In case you slept in this morning, which I definitely didn’t do, the Winnipeg Jets made a big trade today.
No longer Kevin “no NHL player-for-player trades” Cheveldayoff, the Jets General Manager was able to move Evander Kane to the Buffalo Sabres. An interesting side plot though was the additional trade of young, right-handed defensemen Zach Bogosian and Tyler Myers.
Let’s look at what the numbers say about this swap.
All numbers are for 2011-12 season to present unless otherwise stated.
At a cursory glance, Myers seems like the inferior player.
Bogosian has put up points at a better pace at 5v5, scoring above the 0.74 rate for top pair defensemen. Myers on the other hand has scored at a rate lesser than the average for a second pair defender.
Both have had a similar impact on their team’s unblocked shot differentials (Fenwick), although Bogosian has been playing 1 percentage point under a 51.3% team, not a 43.2% team. Myers though has taken a larger share of the team’s defensive zone starts.
Myers has outscored Bogosian on the power play, despite playing on a team that doesn’t produce as much shot volume as the Jets do.
On the penalty kill, Bogosian has vastly outperformed Myers. The Jets are a far better Corsi team on the shorthanded (best predictor of future PK success), and Bogosian improves the Jets there by 2.8 percentage points. Myers though actually hurts his team by 2.1 percentage points.
There is a caveat to all of this; Myers has played on a historically bad team. It is difficult to make adjustments to how much better Myers’ numbers will be when he’s surrounded by far better talent.
There are two different ways to try and even the playing field: dCorsi and Usage-Adjusted Corsi.
Steve Burtch’s dCorsi
Burtch’s method looks at how a player out performs their usage in terms of expected shot volume production and suppression.
The above numbers are for each season since 2011-12. The numbers have fluctuated between the two severely but there is a trend. Bogosian tends to be the better shot volume producer, while Myers has been the better shot volume suppressor.
This becomes more obvious when you combine seasons. Bogosian overall impact on shot attempt rate has been to decrease shot volume by about 0.6 Corsi events per 60 minutes and increase shot volume against by 2.0 Corsi events. Overall his impact is estimated at -2.6 Corsi events in the team’s differential per sixty.
Myers meanwhile has reduced shot attempts for by about 1.1, while increasing shot volume against by 0.1. Overall his impact has been -1.0 Corsi events in the team’s differential per 60.
Domenic Galamini’s Usage-Adjusted Corsi
Galamini looks at it from a different perspective. Instead of seeing how a player outperforms their usage, Galamini tries to estimate what a player’s Corsi% would look like if every player had the same usage factors.
While Burtch’s dCorsi tended to place Myers in a better light, Galamini’s usage-adjusted Corsi seems to do the opposite. The final tally places Bogosian’s combined four season UAC% at 49.2, while Myers is at 47.6.
One method places Bogosian as the better two-way player, while the other method does the opposite. The biggest difference between the two methods is the impact in zone starts. Galamini’s method ignores zone starts but instead removes the first few seconds after a non-neutral zone face off. Which method is superior remains to be seen.
Either way, it appears though that both Bogosian and Myers are two big, right-handed defenders that are not the best in improving a team’s shot differential. Both teams will be hoping that a fresh start will awaken the potential in these young defenders.
For the most part this portion of the Kane mega-trade looks to be a wash. The Sabres do reduce their CapHit by about $350K, but that’s small potatoes for a team that isn’t pressed up against the salary cap.
The margin is narrow enough that which team ends up with the better defender as a result of this deal will likely depend more on latent variables (often mistakenly called intangibles) such as impact on the room and chemistry. As it looks for now, the two seem to be pretty similar players.