Should The New York Rangers Be Worried About Their Plummeting Analytics?

Whether you like it or not, analytics are here to stay in the hockey world. Teams are embracing the new information more than ever, and even the NHL itself has joined the party by implementing an informative- although untrustworthy– stats page on NHL.com. Most NHL team should have people in their organizations crunching numbers behind the scenes, and if they don’t they are just foolish.

So far this season, the advanced numbers have not been kind to the New York Rangers, leading to a question: Should the Rangers be worried about how their advanced stats have plummeted recently?

The most elementary advanced hockey stat is Corsi. Defining Corsi is pretty simple, but here is how Stats.hockeyanalysis.com describes it: 

Corsi is a shot attempt metric and includes all shots, shots that missed the net and shots that were blocked.

This stat is a good indicator of showing how a team is set up for future success; a team that has a low Corsi-For-Percentage (CF%) that is succeeding is most likely doing so because of a high shooting percentage or a goalie playing at an elite level. If you recall, Corsi was unkind to the 2013 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2013-14 Colorado Avalanche, two teams that had low CF%’s, made the playoffs, were dubbed as prime regression candidates, and then promptly went out and regressed a whole lot.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

So, for the Rangers and their 45.7% CF%, which is second-worst in the NHL, per War-On-Ice, they should be real concerned that they are having an unsustainable run thus far. As a whole the Rangers have been a bad possession team this year, but the player that sticks out the most might be Dan Girardi. Out of the 63 defenseman who have played 250 minutes this season, per War-On-Ice, Girardi ranks dead last with an abysmal 38.5 CF%. The Rangers chose to lock Girardi up long-term over Anton Stralman, who is seventh on that same list with a CF% of 54.53 %.

Surely the Rangers must be scoring a lot of goals and getting great goaltending? If only there were a stat that put those two together. Oh, that’s right, there is one, and it is called PDO.

PDO takes your team save percentage and adds it to your team shooting percentage, usually resulting in a number anywhere between 90 and, in extreme cases, the 110-range. The Rangers’ PDO this year currently sits at 107.1, four points higher than the Montreal Canadiens. This stat is another good indicator for future success because it can show what teams have, and, to an extent, have been getting bounces. The average goaltender usually has a save-percentage between .90 and .91, while the average shooting percentage of a team is between 8% and 9%.

Yesterday, a chart surfaced on Twitter of the PDO of all NHL teams.

So for those of you scoring at home, we have covered the Rangers’ CF% and PDO, two good stats at indicating a team’s future success. And for those two stats, the Rangers have been on the wrong end of both of them.

Now, the question shifts to whether the Rangers can continue to win while having these low statistics. If Henrik Lundqvist continues to have a Carey Price-esque year, then the answer to that question might very well be yes.

Nov 6, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) and defenseman Kevin Klein (8) and defenseman Marc Staal (18) celebrate the win over the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. The Rangers defeated the Avalanche 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Rangers going to continue to have a shooting percentage of 10.6? Probably not. Can their goalies continue to post a save-percentage of .965, with Lundqvist posting a .949? It might drop some, but I don’t picture Lundqvist letting off the gas anytime soon.

However, even though Lundqvist is playing on a different level right now, we have seen this script play out with an elite goaltender. Last season, Price could only carry his team so far, as the around him couldn’t get out of the second round of the playoffs. Those were the types of teams that Lundqvist himself was carrying from 2009-2014.

So yes Ranger fans, lets soak it all up and enjoy our seven-game win streak. But, this could very easily turn into a nightmare for the Rangers, given their plummeting advanced stats. I only touched on two of the major ones, and there are sure to be more out there that aren’t kind to the Rangers.

Like their coach keeps saying, they still have some areas they need to work on.