Measuring Quality of Competition

A couple of weeks ago now, Hockey-Graphs took an interesting look at measuring competition. Using only competition corsi as a barometer for competition faced has been something that hasn't sat right with me as hockey analytics grows, and I know we can do better.

For the sake of this blog, we are going to take a quick look at the average 5v5 points scored by the top ten most faced forwards of Rangers d-men this season. 

Another gorilla math blog, for sure, but those are my specialty. For example, here is how the math on McDonagh's top ten competition looks:

Goals, assists, and points are all weighted by the TOI faced in this sample size of ten most faced players at 5v5

Goals, assists, and points are all weighted by the TOI faced in this sample size of ten most faced players at 5v5

McDonagh's numbers reveal that on average, he faced forwards who recorded 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points. At face value, 35 5v5 points doesn't sound too high. Keep in mind, however, that only 45 skaters this season recorded more than 35 points during 5v5 play. Also keep in mind that this is the average opponent faced by McDonagh this season (well, in his top-10 which we are using as a proxy for his competition). 

Here's how the Rangers main 7 d-men shape up:

There is a very clear distinction here between the Rangers top-4 dmen and the three rotating in their bottom 2. Certainly no surprise that Boyle and McIlrath are being sheltered, but surely Keith Yandle could handle tougher competition than he has seen. 

A truly massive gap, no doubt, but not surprising considering the way AV usually deploys his defense.