2 February 2010

The Pain Game

Injury stats update – January 2010

[Looking for more up-to-date figures? For my latest update, try HERE.]

This is my fourth look for the 2009/10 regular season at which teams have been hit hardest by injuries by trying to place a value on the games missed by players due to injury/illness.

(The corresponding analysis as at the end of December 2009 can be viewed HERE.)

The concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his 2009/10 cap charge, then take the aggregate of these figures for each team and divide by 82. This indicator of value lost to a team by injury/illness is called CHIP (Cap Hit of Injured Players).

Yes, I'm still doing the extra bit ...

Again, for a different indicator of player "value", I've also illustrated a similar metric based on TOI/G alongside the CHIP numbers.

While acknowledging cap charge is a less than perfect measure of player, with a number of limitations and inconsistencies, I'm not totally sold on TOI/G as being any better overall (Tom Poti is as valuable to the Capitals as Alex Ovechkin. Discuss.) - it does provide a decent comparison and the results do vary from the CHIP rankings somewhat.

A quick summary of the new metric:

  • TOI/G (through games played on 31 January) replaces cap charge as the measure of value in the calculation
  • For goalies, TOI/G has been worked out as Total Minutes Played / Games Dressed For - i.e. a goalie playing every minute of 75% of the games, zero in the rest, would end up with a TOI/G of 45 minutes (or close to it, once you factor in OT and so on)
  • This arguably overstates the worth of starting goalies somewhat, but it's simple and you could equally argue that a workhorse goalie is the hardest position to replace, so it's fair for them to have a much higher TOI/G figure
  • Where a player hasn't played all year (e.g. Mike Van Ryn) or where a player fairly clearly has a reduced TOI/G figure due to getting injured in their only game or one of very few games (Kurt Sauer), I've used TOI/G from last season (or further back if necessary)
  • For each player, multiply games missed by TOI/G to get (for a more palatable name) Cumulative Minutes of Injured Player (CMIP)
  • Take the aggregate of CMIP for the team and divide by games played by the team to arrive at AMIP (Average Minutes of Injured Players) - it feels more understandable expressing this metric as an average per game (whereas CHIP is a running total)
The figures...

The table below shows:

  • Total CHIP for each team for the 2009/10 regular season (through games played on 31 January)
  • The player who has contributed most to the team's CHIP figure
  • The number of players with a CHIP contribution of over $250,000 (think of it as being equivalent to a $1m player missing 20 games or a $4m player missing five games)
  • Movement in CHIP ranking since 31 December
  • AMIP for each team over the same period (e.g. an AMIP of 40:00 could be seen as the team missing two 20-minute per game players for every game this season)

10 second analysis...

The Oilers predictably keep top spot as the "conundrum of our physiological synapse" as Tom Renney would describe it continues as fast as "our f***ing brutal losing streak" as Pat Quinn would describe it. The Red Wings, however, are still doing a fine job keeping a close pace.

Teams with improved positions include Les Smurfs (pre-Cammalleri injury at least), the Islanders and the Flyers. Rumour has it there has even been a healthy DP sighting! (Note that his CHIP number has also been adjusted down somewhat - blame various boring IR/AHL conditioning stint complications...)

The Rangers continue to have a second straight season of remarkable good health - only missing an average 14 minutes per game. Not to be confused with Chris Drury's very average 14 minutes per game. The question I have posed in the past as to the reason why the Rangers have stayed healthy has almost certainly been answered by now (yes, they do play an extremely soft game).

The next lists are the top 30 individual CHIP and CMIP contributions:

The return to health of last month's top three CHIP leaders sees Monsieur Bouchard take top spot, with surely (and unfortunately) a strong chance of staying there. Kari Lehtonen now has a huge lead in the CMIP table, thanks to DiPietro actually showing up for work (and his value in minutes being adjusted accordingly), but Lehtonen is also apparently on the way back now.


And finally, an update of my crude analysis of maladies by body part. The results (again covering games played through 31 January) are in the table below. I’ve just used the descriptions found in the player profiles on tsn.ca, so the figures will encompass all the inaccuracies and vagueness within them (a special shout out to the Carolina Hurricanes, seemingly league leaders in the upper/lower body description junk). It should give a broad indication, if nothing else, though.

Pretty sure watching the Rangers that I've seen plenty more players with "heart" problems than this analysis seems to indicate...

  • Figures include (and are arguably distorted by) some players on long-term IR, such as Mike Rathje (there’s a fair argument that Rathje shouldn’t be on here, since I can’t imagine he’ll either play again or that the Flyers are missing him - and his TOI/G number from 1973/74 when he last played is clearly overstating his value a touch). They do exclude a few minor-leaguers who are or had been on the NHL club’s IR since pre-season
  • There are undoubtedly a few inaccuracies and inconsistencies in there - I did the best I could with the information out there. Some corrections are picked up month-to-month too (see DiPietro, Rick)
  • The cap figure doesn't really correlate very well to the "worth" of a player in some cases, e.g. where rookie bonuses are included this year, where players are seeing out an old (underpaid or rookie) contract or where players are horrendously overpaid
  • Also, for any player who was acquired on re-entry waivers (e.g. Sean Avery, Randy Jones), the cap hit will only reflect that for their current team, i.e. 50% of the player’s full cap hit (shared between his current and old teams)
  • I've once again stuck a full team-by-team listing of games missed and CHIP/CMIP numbers by each player on the web HERE
  • Injury/games/TOI info courtesy of tsn.ca and nhl.com - man-games lost info more than likely does not exactly match up with the "official" figures released by individual teams
  • Cap info courtesy of hockeybuzz.com and capgeek.com

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