We've had a brief but colorful history with Corsis, the recently invented hockey statistic that measures shot attempts. A Corsi is a shot attempt -- on net, missed, or blocked. If you're on the ice for a goal, a miss wide, and a shot attempt that's blocked, that's a Corsi For of +3 because that's 3 shot attempts. Conversely, if you're on the ice for 3 attempted shots against but no shots for, your Corsi is -3.
From a team perspective, Corsi is an affirmation of common sense (having the puck = good; not having the puck = bad). From an individual perspective, even if you fall squarely in the camp (like we do) that it's a flawed individual statistic because throwing pucks indiscriminately at the net is not always a positive thing, the Corsis can at least be a measure of activity -- that is, when you are on the ice, is good stuff happening (shots for), is bad stuff happening (shots against), or are you just floating around killing time?
|"I'll take 'floating around killing time' for $100, Alex"|
I've gotten kind of bored complaining about him solely based on what I've watched, so I decided to go somewhere I hadn't gone before -- the Corsis -- to see if it supports what we're seeing (or not seeing) on a nightly basis from Sutter. And boy, does it ever. (All numbers from ExtraSkater.com, so if they're wrong, I don't know what to tell you). Let's dive in.
Brandon Sutter was horrible at the 5-on-5 Corsis last year
One key measure of Corsis is to compare how many Good Corsis happen when you're on the ice versus how many Bad Corsis happen. This is measured by "Corsi For %." What this means is that if you make 4 Good Corsis, but let up 6 Bad Corsis, your CF% is 40% (because 40% of all the Corsis that happen when you are on the ice are Good Corsis).
Per Extraskater.com, out of 179 players listed at Center who played in 24 or more of the 48 games last season, Brandon Sutter was 163rd in Corsi For % at 5-on-5. If this were the SATs, he'd be in the 9th percentile. His CF% was 42.4%, which means that if Brandon Sutter was on the ice for an entire game during which a combined total of 50 shots were attempted, Brandon Sutter's team would attempt 21 shots and the opponents team would attempt 29 shots. We're basically at the point where when Sutter gets a shot on goal, we cheer him on like a proud father whose son made his first bowel movement in the toilet: "Yayyyy, you made a Corsi!!!"
Sutter slotted in just behind All-Stars like Max Talbot, Jay Beagle, Mark Letestu, James Wright, and David Steckel. (In Sutter's defense, he did beat out legends like Joe Vitale, Zac Rinaldo, Zenon Konopka, and the immortal Jay McClement, who, in the Hypothetical Corsi Game described above, would get out Corsi'd by a margin of roughly 32-18).
For comparison's stake, and presented without comment, Jordan Staal is 37th on the same list, with a CF% of 53.6% (meaning he wins the Hypothetical Corsi Game 27-23).
Much more after the jump...
Brandon Sutter was a huge drag on the Pens' Corsis last season
A stat called "CF% rel." measures is how well a particular player is doing at Corsis compared to how the team does when he isn't on the ice. When skating 5-on-5, Brandon Sutter was 25th out of 27 Penguins at Corsis, ahead of only Brendan Morrow and Joe Vitale.
Of the same 179 centers mentioned above, Brandon Sutter was ranked 171st at 5-on-5 Corsis relative to his team (the 4th percentile on the SATs). This means that there were only 8 centers in the entire league who were bigger drags on their team's Corsis than Sutter. Let's list them for fun:
When we talk about how we're worried about the Pens' bottom 6, this is what we're talking about. With Crosby and/or Malkin on the ice at 5-on-5, the Pens were around a 56% Corsi team, meaning that they win the Hypothetical Corsi Game 28-22. When Sutter (and/or Vitale) is on the ice, the Pens lose the Hypothetical Corsi Game 29-21. That's an enormous drop off.
But he's good at faceoffs!
Last year he won 50% of his faceoffs ... and still got crushed in the Corsis.
This year he's winning 58% of his faceoffs .. and is still getting crushed in Corsis. His current Corsi For % at 5-on-5 through 6 games is 43.3%, meaning he loses the Hypothetical Corsi Game 28-22. This is remarkable because it means that Brandon Sutter wins the faceoff, then promptly loses the puck and does nothing for the next 45 seconds.
But he had an assist in each of the first three games! Isn't he playing better this year?
No. He's arguably worse, at least when it comes to the Corsis. He's currently tied with Tanner Glass for worst Corsi % at 5-on-5, and he's the biggest drag on the team's overall Corsi through 6 games (an even bigger drag than he was last year).
If you look at Fenwick, which is the same as Corsis but does not count blocked shots, Sutter is the worst on the team so far, and by a big margin.
But he plays against tougher competition. He's our "shut down center!"
Not really. There's another advanced stat that measures the quality of your opponents, and weights it by how much time you spend on the ice against particular players. The math behind it is uninteresting, but the results are easy to understand: Sutter's quality of competition was middle of the pack for the Pens (ranked 10th out of 19 players who played 24+ games last season).
Fine. But it's because he has bad linemates. They must suck at the Corsis, too.
Not really, but if they did, it was probably because they were skating with Sutter, and not vice versa. There's a stat that may or may not be meaningful but, like quality of competition, it shows that Sutter was in the middle of the pack on the Pens with respect to quality of linemates.
According to the numbers, his most frequent linemates were Cooke, Kennedy, and Dupuis. All of them had better Corsis than Sutter, which means they did better at the Corsis when they were NOT on the ice with Sutter. Cooke's overall Corsis were pretty bad, but it is interesting to point out that he's off to a hot Corsi start this season in Minnesota. Kennedy's Corsis were much higher than Sutter's and he was actually a positive influence on the team's average Corsi (albeit by a small amount). This means that when Kennedy was on the ice without Sutter, he was the Corsi-monster. He's also off to a red-hot Corsi start in San Jose.
|"All the Corsis are just, like, so much more laid back on the west coast."|
The bottom line is this: if the advanced stats are telling you that you aren't good, and the people who make fun of the advanced stats are telling you that you aren't good, you probably aren't good.