2013 Rangers puck possession leaders

Anton Stralman: Rangers leading puck possession player this season.
Anton Stralman: Rangers leading puck possession player this season.

As the Rangers look to move beyond the John Tortorella era and into the Alain Vigneault era, they are going to need to lean on their puck possession monsters to ensure a smooth transition into a more creative offensive flow. This means more reliance on their top offensive guys to maintain offensive pressure and keep the puck in the offensive zone. If you are unfamiliar with Corsi, read up here.

Among the forwards, we all know that Carl Hagelin is a puck possession monster, and truly jump-started the Rangers offense with his call up last season. Hagelin’s 11.73 CorsiON (Corsi/60) and 11.5 RCorsi is second on the team, but he was tops among the forwards last season. The addition of Rick Nash bumped Hagelin to second with his 12.56 CorsiON and 13.2 RCorsi. The full list (minimum of 20 games) has a few surprises, and really illustrates the struggles of Chris Kreider.

Player CorsiON RCorsi
Rick Nash 12.56 13.2
Carl Hagelin 11.73 11.5
Derek Stepan 11.23 10.9
Brad Richards 10.22 9.6
Ryane Clowe 6.74 7.5
Derick Brassard -0.68 3.8
Ryan Callahan 3.83 0
Brian Boyle -0.27 -6.8
JT Miller -0.58 -8.5
Taylor Pyatt -2.76 -8.7
Arron Asham -7.88 -12.4
Darroll Powe -18.29 -24.3
Chris Kreider -17.77 -25.7

Most of these numbers shouldn’t be all that surprising. The main offensive players had solid puck possession numbers, and the guys that were given mostly defensive assignments are down towards the bottom. It is very interesting to see Brad Richards so high on the list, which does lends credence to the theory that Richards has a bounce-back year next season.

However, at the bottom of the list should shed some light on the Chris Kreider disaster that was his 2013 season. During the regular season, Kreider not only had trouble finishing offensively, but was one of the worst puck possession forwards in the league. Considering how many offensive zone starts he received (over 62%), you can see why he was sent down in the middle of the season. Darroll Powe wasn’t much better either, but at least Powe has the excuse of being used as a defensive player (41.5% OZone starts).

On defense, the Rangers found a very pleasant surprise with Anton Stralman, who was tops in both CorsiON (14.62) and RCorsi (15.8). In fact, Stralman led the team (both forwards and defense) in puck possession, although he had relatively sheltered minutes against weaker competition. As for the rest of the blue line, only Ryan McDonagh and John Moore posted positive RCorsi’s.

Player CorsiON RCorsi
Anton Stralman 14.62 15.8
Ryan McDonagh 6.98 6.0
John Moore -2.58 0.6
Marc Staal 1.01 -4.4
Dan Girardi -0.2 -6.7
Michael Del Zotto -1.22 -7.4
Steve Eminger -1.96 -8.5

The interesting part about the table is Michael Del Zotto, who posted a negative RCorsi despite being relied upon to be the main offensive force on the blue line. Del Zotto still put up good offensive numbers, but his struggles with decision-making are showing up on the stat sheet. The other puck possession stats for the defensemen aren’t all that surprising, but it will be interesting to see how McDonagh responds next year. He has solid possession numbers, and could feasibly make the next step in his offensive development.

As with all metric-based analysis in hockey, there’s more to it than just the numbers. Those watching Brad Richards know that despite his strong numbers, he really struggled this season. The same applies to Ryane Clowe and his 7.5 RCorsi. What we can do is use these numbers to guess who will have rebounding seasons next year. As for those who had solid numbers –like Stralman– the focus will be on them looking to repeat that effort next season.

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  • Interesting numbers for sure. I think the MDZ numbers scare me more that the Kreider numbers. The need for a puck control defenseman is quite evident. I believe Kreider needs confidence and 3 months with one center-iceman. We’ll see if the new coach’s systems moves players Corsis in the right direction.

      • Agreed. I think the coaching change will have the biggest positive impact on Kreider and MDZ. We have seen both of them play when they have their confidence, and both of them can play some very high-caliber hockey. However, we have also seen both of them play without any confidence, and it is not a pretty site to see. A new coach means a clean slate, so if AV can get those two playing important minutes to lift their confidence, don’t be surprised if we see a breakout season for both players.

  • Let’s hope that MDZ gets over the fear, or panic he has, when he has a player closing in on him. The guy makes a better 5-6 d-man, rather than a top four d-man. Maybe if Moore can develope a little bit more, they can switch in their pairing!

    • I don’t know man. Do you think maybe they can find a Western Conference trade partner and use him in a deal for Forward help. Try to get what you can for him. He only has next year left on his 2 year deal. I know the Oilers would throw a parade in Edmonton if they could sign a decent Defensmen. He’s turned into a solid 2 way Dman and I don’t know if any of their defenseman were + players. Most had negative ratings. Edmonton also holds the 7th overall pick in the Entry Draft next week. DZ would be a top pairing defenseman their. He might be better off there as NY fans don’t appreciate him.

  • The forwards numbers are telling. Especially Kreider, who many Ranger fans think it was Torts holding him back. While its obvious by this stat Torts was doing him a great service, even sheltering him. He’s going to be a great talent in this league some day. Just not just yet as he needs to work on some things. Puck posesion is one area but he leaves much to be desired in the defensive zone. In 48 games in the AHL he was a -23 with 73 penalty mins. He has to learn how to use his speed without the puck. He gets caught out of position quite often but takes too many penalties. He isn’t all that great positionally in the offensive zone either. He has showed that he’s learning at times last year and even had a couple solid games in the Boston series.

  • These numbers are interesting. I conjecture that some of the numbers were based on fear. Fear of being sent back Down.

    The tortorella system was not simple. It called for making many decisions quickly and if you messed up you look indecisive.

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