Advanced stats and hockey are an awkward fit, no doubt about it. It's an old-school sport that doesn't like to embrace change, and isn't that accepting of new methods of evaluating players. Heck, it took, years for +/- to be embraced, and some people are only just realizing that's a flawed stat (see: Rozsival, Michal and Malik, Marek).
But, certain advanced statistics can be useful, and they paint an interesting picture of this years New York Rangers. First things first, a quick description of a couple of terms:
Corsi: The number of shots attempted by a team or player, whether they reach the net or not.
Corsi for percentage (CF%): The percentage of shots taken at the opponents net, in comparison to your own. In simpler terms, if the Rangers out-attempt a team 45-35, their Corsi percentage for the game is 56%, because 56% of the shots attempted were at the opposing goal. Same goes for an individual player. If Rick Nash is on the ice for 10 shot attempts by the Rangers, and 5 against them, his Corsi percentage is 67%, because of the 15 shot attempts he was on the ice for, 67% of them were at the opponent's net.
So why does this stuff exist? To measure possession. Is it perfect? No, but until the NHL develops a clock to time how long teams have the puck in the opponents end for, it'll have to do.
While not perfect, it does makes sense. Case in point: the top three Corsi teams this year are Chicago, San Jose, and Los Angeles, while three of the bottom four are the moribund Oilers, Flames, and Sabres. Perennially unimpressive Toronto is last.
As for where the Rangers stand? Much closer to the top than bottom. The Blueshirts grade out with a 52.9 Corsi percentage–good for 5th in the league–which echoes what has been apparent all year–the Rangers have the puck much more.
What they haven't been is lucky. The Rangers shooting percentage is just 7.2%–2nd worst in the league, better than only the Sabres. At even strength, it's even worse–just 5.9%, also 2nd worst, ahead of, you guessed it, Buffalo. Imagine where they'd be without an improved power play.
Now for another stat: PDO, which measures shooting percentage plus save percentage, and usually totals about 100. It hasn't been kind to the Blueshirts either. The Rangers PDO is just 97.9–well below the league average, and for the sake of variety, 3rd worst in the league.
An improved Henrik Lundqvist will result in a higher PDO–and more wins–but all of this statistical mumbo jumbo essentially tells us what our eyes, and 2.3 goals per game, have been saying all along–the Rangers can't put the biscuit in the basket. They have the puck enough to score, they generate enough shots to score, but there's no substitute for finishers–something the Rangers lack dearly.
Stats courtesy of extraskater
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