[Wild About Numbers]: Rolling Cumulative Average Corsi Relative For Wild Defencemen

Stoner was as shocked as we were by the pass he made on that goal - Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Today I'm gonna look at the individual cumulative average Corsi relative for the Wild's defencemen as it has progressed game-by-game this season to get an idea of their performance trends.

Just a quick refresher, Corsi Relative (usually just written as Corsi Rel) basically measures the effect an individual player has on his team's overall Corsi performance. It can be used in +/- form or as a percentage (I'm gonna use the latter). Instead of just looking at a players Corsi For% (CF%), we can use CF% Rel to see how he is performing relative to his teammates.

For example, the Edmonton Oilers are an awful puck possession team. Every single one of their regular players this season has a CF% of sub-50%. But, if you look at Ryan Smyth's CF% Rel, you can see that it is a team-leading +4.6%. This means that the Oilers have 4.6% more shot attempts with Smyth on the ice at 5v5 than with him off. It's a good stat for separating a player's numbers from the overall team performance.

(For more on Corsi Relative and general stuff about Corsi such as why it is important read this)


So, now that we've refreshed the basics, let's get into the nitty gritty about the Wild's defencemen. I should note, I have left Matthew Dumba and Jonathon Blum out of this analysis because they have played too few games and aren't likely to feature down the stretch.

-Firstly, here are the important puck possession and deployment stats for each defenceman:









Ryan Suter








Jonas Brodin








Jared Spurgeon








Marco Scandella








Clayton Stoner








Nate Prosser








Keith Ballard








-QoC Rel=Quality Of Compeition played against relative to teammates
-QoT Rel=Quality Of Teammates played with relative to teammates
-O/D St%=Ratio of offensive zone starts vs defensive zone starts

Okay, so I don't really need to go through that table. You can see which guys are doing well in terms of Corsi and you can see who had the tougher deployments/who faced soft minutes. That context is important for what is coming next.

-Here is the rolling cumulative average Corsi rel for the 7 defencemen listed above this season (right-click on the image and select "open link in new tab" to see it full size):


  • It's interesting to see how erratic the numbers were early in the season and how perfectly they are all resolving to in-and-around 50%, with every player currently within 5% either side of 50%. This is why Corsi is used in player evaluation; it is very repeatable (much more so than on-ice percentages that relate to shot quality) year-to-year in terms of a player's on-ice goal differential.
  • There's a couple of large flat lines in there from where Spurgeon missed time with injury and where Prosser was out of the team for a long time.
  • You can see that Suter started down below -20%, while Stoner started above +20%, yet they have both ended up in roughly the same place.

-Here is each player individually along with their linear trendline:


  • Suter's definitely heading in the right direction. A major knock against Suter is his poor puck possession numbers compared to other top defencemen, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes for the rest of the year.


  • Brodin is trending in the right direction after an awful first half of the season though he is nowhere near his dominance from last year.


  • Spurgeon's numbers are a bit skewed by his recent injury, but he seemed to be maintaining a steady, but excellent level before the injury.


  • Scandella's start to the year was just awful and he was scratched for 3 games. His play since has been nothing short of phenomenal. At age 24, it'll be exciting to see if he can build on this and turn into a top-4 lock for this team in the future.
  • His season has probably been helped by playing with Spurgeon but notably, he's actually managed to hold things together pretty well with Prosser too. You can see an obvious dip in his average when Spurgeon got hurt, but he has it going in the right direction again recently.


  • Stoner's been having a very good season by his standards, but his play has really declined since the start of the year. He needs to find a way to get back to his early season form because things are definitely heading in the wrong direction.


  • The sample size for Prosser is pretty small due to all the games he was scratched for, but he' has maintained a fairly flat trajectory.
  • What's notable is that his line is creeping up over the last 3-4 games, which is good. Hopefully he can keep it up and make Ballard surplus to requirements on the 3rd pairing.


  • Like Stoner, Ballard had a great start to the year, but has regressed dramatically. Unlike Stoner, he hasn't maintained some kind of respectability, he has just been awful of late.
  • Ballard was a bad signing and the Wild should be looking to trade him ASAP.


Keep an eye on those numbers over the rest of the season to see if they keep trending in the same direction. I'll be particularly curious to see how Spurgeon does after a lengthy lay-off with injury.

For more defenceman analysis, check out this post I wrote a month ago about dCorsi for the Wild's defencemen.

Follow me on Twitter for more hockey views and analysis.

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