7 March 2015

NHL man-games lost and CHIP analysis - 60-game report

This is my fifth look for the 2014/15 regular season at which teams have been hit hardest by injury/illness by trying to place a value on the games missed by players.

The concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his 2014/15 cap charge (including bonuses), then take the aggregate of these figures for each team and divide by 82. This indicator of value lost to a team by injury/illness is called CHIP (Cap Hit of Injured Players).

This analysis covers every team up to its 60th game only. (Following on from the 50-game analysis.)

For a more regular snapshot (i.e. weekly updates beyond the 10-game interval retrospectives), follow my critically acclaimed Twitter feed (@LW3H). CHIP rankings are also again being fed into Rob Vollman's Team Luck calculator on a weekly basis.

To accompany what goes here and there, a new member to the injury analysis family, if only the Jared Staal at this point, is at NHL Injury Dataviz. There can be found clicky stuff and bright colours, of the kind that keeps a growing Zac Rinaldo occupied during his 55 minutes on the bench and/or press box seat.

Again, for a different indicator of player "value", I've also illustrated a similar metric based on TOI/G alongside the CHIP numbers.  Clearly, neither cap charge nor TOI/G are perfect measures of player value (whatever Anton Strawman might claim), since each have a number of limitations and inconsistencies, but they provide a decent comparison and the results do vary somewhat.

A quick summary of the alternative metric:
  • TOI/G replaces cap charge as the measure of value in the calculation
  • For goalies, TOI/G has been worked out as Total Minutes Played / Games Dressed For* - i.e. a goalie playing every minute of 75% of the games, zero in the rest, would end up with a TOI/G of 45 minutes (or close to it, once you factor in OT and so on).  [*Actually, "Games Played by Team - Games Missed by Goalie" - I'm not inclined to disentangle any three-goalie systems or minor-league conditioning stints.]
  • This arguably overstates the worth of starting goalies somewhat, but it's simple and you could equally argue that a workhorse goalie is the hardest position to replace, so it's fair for them to have a much higher TOI/G figure
  • Where a player hasn't played all year or where a player fairly clearly has a reduced TOI/G figure due to getting injured in their only game or one of very few games, I've used TOI/G from last season (or further back if necessary)
  • For each player, multiply games missed by TOI/G to get (for a more palatable name) Cumulative Minutes of Injured Player (CMIP)
  • Take the aggregate of CMIP for the team and divide by games played by the team to arrive at AMIP (Average Minutes of Injured Players) - it feels more understandable expressing this metric as an average per game (whereas CHIP is a running total)
[Click to enlarge any image]

The figures...
The table below shows:
  • Total CHIP for each team over the first 60 games of the regular season, as well as the distribution of CHIP by position
  • The player who has contributed most to the team's CHIP figure
  • The number of players with a CHIP contribution of over $250,000 (think of it as being equivalent to a $1m player missing 20 games or a $4m player missing five games)
  • AMIP for each team over the same period (e.g. an AMIP of 40:00 could be seen as the team missing two 20-minute per game players for every game this season)

CHIP figures in graphical form:

The same for AMIP (teams in the same order as the CHIP chart for ease of comparison):

Heat map representation of per-game CHIP, with "healthy" games (no players out) also highlighted ("retired" players under contract excluded on this chart):

The following is a ranking of teams by CHIP over Games 51-60 only, to further illustrate some of the biggest movers over the past 10 games:

10 second analysis...
  • After dipping below 60 man-games lost in the previous 10-game stretch, the Blue Jackets have decided to put their foot on the gas again (the gas subsequently catching fire and torching the whole franchise, only David Clarkson's contract surviving the fireball)
  • The Canadiens finally feeling a little injury pain (if still not much) has led them to pass the Kings in the CHIP standings, although the relatively cheap contracts for Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson and Alec Martinez somewhat understate their value (as the respective AMIP values for the two teams suggests)
  • The Hurricanes following up an impressive 11 straight games with a full line-up with only Ryan Murphy being out (plus a single game for impending trade anchor, Tim Gleason) has predictably seen them focus intently on the playoffs (those in which the Erie Otters will be taking part)
  • A few big outliers at either end, but the CHIP ranking otherwise is pretty bunched still, so you could throw a blanket or an unwanted Oilers jersey over pretty much half the league
The next lists are the top 30 individual CHIP and CMIP contributions:

The upper end of these lists also double as the Maple Leafs' trade targets for the next 5-10 years and/or the Sabres goaltending candidates for the rest of the season.

Where does it hurt?
This is another update of the crude injury-by-location analysis. Again, I’ve just used the descriptions found in the player profiles on tsn.ca, so the figures will encompass all the inaccuracies and vagueness within them. It should give a broad indication, if nothing else, though.

Nathan Horton's injury still listed as "back" despite rumours of also suffering from breathing difficulties caused by repeated and vigorous hugging by Dave Nonis.

The crude rate of injuries (instances / total games played) now stands at 0.80. This compares to 0.80 per game last year (0.80 in 2012/13, 0.78 in 2011/12 and 0.76 in 2010/11), so as I seem to say every year, no real evidence to suggest there have been more injuries than normal, despite common perception.

Finally, another look at the Evasiveness Index.  This is basically the proportion of injury instances for each team that have been described as either "Undisclosed" or the helpfully pointless "Upper/Lower Body" in the same TSN profiles.  I have made no judgement about whether the many instances of "Illness" (i.e. concussion) or "Flu" (i.e. concussion) other than those contracted directly from Corey Perry should also be included,

Just like players with any ability, a sudden rush of injury disclosure escaping from the Coyotes.

  • Figures exclude a few minor-leaguers / marginal NHLers (usually an arbitrary judgement on my part) who had been on the NHL club’s IR since pre-season. Generally, if a minor-leaguer gets called up and then injured in an NHL game, his games missed will then count towards the CHIP though.  Minor-league conditioning stints immediately after/during a period on IR tend to be included in the man-games lost figures (but can't guarantee TSN's figures are always consistent on this)
  • For the avoidance of doubt, suspensions and absences due to "personal reasons" are not included in the figures.  However, as per previous seasons, any "retired" player still under contract (Savard, Pronger, Ohlund) is still included. There are also one or two slightly less "retired" players not separately identified in the bar chart above (e.g. Souray, Peverley, Horton).
  • There are undoubtedly a few inaccuracies and inconsistencies in there - I do the best I can with the information out there. Corrections might well be picked up in subsequent updates
  • The cap figure obviously doesn't really correlate very well to the "worth" of a player in some cases, e.g. where players are seeing out an old (underpaid or rookie) contract or where players are horrendously overpaid and/or were signed by Paul Holmgren, Dave Nonis, Jay Feaster, Dave Nonis, Glen Sather, Dave Nonis...
  • Also, for any player traded where cap hit is retained by his old team, the cap hit used will only reflect that for his current team
  • Click HERE if you want a full team-by-team listing of games missed and CHIP/CMIP numbers by each player
  • Injury/games/TOI info courtesy of tsn.ca and nhl.com - man-games lost info more than likely does not exactly match up with the "official" figures released by individual teams (as teams don't have any sort of consistent reporting standards)
  • Cap info courtesy of what was capgeek.com (any info on retained shares from recent trades from nhlnumbers.com)