23 April 2011

The Pain Game 2010/11 - end of season wrap

Injury stats update – end of season awards

This is the final update for the 2010/11 regular season looking 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.  (Last month's analysis is HERE.)

The concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his 2010/11 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).

Again, for a different indicator of player "value", I've also illustrated a similar metric based on TOI/G alongside the CHIP numbers.  Clearly, neither cap charge nor TOI/G are perfect measures of player value, since each have a number of limitations and inconsistencies, but they provide a decent comparison and the results do vary somewhat.

A quick summary of the alternative metric:
  • TOI/G 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).  [*Actually, "Games Played by Team - Games Missed by Goalie" - I'm not inclined to disentangle any three-goalie systems or minor-league conditioning stints.]
  • 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 (several examples at this point of the season) 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, 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 (playoff teams highlighted in yellow) shows:
  • Total CHIP for each team over the 2010/11 regular season
  • 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)
  • 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)

For a further breakdown, the following table also shows the distribution of CHIP by position for each team:

10 second analysis...
After a late surge that surely nobody could have seen coming, given the scandalous lack of media coverage, the Penguins clinch the title of Most Benign Videos of a Player Appearing at Practice Released to the Public Most Injured Team in the NHL 2010/11.

The plucky Rangers saw their chance of an unprecedented worst-to-first run dashed by Ryan Callahan's inability to break himself on a Zdeno Chara slapshot quite early enough in the season and Glen Sather's unfathomable decision not to tack another million per year on Derek Boogaard's bargain contract.

At the other end of the table, Carolina's rather massive separation from the field only made my amusement at their Game 82 wipeout increase, when their colour analyst (colour: orange) Tripp Tracy decided to claim injuries were a major factor in the team's failure to make the playoffs within two minutes of the game ending.

Despite the cluster of non-playoff teams towards the top of the CHIP table, I'm still not that convinced there is much of a correlation with performance overall - of those teams, only really the Devils' failure could be argued as being much of a surprise.

Not sure how the injured Penguins forwards have been rated as having more value than the long Drury/Boogaard absences for the Rangers, but then I never claimed the system was perfect.  And where would the Senators, Leafs, Wild and Islanders have been without the costly injuries to Leclaire, Giguere, Harding and a bunch of minor league goalies respectively?

Now I have three years' worth of the data (2008/09 analysis and 2009/10 analysis), I will consider doing a post with some sort of wider annual comparisons.  For now, worth noting that the league-wide aggregate CHIP figure of around $234m is higher than each of the last two years - though increases in average contract size may well play a part in this.

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

Andrei Markov follows up a strong 13th place finish in 2009/10 to just hold off Captain Clutch for the individual CHIP title.  Surely cause for celebration in Montreal.  Stay away from parked cars, Andrei.

Mark Streit's season-long presence in the press box would have been a crushing blow for the Islanders.  Had he not had his credentials revoked by the team in November, of course.

Players who missed all 82 games: Sauer (Phoenix), Mueller (Colorado), Harding (Minnesota), Sheppard (Minnesota), Salvador (New Jersey), Streit (NY Islanders), Laperriere (Philadelphia), Bitz (Florida).

Where does it hurt?
This is another update of the crude injury-by-location analysis. Again, 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. It should give a broad indication, if nothing else, though.

And as an extra, further final bonus, a final look at the Evasiveness Index.  This is basically the proportion of injury instances for each team that have been described as either "Undisclosed" or the helpfully pointless "Upper/Lower Body" in the same TSN profiles.  I have made no judgement about whether the many instances of "Illness" (i.e. concussion), "Flu" (i.e. concussion) or even "Boogaard Shoulder" (i.e. concussion) should also be included.

Carolina uncharacteristically blew their chance of victory here by deciding to disclose a couple of injuries down the stretch.  Greg Sherman clearly has a lot to learn, or too much time on his hands, managing to disclose each one of 46 different injuries to 29 different players.  Not including Peter Forsberg.

  • Figures exclude a few minor-leaguers / marginal NHLers who are or had been on the NHL club’s IR since pre-season. Generally, if a minor-leaguer gets called up and then injured in an NHL game, his games missed will then count towards the CHIP though.  I've tried to exclude minor-league conditioning stints immediately after/during a period on IR from the man-games lost figures
  • There are undoubtedly a few inaccuracies and inconsistencies in there - I do the best I can with the information out there. Some corrections are picked up month-to-month too
  • 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), 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 capgeek.com