The New York Rangers fell short of their Stanley Cup goals this season, but still did some remarkable things on the ice. However, no Rangers took home hardware at the 2015 NHL Awards. In lieu of generic awards like the ones given out in Vegas, let’s take a look at analytical awards for Rangers players. We’re looking at which Blueshirt has the best value in many statistical categories for the 2014-15 season (NOTE: there is a minimum of 45 games played for this season to be considered, so players like Anthony Duclair are not in contention for these awards).
Big thanks to Puckalytics.com for all these statistics.
Here are your winners, along with explanations of what all these numbers mean.
Most Positive Impact (Highest PDO)
Forward winner: Derek Stepan (105.2 PDO)
Defensive winner: Kevin Klein (103.4 PDO)
PDO is a measurement of shooting percentage and save percentage while the player is on the ice. It essentially measures how much the team scores while a certain player is on the ice, coupled with how little the other team scores while he’s on the ice.
Stepan had the best PDO amongst Rangers forwards for this season. Chris Kreider was right behind him in second place. Perhaps this might give him a little leverage in contract negotiations, if his agent, or general manager Jeff Gorton, are at all in tune with analytics.
Defensively, Klein took the top spot, which might be surprising considering the level of talent on the top unit. He looked quite good this season, his first full year in New York. Shockingly, the second place finisher is Matt Hunwick. Captain Ryan McDonagh sits in fourth place, while trade deadline acquisition Keith Yandle sits dead last, but that might be because he spent half the season with the hapless Arizona Coyotes.
Most Valuable Forward (Highest Goals for per 60 minutes minus Teammate GF60)
Winner: Rick Nash (0.91 GF60 RelTM)
This statistic is a little complex. It measures goals for while the player is on the ice per 60 minutes, minus the average of his linemates’ on-ice goals for per 60 minutes (TMGF60). This metric can tell us how valuable a player is to his team, and to his line. It can also account for players’ individual contributions as it removes the effects of linemates and teammates.
Nash wins this award, and it further proves that despite some recent playoff woes, he is an incredible asset to this team. If he can keep up this production, the Rangers should have no trouble on offense, and Nash will continue to prove himself as an elite goal scorer.
Most Valuable Defensive Forward (Lowest Goals against per 60 minus TMGA60)
Winner: Chris Kreider (-0.90 GA60 RelTM)
This is the same metric, but flipped. It measures a player’s on-ice goals against per 60 minutes minus the average goals against of his linemates. So, the lower the number, the more the player contributes defensively.
Kreider helped the most on defense individually, and therefore gets this award. We all know Kreider as a pesky forward that crashes the net a lot, but he has a solid defensive side as well.
Most Valuable Defenseman (Lowest Goals against per 60 minus relative TMGA60)
Winner: Dan Boyle (-1.11 GA60 RelTM)
Once again, we’re looking at the same metric, but this time, we’re comparing defensemen. Boyle stands above the rest with an incredible defensive metric. He prevents 1.11 more goals than the rest of his teammates, on average. The next-best defender is Marc Staal, at -0.15 GA60 RelTM. That big gap may be because he spends so much time on bottom units.
Most Valuable Offensive Defenseman (Highest Goals for per 60 minutes minus relative Teammate GF60)
Winner: Matt Hunwick (0.81 GF60 RelTM)
This one is a bit puzzling. We’re looking again at offensive production relative to teammates, but this time, from defensemen only. Hunwick was decent this season, but he did not look like the best offensive defenseman on the ice. This may be due to the effects of playing on the third defensive unit, or even as an extra. It’s also worth noting that he played the fewest number of games in this category (55).
Offensive Corsi MVP (Most Corsi for per 60 minutes)
Forward Winner: J.T. Miller (58.1 CF60)
Defenseman Winner: Matt Hunwick (59.0 CF60)
Corsi is perhaps the most common advanced hockey analytic out there. It simply measures how many shots are produced (shots on net, missed shots, and blocked shots) while the player is on the ice. This time, we’re looking at it as a “per 60 minutes” version. For forwards, J.T. Miller had the best CF60. He looked like it too. Miller was a key contributor on the bottom six, and was a huge reason why the Rangers were one of the deepest teams in the NHL throughout the season.
Once again, Hunwick surprisingly takes an offensive analytic award. His new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, have an extensive analytics department. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why they signed him.
Defensive Corsi MVP (Fewest Corsi against per 60 minutes)
Forward Winner: Mats Zuccarello (52.1 CA60)
Defenseman Winner: Matt Hunwick (51.4 CA60)
CA60 measures a player’s on-ice Corsi against per 60 minutes of ice time. Zuccarello took the top spot amongst forwards, allowing the fewest shot attempts on average. That may be one of the reasons he was so dearly missed during most of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after he went down with a devastating head injury.
As for Hunwick, well, it’s looking more and more like the Leafs got a valuable asset to aid an ailing defensive corps.
Overall Corsi Award (Highest Corsi for %, forwards and defenseman)
Winner: Matt Hunwick (53 CF%)
This stat measures a player’s on-ice Corsi for divided by the sum of his on-ice Corsi for and against. Essentially, the higher the percentage, the more shot attempts that happen while a player is on the ice come from that player’s team. This category compared all players, instead of exclusively forwards or defensemen.
I guess now it’s no shocker that Hunwick took this one too. Have fun with him, Toronto.
Another non-surprising fact is that Tanner Glass finished dead last in CF% at 43.5%.
Finally, the statistics align with true on-ice performance.