Underlying Numbers



*** Just thought I would do an update on this post since long time Lowetide blogger Woodguy has done a little digging into the Oilers underlying numbers now that they are facing tougher WC opponents. As I mention below, I expected they Oilers “possession” numbers would start to take a hit and, despite last night’s win, that’s exactly what is happening over the past 5 games.


Here’s something for all the shot quality and minutia ponderers to ponder:

Last 5 games for the Oilers.

5/10 points (.500)

5v5 stats:

47.44% Fenwick

SV% .932

SH% 6.80

100.31 PDO



GCW_69: So you are saying they have been riding an unsustainable save percentage?Fenwick has been slipping?

Somewhat yes.

So, we now see, over a 5 game stretch that the Oilers are riding an unsustainable save percentage, their PDO is “normal” but their record in those 5 games is 1-1-3.

I expect after the Oilers next 3 games against the Sharks, Ducks and Ducks,  their Fenwick/Corsi will have slipped even further and likely only a continuance of their above average goaltending will bail them out.


The advanced stats crowd who follow the Edmonton Oilers have been crowing about how “improved” the team is based on, essentially, a Corsi rating of 50.53.

Corsi is basically a measure than includes all shot attempts (on goal, blocked and missed shots) compared to how the opposition does in the same activities.

Currently, the Oilers’ Corsi is 50.53%, meaning, on average, the Oilers are playing just a tad over even with the opposition. (in attempted shots on goals.)

* All numbers from War On Ice*

The next “logical” step (not really) is that the Oilers are due to rebound in the W/L column based on them possessing the puck a little more than their opposition.

I’ve had an ongoing conversation with Jonathan Winters  Willis on Twitter since he is convinced the Oilers average Corsi will result in them winning half of their December games.

Since the Oilers are in the same Corsi territory as Pittsburgh (50.75%) and Anaheim (50.62%) I guess Willis is expecting the Oilers to come storming back from the deep hole they’ve dug and become a team that can compete with the 18-6-2 Penguins and the 18-6-5 Ducks.

But, the things is, they won’t.

What Willis and his Corsi brethren have done is reach a conclusion based on a faulty major premise…that being…that attempting shots on goal will always, over time, result in results.

There is no accounting for shot quality, shot distance, the shooter’s ability, coaching tactics (like an emphasis on shot blocking by some coaches or a dump and chase style of play).

While Corsi tells you something…it isn’t much and basing a conclusion that a team is “improved” on such a shaky foundation is a ridiculous notion.

And, then we have another odd notion that, because the Oilers PDO is a league low 96.78 percent that they are “due” for a bounce back. The issue with PDO is that it is again based on a faulty major premise…that being that, over time, the sum of all teams save percentage and shooting percentage will add up to 100.

Of course, that assumes all teams have equal talent whether in net or on defence or at forward. The problem is…they don’t and never will. While I agree there is a tendency of both to trend “toward” the mean, shitty goaltending and unproductive forwards can keep you in PDO hell in perpetuity.

In other words…the numbers don’t drive results…the results drive the numbers.

Would you be surprised if I told you that the Buffalo Sabres have a PDO of 100.1 this season. Lucky bastards.

And, finally, in my ongoing conversation with Wills, I have pointed out that rather than the Corsi share contributing to better results as the Oilers now move into a schedule heavy with WC opponents and lots of away games, it’s much more likely the Corsi results will go down…but he’s having none of it.

The Oilers have already lost their first 2 games of December and now face 2 games against the Sharks and 2 against the Ducks.

Which would you wager is most likely to happen? will the Corsi numbers take a hit or will the 50.53% Corsi result in 2 wins out of the 4?

I’d bet the under.



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