Friday, January 24, 2014

Consistency Rating, Is Phil Kessel Really That Streaky?


                                        

Phil Kessel is a streaky scorer. That seems to be the consensus among hockey observers. He certainly does seem to collect points in bunches, but is really that inconsistent of a point producer? Does he go long stretches without getting points? I decided to have a look at how he compares to the rest of the top players in the league in this regard.

Firstly, what is it exactly that I'm looking for? I figured I would look for slumps in Kessel's production over the last three years and see if he has any more or less dry spells compared to others. How can we quantitatively define a slump though? Well, on most hockey broadcasts a player who has a point in at least three straight games is considered to be on a streak, therefore in my opinion a player who goes three games without a point would be considered to be in a slump. All it takes now is a little time to check through players game logs and search for three game point droughts.

I used the top point producers of the last three seasons combined and went looking. Below are the top 25 point producers (and a few additional players) since the start of the 2011/12 season through today and how many "Slumps" of three games without a point they had suffered through.

Number of Three Game Slumps
2011/12 - 2013/14

EStaal 10
Wheeler 9
Benn 9
Vanek 8
Kane 8
HSedin 8
DSedin 8
Eberle 8
Vrbata 8
Neal 7
Kessel 7
Lupul 7
Datsyuk 7
Getzlaf 7
Couture 7
Ovechkin 6
Backstrom 6
Hossa 6
Sharp 6
Zetterberg 6
Parise 6
Perry 5
Toews 5
Tavares 5  
St.Louis 5
Thornton 5
Giroux 4
Kopitar 3
Hall 3
Karlsson 3
Kunitz 2
Stamkos 1
Crosby 0    
Malkin 0  

If a player went any multiple of three games without a point I counted accordingly. For example Eric Staal went 7 games from Oct 28 thru Nov 11, 2011 without a point. This counts as two Slumps of three games. If a player went only 4 or 5 games it counted as one slump. There's Phil Kessel hovering around the middle of the pack with some expected names near the top of the slump list. Somewhat surprisingly, and a clear indication that age is catching up to them, the Sedin's counted 8 slumps each over this period, one more than Kessel. On the bottom of the list are the guys who rarely slump at all with perhaps Taylor Hall's name being the only real surprise. Amazingly Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have never gone more than two games without a point over the last three seasons. In fact, Crosby has had only five such occasions over his entire career.

Of course, these players listed all played a varying number of games. Seven Slumps over a 125 game stretch for Lupul is certainly a lot worse than seven in 183 games for Kessel. To put this into a nice easy number we do this:

100 - [(# of Slumps / GP)  x 1000]

Let's call this number the Consistency Rating of a player. A rating of 100 is obviously the highest achievable for players with no slumps like Crosby and Malkin. This shows that they consistently produce points, even if only breaking a two game drought with a single second-assist. They flat out produce.

Consistency Rating
2011/12 - 2013/14

Crosby       100.00
Malkin       100.00
Stamkos       93.92
Kunitz          88.95
Kopitar         83.42
Hall              80.13
Karlsson       79.87
Giroux          77.40
Tavares         72.53
Thornton       72.22
Perry             71.75
St.Louis        71.59
Toews           68.55
Ovechkin      65.32
Hossa            64.50
Parise            64.29
Zetterberg     64.07
Kessel           61.75
Sharp            61.29
Getzlaf         60.00
Couture        59.06
HSedin         55.56
PKane           56.04
Eberle           54.80
Datsyuk        53.95
Neal              53.33
DSedin         53.22
Vanek           51.81
Wheeler       49.72
Vrbata          49.68
Benn            44.78
Lupul           44.44
Staal             43.50

Remember, an average NHLer who may score 40 points in 80 games would tend to have more three game segments without producing a point than the guys listed above. David Legwand has had 13 different "Slumps" over the last three years which in 178 games gives him a Consistency Rating of 26.97. Basically, as long as a player is not having more than one slump every ten games played he will be in the positive. If they have more than one every ten games, watch what happens to the rating. Matt Cooke has played every game over the last three seasons and produced a respectable 80 points in those 183 games. However, Cooke has had had 23 separate three game Slumps in that period leading to a Consistency Rating of minus 25.69. Let's check another guy that has played every game the last three seasons in Andrew Cogliano. In 183 games, Cogliano has 78 points but has counted 27 Slumps of three games over that time. This gives him an Inconsistency Rating of -47.54.

Eric Cole has played 180 games and scored 98 points over the last three seasons, he also has 19 Slumps over that period. His Consistency Rating of -5.56 is right around what should be expected from an average NHL point producer. Another player in this bracket would be Dustin Brown. With 99 points over 179 games he also has 19 slumps over the past three seasons for a rating of -5.29. Matt Read has 17 Slumps over 166 games while producing 94 points. His rating works out to -2.41.

Eric Cole, Dustin Brown and Matt Read...a nice representation of three of the most average point producers in the NHL. If we were to check all NHL players I would estimate the majority of them would rate in between the -20.00 and +20.00 range. Anything over 20.00 is considered fairly to extremely consistent point production. Therefore, I think it's safe to say that while Phil Kessel may very well be a streaky scorer, he never really gets into prolonged slumps and should be considered one of the most consistent producers in hockey.

Others:
Callahan    10 Slumps   36.31 Rating
Legwand    13 Slumps   26.97 Rating
Johansson   12 Slumps   26.82 Rating
Semin         12 Slumps    24.53 Rating
Doan           14 Slumps    14.63 Rating
Roy             15 Slumps    11.76 Rating
Read            17 Slumps   -2.41 Rating
Brown         19 Slumps   -5.29 Rating
Cole            19 Slumps    -5.56 Rating
Cooke         23 Slumps   -25.69 Rating
Cogliano     27 Slumps   -47.54 Rating




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