Monday, January 30, 2012

St. Louis Blues Players Performance at the All-Star Break

 The NHL All-Star break is the perfect time to get caught up on player stats and to take a look at their performance during the first half of the season.  I haven't published anything for a while and I've been dying to do a hockey viz.  So I took advantage of the empty schedule, scraped the data, and here are the results.

My favorite team, the St. Louis Blues, have caught the NHL by surprise this season.  Ever since hiring a new coach, the Blues have been playing the way Blues' fans knew they could play.  They have had the talent, they just haven't had the cohesion that a good hockey club needs.  Bringing in veteran coach Ken Hitchcock has really turned this team around.  At one point this season, the Blues were tied for first in the NHL and are neck and neck with 4 other teams for the top spot in the Western Conference.

But how are the individual players performing on the team?  I put together two different charts to measure a player's performance compared to the rest of the team.  Some of the results shouldn't be too surprising to St. Louis Blues fans.

David Backes, the captain for the Blues, not only leads the team in goals and assists, but also has one of the highest Plus/Minus ratings for the team.  It should also come as no surprise that T.J. Oshie is right behind Backes in points, goals, and assists.  It should also come as no surprise either that Patrik Berglund's "puck" is that ugly shade of yellow (low Plus/Minus).  He has not been very impressive this year.  He has had some success initially, but looking at the Streak Meter, his Plus/Minus has remained low and there are just a few dark streaks in his line.

The one result that should encourage the Barret Jackman haters to rethink their position is his Plus/Minus rating.  Even though he is one of a handful of Blues who hasn't scored a goal yet, and his number of assists are below the team average, his "puck" is a bright blue -- meaning he has a high Plus/Minus score.  In fact, his Plus/Minus is just below Backes, and just above Oshie.  He must be doing something right out on the ice.

Finally, one of the most improved players this season has been Alex Pietrangelo.  He and Kevin Shattenkirk are part of the top grouping of players who are above the team average in both goals and assists.  But take a look at his Streak Meter to see the real story.  You can see that during the last month, Pietrangelo has consistently been putting points on the board game after game.  A lot of dark blue during the month of January.

There are a lot more player stats and comparisons to look at.  I would like to incorporate averages for the league overall, conference, and division.  But I have to admit, it is not easy getting this data.  I literally have to copy and paste it from the St. Louis Blues website or the NHL website,  And then I have to format it.  If anyone knows of an easier way to get a hold of this data, please let me know in the comments section.  I would love to be able to download it so I can put together more visualizations with larger data sets.

And as always, I love to read your comments and feedback about what I publish and any suggestions from other hockey fans about what sorts of stats combinations you would like to see displayed in future postings.

Thanks for reading!

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