4 Player Comparison

In hockey today it's very difficult to compare players. Who is better Sakic or Thornton? Pronger or Niedermeyer. Is Briere better than Drury? A lot of factors go into this. Since players play in different divisions, conferences, and opponents it is difficult to really gauge who's having a better season. When you start factoring that some players play on the powerplay a lot more than others, and some play short handed more than others. This makes some traditional statistics very questionable as a measure of performance. While there is some value to statistics like Points per game, and points in general, it doesn't tell the whole story.

Well I think a better (albeit not perfect) measurement of a person's offensive production would be a stat I am calling offensive efficiency. IT is basically points per game, but broken down into how well you score in like situations. For example a guy who scores 35 goals, with 30 on the powerplay isn't as valuable as someone who scores 35 goals with only 5 on the powerplay. while that's a bit extreme I think the point is, a better comparison of players is how well each one scores ES goals as compared to PP goals. So I have some stats that are Points/20min. this is points per 20 minutes of ice time, and is a measure of how each player scores at even strength.

The reason for using Even Strength. So I have taken the total even strength ice time for these players for the entire season and divided it by 20 minutes, mainly so we're working with approximately 1 games worth of ice time. Then I used their even strength points, goals and assists to basically see who is a more efficient scorer.
Player A B C D
ES-Ice Time (Season) 994:31 866:45 1009:38 1004:50
ES-Points 30 27 45 46
ES-Goals 11 18 17 17
ES-Assists 19 9 27 30
ES-Points/20min 0.603 0.623 0.891 0.916
ES-Goals/20min 0.221 0.415 0.337 0.338
ES-Assists/20min 0.382 0.208 0.535 0.597

We can see from this that Player B is a better goal scorer than the other 3 players, however his assists efficiency is dreadful compared to the other 3. In the End Player D seems to be more efficient at even strength scoring than the other three players. He barely edges Player C in every category, and is securely more efficient than both Player A and B. He is tops in both assists and points, and second in goals/20min. The difference however is pretty close, so we can look at their power points to see if maybe one gets separated from the pack there.

Player A B C D
PP-Ice Time (season) 333:08 97:43 448:44 299:12
PP-Pts 29 6 40 31
PP-Goals 7 4 16 11
PP-Assists 22 2 24 20
PP-Pts/20min 1.74 1.23 1.78 2.07
PPGoals/20min 0.42 0.817 0.713 0.735
PP-Assists/20min 1.32 0.409 1.07 1.34

Well after looking at these numbers it looks like Player D is a more efficient on the Power Play as well. While Player B is still a better goal scorer (.817 goals/20min) and his power play assist efficiency is awful. On the powerplay it seems as if Player D is again a more efficient scorer.

So it looks as if Player D is a little bit better offensively than the other three players. Now it's time to compare their defensive abilities. ± is a terrible statistic because it is too dependant on a teams overall ability, not an individuals. The best way I can think of to measure is through objective coaches judgment, which can be measured in PK ice time per game.

Player A B C D
SH ice time 2:05 3:02 :27 2:16
From this I would take that Player B is a superior defensive player, but both A & D are at least solid. I would guess that player C is not very good at all defensively. B is a much better defensive player and easily outperforms the other three in SH scoring, so much so that it's not even worth looking at the points. B has better SH Offensive efficiency by a long shot.

So in conclusion based on these statistics I would rate the players seasons overall as D, B, C, A. B and C are pretty close for me but I think D stands out as the best player from this group.

Who are the players

A-Anze Kopitar
B-Jordan Staal
C-Evgeny Malkin
D- Paul Stastny.

Hmm who should win the Calder? Paul Stastny!


  1. Nice post. Just proves that I was right all along with my opinion about Paul deserving the Calder more than the media-hyped players. It also shows that lots of the sports writers who were postulating that Staal was having a better year overall than Malkin may have been on to something.

    Of course, this post also proves that you have too much time on your hands!

    For more statistical fun, you should link to the Forechecker.

  2. Great stuff - I like the way you use "A, B, C, D..." and then pull the curtain away at the end. It helps the reader focus on the analysis, not the slights inferred by seeing their favorite player not at the top of the list.

  3. Very creative, and I especially liked the final conclusion. Since one of my comments to your blog led the Islanders to create a "blog box", I'm hoping this comment convinces the voters to give Paul Stastny the Calder Trophy.

    Hear that, voters? Son Of Stastny is the best.