6 April 2013

The Pain Game 2013 - Third Quarter Report

Injury stats update – Q3 analysis

This is my third 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 Q2 analysis, here is the Q2 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 36-game 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 36 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 25-36 only, to further illustrate some of the biggest movers since last time:

10 second analysis...
The Senators still without Spezza, Karlsson, Michalek, Anderson, Cowen, Yashin, Bonk, Daigle, Rhodes, Boschman and Sidorkiewicz, among others, so are unsurprisingly still heading the pack in CHIP terms, despite having fewer man-games missed than three other teams.

Despite almost keeping pace with the Senators' injuries and winning the fewest number of games in the whole league, the Panthers impressively still lead the ultra-competitive, high-quality Southeast Divison by 23 points.  The rival Hurricanes lead the league in men lost, having (I think) re-re-re-acquired Zach Boychuk.

The Penguins' expensive-looking outlier in this quarter was mostly due to Evgeni Malkin. The Flames practically had an injury-free quarter, aside from the continued absence of low-cost Paul Byron, plus Jay Feaster's frontal lobotomy.

The next lists are the top 30 individual CHIP and CMIP contributions:
Tuomo Ruutu in the unenviable position of being between Chris Pronger and Ryan Kesler, so past history tells us he might soon be out again with a skate blade laceration.

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.

Man-games lost in Q3 total 1,178 compared to 1,126 in Q2 and 816 in Q1.  I remain unconvinced that injuries are occurring at a significantly higher rate than previous years - a crude indication, but the rate of injuries (instances / total games played) sits at 0.81 per game compared to 0.78 per game last year (0.76 per game in 2010/11).

Man-games lost per game so far this year are 5.8, down from 6.8 last year and 6.6 in 2010/11.  (All figures clearly distorted somewhat by long-term injuries existing before seasons begin.  And the rapid advances in the league's cutting edge treatment of concussions, of course...)

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.

Four previous possessors of zeros here have clammed up to some degree, leaving the Oilers to fly the flag of transparency alone. Unless Steve Tambellini is just missing a trick here?  Nah...

  • 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 at the start of the season...) 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 - Jussi Jokinen and Jason Pominville appear to be the test cases once one of them gets injured..
  • 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