18 April 2014

NHL man-games lost and CHIP analysis - end of season wrap

This is my final 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.

[More stuff is in a pipeline of currently indeterminate length, e.g. game-by-game breakdowns for each team, summary analysis of six years' worth of data. Can't promise when.)

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).

[Click to enlarge any image]

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  • CHIP rankings are also fed into Rob Vollman's Team Luck calculator
  • My weekly updates on Twitter (@LW3H) are clearly now on hiatus, but you will find a large volume of other highly acclaimed content spewing out there regardless (lie)
  • Some of the extra stuff might also be used by those nice people at 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 (playoff teams highlighted in yellow) shows:
  • Total CHIP for each team over 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):

As a slight Vollman-suggested modification, the same figures but only allowing for cap hit above league minimum salary (so Cap Hit Above Replacement of Injured Players?):

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 71-82 only, to further illustrate some of the biggest movers since last time:

10 second analysis...
  • While there are several persuasive arguments as to why the figures are somewhat overstated in value terms for both the Red Wings (Weiss contract, marginal contributions when healthy of Cleary and Samuelsson) and Penguins (known absence of Vokoun, 150+ games missed by D'Agostini, Kobasew, Glass, Ebbett, Megna, Conner, Vitale, Gibbons, Pyatt), still a clear separation from the pack.
  • As expected, the Red Wings eventually sailed past the high CHIP watermark over all seasons since 2008/09 of $16.9m belonging to the 2011/12 Canadiens.
  • Common with every year, plenty of injured teams made the playoffs, a good few healthy teams did not.
  • Thanks to the Senators starting to get injured in a late season attempt to recreate the magic of a year ago, the Flyers actually fairly clearly became the healthiest team over the season once you discount the effect of "Chris" "Pronger" who is definitely "not" a "scout" now, OK?
  • Not shown in the key, but the invisible column extending beyond the $50m mark next to Toronto is, of course, the intangible Bolland bar.
Winners of positional crowns:
Goaltenders: Predators [Pekka Rinne missing 51 games but still a creditable second in team scoring]
Defensemen: Ducks [let's hope Sheldon Souray again stayed the hell away from the Oilers' prospects]
Forwards: Red Wings [played 20-games with only Gustav Nyquist and two Gatorade bottles up front]

And the paper hats:
Goaltenders: Bruins/Sharks [sharing this award means it actually deserves to go to Jaromir Jagr]
Defensemen: Maple Leafs [good health the foundation for a famously stifling defensive game all year]
Forwards: Kings [second year in a row - dare them to re-sign Marian Gaborik and go for a third]

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

Players under contract who missed all 82 games:
Souray (Anaheim)
Savard (Boston) [third full season out]
Pitkanen (Carolina)
Pronger (Philadelphia) [second full season out]
Vokoun (Pittsburgh)
Ohlund (Tampa Bay) [third full season out]
Lee (Tampa Bay)

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.

30% of all injuries were basically not disclosed, which is a notch higher than the last couple of years. However, things should improve should all coaches follow Joel Quenneville's admirable playoff efforts to identify and disclose groin injuries from the bench.

The crude rate of injuries (instances / total games played) ended up at 0.80 per game (compared to 0.80 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.

The bottom four teams here fairly typical based on recent years. I note the Oilers did actually achieve 100% disclosure again based on their website injury report, but there are two types of websites and I care much more about TSN's.

  • 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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