15 December 2013

NHL man-games lost and CHIP analysis - 30-game report

This is my third look for the 2013/14 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 concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his 2013/14 cap charge (including bonuses), 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).

This analysis covers every team up to its 30th game. (Amazingly, this follows on from my 20-game analysis.)

For a more regular snapshot, CHIP rankings are also being fed into Rob Vollman's Team Luck calculator on a weekly basis and if I find time after figuring out how to best to incorporate a reference to Derick Brassard's injured posterior in the next update, I'll do my best to put out the same info via Twitter (@LW3H).

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 30 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) - for non-interesting reasons, average TOI figures aren't quite measured at the 30-game point this time around for a few teams, but of no great significance to the analysis

The following is a ranking of teams by CHIP over Games 21-30 only, to further illustrate some of the biggest movers since last time:

10 second analysis...
  • Columbus (Horton, Gaborik, Dubinsky) and Tampa Bay (Stamkos and a bunch of not-Stamkoses) the most notable risers
  • Ottawa's only significant losses remain on the scoreboard and in Eugene Melnyk's bank balance
  • With only one game missed among the group, the health of the Rangers defense clearly benefitting from the shift away from the maniac Tortorella's shot-block-at-all-costs philosophy, with only Vancouver's blueline being healthier, clearly benefitting from the shift towards the maniac Tortorella's shot-block-at-all-costs philosophy (Staal and Edler injuries after Game 30 not yet showing up here)
  • As you would expect, the lack of injuries in Buffalo over the 10-game period has contributed to the team's dramatic turnaround to elite status
  • As you would expect, the lack of goaltender injuries in Calgary over the whole season has contributed to the team's stellar save percentage

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

As the video shows, Tim Gleason's absences have been of precisely the same value as Evgeni Nabokov's in terms of TOI, with the obvious flaw being that Gleason's save percentage is much, much better than Nabokov's.

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.

Again, as more players have come back from injuries pre-dating the season starting, the crude rate of injuries (instances / total games played) has drifted down further from 0.91 (10 games) to 0.86 (20 games) to 0.83, compared to 0.80 per game last year (0.78 in 2011/12 and 0.76 in 2010/11).

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) should also be included.

A couple of rare lapses of disclosure in Carolina.  Interestingly, the Flames have a regular injury update page on their official website, though it still doesn't preclude them from having one or two UBI/LBI cases, nor from Brian Burke firing the page so he can announce the injuries himself in a regular press conference (but not during his annual Christmas injury freeze).

  • Figures exclude a few minor-leaguers / marginal NHLers (usually an arbitrary judgement on my part) 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)
  • For the avoidance of doubt, suspensions and absences due to "personal reasons" are not included in the figures.  However, as per previous seasons, any "retired" player still under contract (Savard, Pronger, Ohlund) is still included.
  • There are undoubtedly a few inaccuracies and inconsistencies in there - I do the best I can with the information out there. Corrections might well be picked up in subsequent updates
  • The cap figure obviously doesn't really correlate very well to the "worth" of a player in some cases, e.g. where players are seeing out an old (underpaid or rookie) contract or where players are horrendously overpaid and/or were signed by Paul Holmgren
  • Also, for any player traded where cap hit is retained by his old team, the cap hit used will only reflect that for his current team.
  • 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

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