East: A new mindset for ranking defensemen

Cam Metz



Mike Clifford has used the ramblings to elaborate on the league wide trends recently.  One piece specifically (HERE  and HERE) about scoring from the backend caught by eye, because I’ve had this gut feeling that I’ve been ranking defenseman incorrectly.   Mike’s piece all but solidified that thought – imagine playing in a league where you value faceoff wins.  If a defenseman were to actually get called into the faceoff dot and then actually won the draw he’d statistically have a massive value gain compared to others in his position.  

What I mean by that is, if you use some basic statistics where you value the average of a sample set and compare each number to that sample, a player with 1 faceoff win looks a lot better than the population who has 0 faceoff wins.  The next realization, which is easier to see with faceoff wins, is that the player actually does not provide your team with any real value. 

So let’s move this idea towards goals – does a defenseman who scores eight goals tangentially have that much less value than someone who scores 11?  I know that the numbers as a whole would say absolutely – the difference of three goals with a population that has a mean of 11 for the entire year has entirely too much additional value.  

I believe this in the point where all the number jockeys need to take a step back and look closer at the way Roto categories are deployed and ranked for player value.   So just like my new way of ranking PIM next year, (in case you missed that article it can be found HERE) I’m going to be ranking D much differently next year, I’m going to pivot away from goal scoring as a big emphasis in my rankings for defenseman. 

I’ve mentioned before that you need to think very carefully how to value specific categories and how they apply to each position in your league.  I think the lack of goal production from the backend that has been seen over the last year does not mean that we are bound for a positive regression to the mean.  As Mike Clifford has stated adjusting to this new reality before your league mates will provide you with a definitive advantage.

Rather than ran