January 3, 2020

On-Ice Effectiveness

In an attempt to make +/- great again, I devised an advanced metric to measure the effectiveness of a player
Name OEFF DEFF EFF Points +/- Time on Ice Seconds on Ice
Dominik Simon 0.235 -0.163 0.072 22 -9 922:04 55324
Patrick Marleau 0.276 -0.081 0.195 22 -5 1028:06 61686
Evgeni Malkin 1.257 0.109 1.366 74 7 1073:40 64420
Sidney Crosby 0.782 -0.16 0.622 47 -8 830:55 49855
Jack Johnson 0.128 -0.013 0.115 11 -1 1304:08 78248
Kris Letang 0.467 0 0.467 44 0 1569:15 94155
Colton Sceviour 0.328 0.036 0.364 16 2 913:58 54838
Justin Schultz -0.018 -0.237 -0.255 12 -13 914:15 54855
Brian Dumoulin 0.707 0.481 1.188 8 17 589:33 35373
Jason Zucker 0.629 -0.068 0.561 41 -4 980:14 58814
Bryan Rust 1.073 0.215 1.288 56 14 1087:05 65225
Mike Matheson 0.298 -0.016 0.282 20 -1 1064:06 63846
Teddy Blueger 0.367 0.031 0.398 22 2 1091:00 65460
Chad Ruhwedel 0.275 0.11 0.385 6 4 605:32 36332
Jake Guentzel 1.119 0.228 1.347 43 11 804:30 48270
Conor Sheary 0.363 -0.101 0.262 23 -5 825:49 49549
Kasperi Kapanen 0.551 0 0.551 36 0 1089:31 65371
Jared McCann 0.679 0.099 0.778 35 6 1006:05 60365
Marcus Pettersson 0.386 0.112 0.498 22 9 1338:40 80320
Sam Lafferty 0.624 0.173 0.797 13 5 481:02 28862
Anthony Angello 0 -0.364 -0.364 1 -1 45:45 2745
John Marino 0.632 0.25 0.882 26 17 1133:35 68015
Brandon Tanev 0.399 -0.017 0.382 25 -1 1003:41 60221
Zach Aston-Reese 0.385 0.122 0.507 13 6 822:23 49343
Juuso Riikola 0.333 0.1 0.433 7 3 499:53 29993
Team Rating 0.491 0.034 0.525

Effectiveness (EFF) attempts to determine how effective a player is on the ice. Effectiveness is defined (for the purposes of this metric) as the player’s ability to help his team win a game. Effectiveness takes into consideration Time-On-Ice, Points (in the case of OEFF), and Plus/Minus. The formulas are simple, and I feel that after taking a look at how the numbers fall, it pretty much makes sense.

Offensive Effectiveness

OEFF is determined by adding the player’s points with their plus/minus and dividing the sum by the seconds-on-ice. I multiply this number by 1000 for readability.

OEFF = (points + plus-minus) / seconds on ice

Defensive Effectiveness

DEFF is even simpler to calculate as we simply remove the benefit of offense from the OEFF. This is also multiplied by 1000 for readability.

DEFF = plus-minus / seconds on ice

Overall Effectiveness

To determine a player’s overall effectiveness, we simply add OEFF and DEFF.

EFF = OEFF + DEFF

Line of Thinking

While this may seem like an off-brand points per minute, the focus is not on productivity, but on effectiveness. While the player is deployed, is he more or less likely to help the team win? The higher the EFF, the more likely they are effective. Players with an EFF under 0 can be considered ineffective.

The purpose in combining points and plus/minus in OEFF, is because I want to understand plus/minus in a meaningful way. Certainly, players are “doubling up” if they score a point vs just standing on the blue line when a goal is scored, but scoring a goal is in-fact more effective in helping one’s team win than not. Being on the ice, moreso than being on the bench.

In DEFF, we only consider plus/minus vs seconds on ice. Are goals scored against the team when this player is deployed? Many “fancy stats” measure the quality of a player very well, but DEFF aims to measure how effective they are at not allowing the opponents to score. Again, this is a measurement of effectiveness, not skill.

But Why? Why Plus/Minus?

I wanted to find a value for plus/minus, as it’s often derided in this modern analytics age. It’s my stance that while a lot of external factors go into plus/minus (deployment, quality of competition, goalies, zone starts, etc, etc), it does still tell a story about liability. Undoubtedly, a player with a high rating is doing something right, even if they are seeing more beneficial match-ups or zone starts. A coach only deploys effective players in those situations. Likewise, if a player has a low-rating, they may end up playing less, and scoring less points to offset their rating.