8 November 2014

NHL man-games lost and CHIP analysis - 10-game report

This is my first look for the 2014/15 regular season at which teams have been hit hardest by injury/illness by trying to place a value on the games missed by players.

The concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his 2014/15 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).

For these analyses, I'll again be cutting the season into 10-game chunks for ease of comparability.  So this analysis covers every team up to its 10th game only.

For a more regular snapshot (i.e. weekly updates beyond the 10-game interval retrospectives), follow my critically acclaimed Twitter feed (@LW3H). CHIP rankings are also again being fed into Rob Vollman's Team Luck calculator on a weekly basis.

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 (whatever Anton Strawman might claim), 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)
[Click to enlarge any image]

The figures...
The table below shows:
  • Total CHIP for each team over the first 10 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:

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

10 second analysis...
  • As usual, if you discount the large contribution to the Flyers' CHIP figure from employees of the NHL they don't appear quite so banged up. Excluding the known absence of Kimmo Timonen as well puts them more toward the middle of the pack.
  • The Blue Jackets number has already jumped even more significantly beyond the 10-game mark
  • The Sabres obviously performing remarkably well in part due to good health, players avoiding being hit by a tank etc. (Though the margin between the active roster and their bubble players/AHLers is imperceptible, I've not included injuries carrying over from pre-season to Patrick Kaleta, Matt Hackett, Jake McCabe, Johan Larsson and Mark Pysyk - see notes below)
  • One other area of subjective inclusion/exclusion is (new) rookies injured in pre-season, e.g. I've included Jonathan Drouin but excluded Sam Bennett based on expectation of staying on the roster when healthy
  • AMIP comparison is a bit volatile over the small sample size to date - still tends to give more weight to defensemen and goalies (e.g. the Wild spike due to Josh Harding, who I've included despite technically being a non-roster suspension)
The next lists are the top 30 individual CHIP and CMIP contributions:

As you'd expect, most of these players missed all or almost all of the first 10 games.

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.

Clearly very early days, but the crude rate of injuries (instances / total games played) stands at 0.99, compared to 0.80 per game last year (0.80 in 2012/13, 0.78 in 2011/12 and 0.76 in 2010/11). This figure tends to fall over time as the effect of injuries pre-dating the season starting dissipates though, so I'm sceptical that this can be taken to indicate any unusually large spate of injuries (plus small sample size etc...)

  • 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 tend to be included in the man-games lost figures (but can't guarantee TSN's figures are always consistent on this)
  • 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 also one or two slightly less "retired" players not separately identified in the bar chart above (e.g. Souray, Timonen).
  • 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, Dave Nonis, Jay Feaster, Dave Nonis, Glen Sather, Dave Nonis...
  • 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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