sznajder on .

Going back to my post on the Canes Adjusted Corsi Numbers, you'll remember that I said something at the end of the article about "Balanced Corsi" which also corrects a players corsi value judging by their zone starts. The difference with balanced corsi is that it's judged based on how other players with similar offensive zone starts performed in their situations. How it's done is pretty simple, we look at one player, compare his corsi and relative corsi number with 100 players who had similar zone starts to him and determine an average which we call an "expected corsi number." The difference between his regular corsi and expected corsi number is what his balanced corsi would be. Eric from Broad Street Hockey looked at this with the Flyers.

This system has the same idea as adjusting corsi numbers for zone starts but we are basing this on player performance instead of a pre-determined formula. The adjusted corsi formula would reward players who had low zone starts even if they did not perform well and players who had high offensive zone starts were punished severely even if they had good seasons. This graph illustrates that point. Henrik Sedin's -216.2 adjusted corsi rating shows that. Now, with balanced corsi, his rating is more like 6.24 because while he played great with cushy zone starts, players who also started most of their draws in the offensive zone did slightly better. He played well but not as dominant as his point total and corsi indicate.

Broad Street Hockey also included a link to the spread sheet which includes balanced corsi and balanced corsi relative data for every player who played in 40 games over the last four seasons so we can look at how players performed over time. Big thanks to them for that.

Full-size picture here.

Here's an example of how Balanced Corsi works. This is a short list of players who had similar zone starts over the past four seasons. Some of them dominated and had great balanced corsi numbers (Patrick Kane and Brandon Dubinsky in particular), while others played well but not that great considering how many times they started in their opponents end of the ice (Marc-Andre Bergeron, Alex Radulov) and there were some who got cushy zone starts and didn't do anything with them, most of these end up being enforcers (George Parros, Jody Shelley).

This chart also displays a player's balanced corsi relative rating (far right column), which is how they performed relative to their teams success. It basically gives a player credit for how much part he had in his team's success. It's very useful for judging how well a player did on a bad or middling team because corsi tends to reward players on elite teams no matter who they are. For instance, Jiri Hudler on the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings had a very high corsi rating, started nearly 68% of his draws in the offensive zone and had a balanced corsi rating of about 9.30, his relative corsi rating was about -1.5. Why? Because while he played well with soft ice time, he wasn't nearly as critical to the team's success as Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were. They played tougher minutes and put up similar regular corsi number to Hudler so they deserve a lot more credit.

Here's the Carolina Hurricanes Balanced Corsi Numbers for last season:

Forwards:

 Name Balanced Corsi Balanced Corsi Rel. Eric Staal 5.72 11.38 Chad LaRose 2.56 5.74 Jiri Tlusty 1.37 0.49 Jussi Jokinen 0.58 2.59 Troy Bodie 0.10 3.43 Jeff Skinner -1.52 1.74 Cory Stillman -1.55 -6.23 Brandon Sutter -2.53 -4.08 Tuomo Ruutu -3.06 0.24 Erik Cole -4.60 -3.44 Patrick Dwyer -6.60 -6.91

Defensemen:

 Name Balanced Corsi Balanced Corsi Rel. Jay Harrison 3.77 3.97 Bryan Allen -0.65 -6.57 Joe Corvo -1.04 1.28 Joni Pitkanen -1.79 2.17 Jamie McBain -2.01 -0.66 Tim Gleason -5.47 -8.42

*Note: these are players who finished the team with Carolina and played 40 or more games.

Some thoughts:

• Not too surprised with the forward corps after looking at a lot of other information I've presented the last few weeks. Staal at the top like always, Tlusty did well against weak competition, LaRose was impressive when you consider all of the tough zone starts he got, Jokinen and Ruutu were a little above average when it came to carrying the team's momentum and Skinner's numbers aren't as impressive as his counting stats are because he was sheltered more than any other forward on the team when it came to zone starts. It's a little odd to see that Jokinen is apparnetly the one who is controlling his line the most, though.
• A little disappointed that Sutter didn't end up on the positive end of things here but most of the other numbers I looked at showed that he didn't have too good of a season. The adjusted corsi stat rewarded him because he began a lot of shifts in his own zone while this stat shows he didn't play that well compared to other players who had a similar role to him.

• Harrison might be the highest ranked defenseman here but he saw the weakest competition among defensemen by a longshot so that really makes his value take a nose dive. Context people! Seeing what he can do against tougher competition might be something we should look into with the way Gleason's numbers look. He saw the toughest assignments on the team but didn't do that well against them. He also looks really bad compared to the rest of the defensemen but was definitely carrying a lot on his shoulders this season.
• Allen did okay compared to people in his role but bad compare to his teammates on Florida where he was outplayed by Mike Weaver and Jason Garrison. Makes this upcoming year pretty important for him.
• Pitkanen wasn't too impressive compared to other defensemen that were used in offensive situations last season but he did not have a bad season at all. In fact, he outperformed Joe Corvo by this metric but only by a little bit.
• Erik Cole defenders may as well just give up at this point because there's still no way they will convince me that losing him was a huge setback.

Since the data's available to us, let's see how the Canes players have looked over the past few years judging by balanced corsi.

Forwards:

 Name Balanced Corsi Balanced Corsi Rel. Eric Staal 21.69 34.2 Ray Whitney 15.14 18.41 Tuomo Ruutu 4.88 4.28 Chad LaRose 2.07 2.69 Jiri Tlusty 1.37 0.49 Rod Brind'Amour 1.23 -1.73 Troy Bodie 0.1 3.43 Sergei Samsonov -0.22 -8.96 Matt Cullen -7.92 -7.32 Jeff Skinner -1.52 1.74 Erik Cole -1.53 4.77 Cory Stillman -8.91 -13.62 Jussi Jokinen -4.69 3.6 Patrick Eaves -7.21 -12.24 Patrick Dwyer -6.06 -6.91 Tom Kostopolous -3.76 3.78 Brandon Sutter -8.6 -10.93 Trevor Letowski -10.17 -15.93 Anthony Stewart -10.48 -6.18 Alexei Ponikarovsky 34.67 34.34 Tim Brent -11.45 -11.60

Defensemen:

 Name Balanced Corsi Balanced Corsi Rel. Joe Corvo 6.07 7.21 Frantisek Kaberle 5.74 1.15 Anton Babchuk 0.32 -0.70 Jay Harrison 3.77 3.97 Dennis Seidenberg 0.93 -5.99 Joni Pitkanen -1.82 14.70 Niclas Wallin 0.14 -29.91 Bret Hedican -0.49 -2.27 Glen Wesley -0.51 -5.97 Bryan Allen -9.99 -7.94 Tim Gleason -0.78 -18.07 Jamie McBain -2.01 -.66 Brian Pothier -3.43 -5.41 Alex Picard -2.15 4.05 Ryan Bayda -8.49 -15.25 Tomas Kaberle 3.48 0.18

Included the newest Canes at the bottom of each graph.

Thoughts:

• Ray Whitney's total is mostly from a great 2007-08 season but there's no doubt that he was a huge loss for the Canes last season and he was by far the biggest loss over the last few seasons.

• Corvo had a bad season compared to his career so losing him may sting harder than we though, especially when looking at his numbers compared to Tomas Kaberle. Although, the good news is that Kaberle has been productive with his high amount of zone starts but he hasn't done nearly enough for his respective teams than Corvo did during his time in Carolina.

• Pitkanen is really good at outperforming his teammates...but he's been about average when compared to players like him but if you take away his one season in Edmonton, then he would have been a positive player through this stat so he's been a very good player for Carolina.

• Jussi Jokinen also looks worse than he is due to a couple really bad seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning but he has been a very solid player in Carolina so far and has done better than his teammates for the last four years.

• It's astonishing how bad Niclas Wallin played compared to his teammates for his whole career. That accounts for his time in San Jose, as well.

• Ruutu also had a down year compared to his other seasons and I'm starting to believe that switching positions may have had something to do with it but not playing on Staal's line could have also had an effect but his corsi relative data shows that he is fine driving the play by himself and isn't that dependant on his linemates, at least not as much as some others.
• It's becoming apparent why neither Cory Stillman or Sergei Samsonov haven't been signed by anyone yet. Samsonov hasn't been nearly as bad as Stillman for the last few years but it's tough to say that he's anything more than a third liner on a contending team. It is also a little scary that we looked to Stillman as a first liner last year but he had decent counting stats while he was here. Imagine what Staal could do with some productive wingers....*looks at Ponikarovsky's numbers*

I prefer using this data more when judging how a player does in his role because it's based on how other players performed in similar situations and the results appear to be more realistic than what the adjusted corsi numbers say. A player might be used in a lot of offensive situations but that doesn't mean they should be punished for it unless they perform badly. Same goes for a player who was used in a lot of defensive situations, they are only rewarded for it if they performed well compared to others. I would not say that this is a "defining stat" but it's a solid metric to go by if you are looking to see how much certain players helped their teams and how much a certain player excels in his role. Big thanks to Broad Street Hockey and Behind The Net for the data in this post.