15 March 2013

The Pain Game 2013 - Second Quarter Report

Injury stats update – Q2 analysis

This is my second look for the 2012/13 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.  (If you want to see the Q1 analysis, here is the Q1 analysis.)

The concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his (annual) 2012/13 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).

Note that for reasons of comparability, players' cap hits being published as full-season equivalents and above all, laziness, I have made no attempt to adjust the calculations to account for the 48-game season.

Rather than measuring the figures at month ends, as I have done in previous seasons, I'll be cutting the shortened season into 12-game chunks.  So this analysis covers every team up to the 24-game halfway point.

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 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 shows:
  • Total CHIP for each team over the first 24 games of the regular season, as well as the distribution of CHIP by position
  • 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) 

The following is a ranking of teams by CHIP over Games 13-24 only, to further illustrate some of the biggest movers since last time:

10 second analysis...
The mostly Spezza/Karlsson-sized holes in the Senators line-up contribute to their big jump to the head of the table.  Carolina (Ruutu, Pitkanen and a few others) among the other upwardly mobile teams and likely to stay there if Cam Ward continues to be vastly overpaid on the shelf.

Notably healthy quarters were had by the exposure-starved Penguins - although half of the games missed were by Evgeni Malkin - and the Bruins, who only had one man-game missed if you take out Marc Savard (just a figure of speech, not an instruction, if you're reading, Matt Cooke).  The Islanders also in the rare position of being at the bottom of the standings, though some of their most highly-paid players may well be racking up CHIP numbers in the KHL, AHL or GOPHL, which I am not currently tracking.

The next lists are the top 30 individual CHIP and CMIP contributions:
Bold prediction: Mattias Ohlund and Michael Sauer will end up with identical CMIP figures at the end of the season.

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.

Groins appear to be getting better, which is good news for groins.  134 new instances of injury in Q2 compared to 161 in Q1, although Q1 obviously includes all instances that pre-dated the start of the season too.  Man-games lost in Q2 total 1,126 compared to 816 in Q1.  So mild groin strains are presumably being replaced by more debilitating injuries, coinciding strangely with the end of Raffi Torres' suspension.

Finally, a 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 "None of your business" (i.e. Rick Nash concussion) should also be included.

Phoenix, Nashville and Carolina are regular inhabitants of the upper reaches of this table.  Insert theory about lack of journalistic interest in southern US teams here.

  • Figures exclude a few minor-leaguers / marginal NHLers (usually an arbitrary judgement on my part - you tell me whether Matt Taormina is/was still an NHLer...) who 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.  Minor-league conditioning stints immediately after/during a period on IR might be included in the man-games lost figures (but can't guarantee I get it right every time)
  • 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 obviously 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 (RIP), 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 guess I'll take a similar approach to a player traded where cap hit is retained by his old team, but presumably this will never happen until Brian Burke gets back in the league anyway.
  • 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


  1. Interesting stuff, thanks for all the work you put into that. The correlation between injuries and being crap in the standings becomes pretty obvious, at least at the top end of your CHIP standings.

  2. Thanks for making this list! As a Sens fan I keep reading articles that mention how many games they've lost to injury, and I was curious where they compared to the rest of the league.