Dustin Penner - 9th Most Valuable Skater In The League

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 16: Dustin Penner #27 of the Edmonton Oilers stands on the ice during their game against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion on January 16, 2010 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Content © 2010 Getty Images All rights reserved. via cdn.picapp.com

Dirk Hoag at On The Forecheck has been crunching numbers to figure out who the most valuable players in the NHL are this year.  The results are not exactly shocking for this correspondent - Dustin Penner is the 9th-most valuable skater in the league.

Dirk's methodology is here:

The idea here is to leverage the Rating statistics from Behind the Net, which sums up the net influence on Goals For & Against per 60 minutes of play, and convert those into counting stats based on the cumulative ice time and games played for each individual. For instance, Alex Ovechkin's presence in 5-on-5 action has resulted in a net of +35.7 goals for Washington, compared to how the Capitals fare when he is on the bench. His influence on the power play is almost as large (+31), and he is a pretty average PK man.

The Penalty +/- Impact reflects the influence on Goals For & Against from a player drawing or committing penalties, and thus creating PP or PK situations for his team. Using a previous estimate by Alan Ryder, each power play is worth 0.153 goals, reflecting the increased likelihood that your team is going to score (with a PK costing the same amount).

Sum up the 5-on-5, PP, PK and Penalty +/- columns, and you get a Total Impact that each player has had on Goals For & Against over the course of the season. Most MVP discussions focus solely on offensive contributions, and ignore the defensive side of the game.

Remember - these measures reflect the influence of a given player on the performance of his team. They are not meant to be used a direct comparison of players on different teams to say "who is better". It is, rather, "who is more valuable to his team". Yes, this analysis does leave goaltenders out of the equation, but we can argue over the Vezina another day.


It's something that not even Oilers fans know - Penner is one of only four Oiler players in the black in scoring chances, only one of three Oilers in the black in Corsi, the leader on the team in shots, he's dragging almost-NHL-like performance out of his teammates, and he's fifth in the league in relative Corsi among forwards.

Dirk flipped it around and found the least valuable players in the league, and once again, it's not a surprise to Oiler fans - Steve Staios has been the 6th-least valuable skater in the league this season.  That must be extremely disheartening for Flames fans to read and I feel badly for them.  Surprising to most Oiler fans, however, would be the fact that Ethan Moreau didn't make the list as well.

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