Another Wolski Myth Goes Down

This wasn't going to be about Wojtek Wolski. Honest. Thanks to hockey-reference.com, I put together some numbers on PK effectiveness - how many PPG were scored when a player was on the ice per 60 minutes of PK TOI. I was happily putting together the list below and had what was no doubt highly intellectual insight on the Highlander. I was going to rave about how surprised I was that he was #4 in PK ice time among forwards, and how his numbers were a huge improvement over his awful previous season (11 PPG in 63.2 PK TOI, or 10.34 PPG/60). And we all would have scratched our heads - or chuckled, or commented without reading, or however it is that you like to enjoy MHH - and then moved on with our dreary old work days.

 

Rk   Player   PPGA PKTOI PPGA/60
D John-Michael Liles  1 18.6 3.22
D Kyle Cumiskey  9 96.3 5.61
D Scott Hannan  28 265.5 6.33
D Brett Clark  15 123.9 7.26
D Ryan Wilson  9 71.5 7.56
D Kyle Quincey  28 214.2 7.84
D Adam Foote  27 179.9 9.01
D Ruslan Salei  5 17.5 17.13
F Matt Duchene  1 34.5 1.74
F Wojtek Wolski  3 52.7 3.42
F Milan Hejduk  2 26.8 4.48
F Cody McLeod  9 100.6 5.37
F David Jones  5 48.9 6.14
F T.J. Galiardi  24 211.4 6.81
F Matt Hendricks  8 68.6 7.00
F Stephane Yelle  3 22.9 7.85
F Paul Stastny  18 131.3 8.23
F Kevin Porter  3 19.2 9.36
F Ryan O'Reilly  38 235.9 9.66

 

And then I saw those damn Wolski numbers. Gee, thought I, those are pretty good numbers, even if this statistical study is essentially flawed in that it doesn't take into account factors like fatigue or strength of opponent. Besides, surely this was as much an aberration as McLeod's season was, right? So, I looked up the 2008-2009 numbers, and lo and behold, Wolski put up even better PK numbers with even more ice time (8 PPGA, 152.4 PKTOI, 3.15 PPGA/60).

That got me thinking - something that is usually dangerous and often painful. Sure, any bum can focus on defense for a couple of shorthanded shifts a game...clearly, Wolski's PK stats are a fluke. Since I'd already started on this little tangent, I might as well see it through. So, I took all the players on the Avs, stripped out their PK performance, and ran the numbers again (in other words, EVGA + SHGA / EVTOI + PPTOI).

Where does Wolski wrank? Wright at the top (sorry, I think my dubya key is sticking). Yep, Wolski is right up there, 4th among forwards, ahead of "defensive-minded" forwards like Radar O'Reilly, Milan Hejduk and Paul Stastny. Wow.

 

Player   Pos   TOI   TGA PPGA Non-PKTOI Non-PPGA Non-PPGA/60
Ryan Wilson  D  993 35 9 922 26 1.69
Brett Clark  D  1225 50 15 1101 35 1.91
Kyle Quincey  D  1865 86 28 1651 58 2.11
John-Michael Liles  D  1089 41 1 1070 40 2.24
Scott Hannan  D  1776 87 28 1511 59 2.34
Adam Foote  D  1297 72 27 1117 45 2.42
Kyle Cumiskey  D  1208 55 9 1112 46 2.48
Ruslan Salei  D  263 16 5 246 11 2.69
Chris Durno  F 306 7 0 304 7 1.38
Darcy Tucker  F 860 23 0 858 23 1.61
Brandon Yip  F 470 15 1 468 14 1.79
Wojtek Wolski  F 1175 39 3 1122 36 1.92
Ryan O'Reilly  F 1358 75 38 1122 37 1.98
Peter Mueller  F 268 9 0 268 9 2.02
Milan Hejduk  F 1065 38 2 1038 36 2.08
Matt Duchene  F 1436 52 1 1402 51 2.18
Ryan Stoa  F 133 5 0 133 5 2.26
Matt Hendricks  F 519 25 8 450 17 2.26
David Koci  F 131 5 0 131 5 2.29
Marek Svatos  F 616 24 0 616 24 2.34
T.J. Galiardi  F 1273 67 24 1062 43 2.43
Paul Stastny  F 1733 87 18 1602 69 2.58
Cody McLeod  F 957 49 9 856 40 2.80
Chris Stewart  F 1286 62 0 1283 62 2.90
Kevin Porter  F 211 13 3 192 10 3.13
David Jones  F 412 24 5 363 19 3.14
Stephane Yelle  F 110 8 3 87 5 3.44

 

Now, why is Darcy Tucker #2 on this list, you ask? Well, you have to keep in mind who these guys are playing against. In the case of Tucker and Chris Durno, these guys are usually out there against the other team's 4th line. That's still an impressive performance, but it's why you can't totally compare apples to apples here (ditto for Brett Clark and Ryan Wilson, but Ruslan Salei was awful by any measure). Wolski wasn't playing against the 4th lines, though. He was playing against the same talent that Stastny, Duchene and Hejduk were playing against...and he was on the ice for less goals than any of them.

Does this mean he needs to get nominated for a Selke Award? Probably not. But for the second straight week I've found numbers that go against the common perception of the Baron. Last week, we professed that the inconsistent Wolski was probably more consistent than we thought, and now we dig up evidence that the defensively challenged forward may be a lot better than we gave him credit for there too. Again, it wasn't my intention to do this at all, but I couldn't help it when I saw those numbers. I'm not sure if there are any other Wolski myths left to tackle...but if there are, I may just stumble across them sooner or later.

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