Andrew MacDonald and the Significantly Overplayed

One of the more fascinating players to me this season has been Andy MacDonald who has a really poor Corsi, yet has continued to play healthy if not heavy minutes between his two teams this season especially with the Islanders. I wanted to look for players similar to MacDonald—high quality of opponents, low zone starts, high minutes, poor Corsi to see how they’ve fared in the season immediately after such tough usage. Here are the similar defensemen from the last five seasons.

Season Name Team GP TOI/60 Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel Corsi On On-Ice SH% PDO Off Zone Start %
2012-13 JACKJOHNSON CBJ 44 18.33 0.804 -8.1 -9.45 8.16 1010 44.6
2012-13 RONHAINSEY WPG 47 18.76 1.144 -8.7 -6.53 8.87 990 44.2
2012-13 ANDREJSEKERA BUF 37 17.24 0.95 -9 -16.18 8.36 1012 47.1
2012-13 ANDREWMACDONALD NYI 48 18.55 1.005 -10.8 -6.74 8.2 989 45.9
2012-13 TRAVISHAMONIC NYI 48 18.16 0.991 -11.4 -7.23 8.78 979 45.9
2012-13 BROOKSORPIK PIT 46 18.34 0.891 -18.1 -13.08 12.33 1056 44.2

 

Season Name Team GP TOI/60 Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel Corsi On On-Ice SH% PDO Off Zone Start %
2011-12 ERICBREWER T.B 82 18.27 1.269 -7.8 -10.77 10.43 1006 33.6
2011-12 KARLALZNER WSH 82 17.4 1.403 -8.3 -7.99 8.81 1017 41.6
2011-12 JACKJOHNSON CBJ 82 17.02 0.78 -11.8 -5.2 7.06 1000 47

 

Season Name Team GP TOI/60 Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel Corsi On On-Ice SH% PDO Off Zone Start %
2010-11 DANGIRARDI NYR 80 18.54 1.583 -8.9 -7.65 8.06 1003 47.4
2010-11 DEREKMORRIS PHX 77 17.06 0.883 -9.6 -5.25 7.48 1015 49
2010-11 CHRISPHILLIPS OTT 82 17.12 0.847 -11 -7.22 6.82 969 48
2010-11 ROBYNREGEHR CGY 79 17.23 1.452 -11.4 -3.62 9.33 1008 49.9

 

Season Name Team GP TOI/60 Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel Corsi On On-Ice SH% PDO Off Zone Start %
2009-10 MATTIASOHLUND T.B 67 17.09 1.029 -8 -9.8 7.89 996 44.8
2009-10 MIKELUNDIN T.B 49 17.17 1.27 -8.9 -10.63 7.4 994 43

 

Season Name Team GP TOI/60 Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel Corsi On On-Ice SH% PDO Off Zone Start %
2008-09 JANHEJDA CBJ 82 17.31 1.24 -13.8 -4.94 11.22 1030 43.4
2008-09 MIKECOMMODORE CBJ 81 17.38 1.25 -16.6 -6.35 10.22 1016 43.5
2008-09 DANHAMHUIS NSH 82 17 0.938 -7.9 -7.27 7.59 993 42.1
2008-09 SCOTTHANNAN COL 81 17.59 0.993 -13.3 -14.74 7.46 988 40.2

 

Some familiar names there such as our old friend MacDonald and everyone’s favorite statistical punching bag Jack Johnson. I’ll call these group of players the “Significantly Overplayed”.

So how did the Significantly Overplayed due the immediate next season? Here are the numbers framed as a differential meaning a 2.50 in zone starts means the player get 2.5% more offensive zone starts the following season from when he was “overplayed”. I’m excluding repeat names like Johnson and MacDonald because we want to see what happens when the situation changes and if the player does at all as well.

Name Team GP TOI/60 Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel Corsi On On-Ice SH% PDO Off Zone Start %
Hainsey CAR 65 -1.10 -0.56 11.90 8.93 -3.53 -15.00 3.30
Sekera CAR 63 0.31 -0.03 12.80 19.27 1.52 1.00 3.90
Hamomic NYI 53 1.72 0.07 13.40 7.12 -1.15 14.00 2.10
Orpik PIT 59 -0.79 0.06 10.70 19.80 -1.85 -49.00 0.90
Brewer TBL 48 -0.54 -1.01 3.80 -3.85 0.77 17.00 14.50
Alzner WSH 48 0.26 -0.90 9.10 5.23 -1.38 -25.00 4.50
Morris PHX 59 -1.80 -1.16 2.90 -0.28 -0.56 -29.00 5.70
Phillips OTT 80 -2.26 -1.00 2.80 7.42 1.42 44.00 1.70
Regehr BUF 76 -1.92 -0.30 -2.50 -7.26 -3.30 -14.00 -3.10
Ohlund TBL 72 -1.90 0.25 -8.50 1.84 1.33 -9.00 -5.20
Lundin TBL 69 -0.85 -0.56 -6.50 4.88 2.04 10.00 -2.00
Hejda CBJ 62 -1.00 -0.01 0.90 -8.11 -3.63 -38.00 -3.50
Commodore CBJ 57 -1.83 -0.62 9.80 -2.79 -1.48 -18.00 0.80
Hamhuis NSH 78 0.48 -0.27 10.60 13.17 1.30 0.00 4.30
Hannan COL 81 0.23 0.10 9.20 1.19 1.53 27.00 2.10
AVERAGES -0.73 -0.40 5.36 4.44 -0.46 -5.60 2.00

 

Now the dataset isn’t that large so obviously we can’t be too quick with conclusions. It’s also telling there simply aren’t that many guys like this in the NHL over the course of five seasons. NHL decision makers are for the most part trained, ┬árational people who tend to not throw defenders to the wolves who can’t handle it. This co-aligns with the above data that immediately after a poor season with heavy usage on average these players get less ice time, weaker opponents, more offensive zone starts, and get a higher Corsi Relative and Corsi-On.

Now not all from the Significantly Overplayed are made the same. We see examples like Sekera, Hamonic, and Orpik whose usage stay roughly the same yet saw performance rebounds. A single bad season is not the end of the world, and all three are good if not really good players who simply had a down season on a Corsi-level. Alzner and Commodore saw a notable reduction in usage co-align with a big spike in performance. Regehr got roughly the same if not tougher usage, followed by a drop in performance although to be fair Buffalo wasn’t the shining example of player evaluation the last few years. The major theme I see though is that after the down season there was either for the most part: A notable rebound right away, or the coach immediately put the brakes on the heave usage. There were very few repeats in the Significantly Overplayed other than Jack Johnson.

So lets go to this season.

Season Name Team GP TOI/60 Corsi Rel QoC Corsi Rel Corsi On On-Ice SH% PDO Off Zone Start %
2013-14 NIKLASHJALMARSSON CHI 69 17.66 1.798 -8.5 6.3 8.16 1001 47.9
2013-14 MATTHEWCARLE T.B 67 17.52 0.903 -10.1 -4.04 9.29 1020 49
2013-14 DANGIRARDI NYR 66 17.88 1.467 -10.6 -2.69 8.47 1010 46.2
2013-14 JOHNODUYAODUYA CHI 67 17.21 1.819 -11.1 4.89 8.36 999 48.2
2013-14 ANDREWMACDONALD PHI 65 18.53 0.87 -21.1 -13.45 9.78 1002 49.6

 

On the topic of MacDonald, he has the worst Corsi Relative in the last six seasons of defenders who have been overplayed. His numbers are also notably worse than Jack Johnson or Dan Girardi the other repeat names.

Looking at players who have had the tough minutes stopped, you can still be an ok/decent player when a player is put in a more suitable role. MacDonald is the most extreme case, but based on his peer group there is a reasonable case he’s a good third pairing defenseman/fringe second pairing defender. Even though his minutes are way down with Philly down to about 20 minutes per, it probably should be closer to 18-19 ideally. He’s probably still a serviceable NHLer, but based on precedent, most NHL coaches would have pulled the plug on him as a significant player by now.

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