27 January 2014

NHL man-games lost and CHIP analysis - 50-game report

This is my latest update for the 2013/14 regular season on 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 50th game. (This follows on from my mid-season analysis.)

[Click to enlarge any image]

Commercial break...
  • For a more regular snapshot, CHIP rankings are also being fed into Rob Vollman's Team Luck calculator on a weekly basis
  • I'll do my best to put out the same info via Twitter (@LW3H)
  • I will be hopefully also contributing on an irregular basis to Hockey Prospectus
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 50 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)

CHIP figures in graphical form (paler bars represent the three "retired" players on LTIR noted below):

The same for AMIP (teams in the same order as the CHIP chart for ease of comparison):

The following is a ranking of teams by CHIP over Games 42-50 only, to further illustrate some of the biggest movers since last time:

10 second analysis...
  • Pretty much a tie at the top between Pittsburgh, Carolina and Detroit now, the Red Wings clearly having it pretty rough over the last stretch to make up a lot of ground, with Darren Helm, Jonas Gustavsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Alfredsson and "Stephen Weiss" each missing at least six of the nine games covered since the mid-point.
  • Minnesota also notable movers, the fairly modest 32 man-games lost in the period unfortunately mostly coming from key contributors Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Josh Harding and Jared Spurgeon.
  • Conversely, Florida's 29 man-games in the period don't stack up to a huge amount in CHIP terms. Not until Dale Tallon goes all Cam Barker on those players anyway.
  • Ottawa finally hit some (still mild) injury adversity, Jason Spezza and Chris Neil getting knocked down by some stray tumbleweed while innocently walking through the treatment room.
The next lists are the top 30 individual CHIP and CMIP contributions:

As if to illustrate the problems with using unstable TOI figures derived for goalies, Anton Khudobin has actually shot up towards the top of the CMIP list despite now being healthy, because his average time in goal is now much higher as he plays much more while Cam Ward is hurt instead.

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.

The crude rate of injuries (instances / total games played) continues to regress back towards that in previous years, now at 0.80 per game (0.80 last year, 0.78 in 2011/12 and 0.76 in 2010/11).

Very encouraging to see the re-emergence of "body soreness" as an acceptable descriptor, with Buffalo's Mark Pysyk seemingly the latest to be afflicted.

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.

I was going to comment on the negative correlation between the Oilers' injury disclosure and on-ice success, but having reflected on the possible consequences, I thought it would be worthwhile to look up the resume of Kevin Lowe once again. There's a lot of conversation about Lowe's vices but people are ignoring a whole resume of experience and success. For more regarding Lowe's career see the provided link. http://oilers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=33071

  • 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.
  • Click HERE if you want a full team-by-team listing of games missed and CHIP/CMIP numbers by each player
  • 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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