1 May 2013

The Pain Game 2013 - end of season wrap

Injury stats update – end of season awards

This is my final update for the 2012/13 regular season looking at which teams have been hit hardest by injuries by trying to place a value on the games missed by players due to injury/illness.  (If you want to see the Q3 analysis, here is the Q3 analysis.)

[At some point in the summer, I'll probably rework the numbers using GVT again and try to do another summary analysis of the last five years' of CHIP figures, maybe with attractive charts of CHIP vs standings points and other exciting stuff like that. Stay tuned.]

The concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his (annual) 2012/13 cap charge, then take the aggregate of these figures for each team and divide by 82. This indicator of value lost to a team by injury/illness is called CHIP (Cap Hit of Injured Players).

Note that for reasons of comparability, players' cap hits being published as full-season equivalents and above all, laziness, I have made no attempt to adjust the calculations to account for the 48-game season.

Again, for a different indicator of player "value", I've also illustrated a similar metric based on TOI/G alongside the CHIP numbers.  Clearly, neither cap charge nor TOI/G are perfect measures of player value, since each have a number of limitations and inconsistencies, but they provide a decent comparison and the results do vary somewhat.

A quick summary of the alternative metric:
  • TOI/G replaces cap charge as the measure of value in the calculation
  • For goalies, TOI/G has been worked out as Total Minutes Played / Games Dressed For* - i.e. a goalie playing every minute of 75% of the games, zero in the rest, would end up with a TOI/G of 45 minutes (or close to it, once you factor in OT and so on).  [*Actually, "Games Played by Team - Games Missed by Goalie" - I'm not inclined to disentangle any three-goalie systems or minor-league conditioning stints.]
  • This arguably overstates the worth of starting goalies somewhat, but it's simple and you could equally argue that a workhorse goalie is the hardest position to replace, so it's fair for them to have a much higher TOI/G figure
  • Where a player hasn't played all year or where a player fairly clearly has a reduced TOI/G figure due to getting injured in their only game or one of very few games, I've used TOI/G from last season (or further back if necessary)
  • For each player, multiply games missed by TOI/G to get (for a more palatable name) Cumulative Minutes of Injured Player (CMIP)
  • Take the aggregate of CMIP for the team and divide by games played by the team to arrive at AMIP (Average Minutes of Injured Players) - it feels more understandable expressing this metric as an average per game (whereas CHIP is a running total)
The figures...
The table below (playoff teams highlighted in yellow) shows:
  • Total CHIP for each team over the 48-game regular season, as well as the distribution of CHIP by position
  • The player who has contributed most to the team's CHIP figure
  • The number of players with a CHIP contribution of over $250,000 (think of it as being equivalent to a $1m player missing 20 games or a $4m player missing five games)
  • AMIP for each team over the same period (e.g. an AMIP of 40:00 could be seen as the team missing two 20-minute per game players for every game this season) 

The following is a ranking of teams by CHIP over Games 37-48 only, to further illustrate some of the biggest movers since last time:

10 second analysis...
A tight race between the three teams that achieved some separation from the rest was eventually won by the Flyers by a thin margin, but with the usual caveat that $3.2m of their total comes from the known/permanent absences of Chris Pronger and Marc-Andre Bourdon.  Ed Snider is presumably briefing Bob Clarke on exactly which unfortunate injuries to administer to protect Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov against prior to next season.

One or two fairly stark differences between the man-games lost figure and the corresponding CHIP ranking are evident, e.g. Detroit, Pittsburgh, Calgary, Montreal.

The Pacific Division seemingly very healthy, with no team higher than the Kings' 16th place, despite Raffi Torres staying within the division at the trade deadline.

Winners of positional crowns:
Goaltenders: Hurricanes [Cam Ward with a destroyed MCL still the least-worst goalie in the Southeast]
Defensemen: Flyers [nope, I didn't realise they ever had any defensemen either]
Forwards: Panthers [bad idea for Dale Tallon to arrange delivery of the players' medication]

And the paper hats:
Goaltenders: 7-way tie [mostly successful workhorse starters, plus Ryan Miller]
Defensemen: Blues [presumably the only reason they could find to trade away Wade Redden]
Forwards: Kings [34 fewer chances for Carter and Richards to be "ill" and miss a game]

The next lists are the top 30 individual CHIP and CMIP contributions:

So the Senators had some key players out for a while, huh?

Players under contract who missed all 48 games:
Mitchell (Los Angeles)
Sutton (Edmonton)
Savard (Boston) [second full season out]
Sauer (NY Rangers)
Pronger (Philadelphia)
Bourdon (Philadelphia)
Bergenheim (Florida)
Ohlund (Tampa Bay) [second full season out]

Where does it hurt?
This is another update of the crude injury-by-location analysis. Again, I’ve just used the descriptions found in the player profiles on tsn.ca, so the figures will encompass all the inaccuracies and vagueness within them. It should give a broad indication, if nothing else, though.

No massive shift in the distribution of injuries compared to last year, unless you count Colorado's new-found liberal use of "torso" injuries as a descriptor.

Man-games lost in Q4 total 1,218 compared to 1,178 in Q3, 1,126 in Q2 and 816 in Q1.  The crude rate of injuries (instances / total games played) ended up at 0.80 per game compared to 0.78 per game last year (0.76 per game in 2010/11).  Man-games lost per game this year ended up at 6.0, down from 6.8 last year (6.6 in 2010/11).

Finally, a look at the Evasiveness Index.  This is basically the proportion of injury instances for each team that have been described as either "Undisclosed" or the helpfully pointless "Upper/Lower Body" in the same TSN profiles.  I have made no judgement about whether the many instances of "Illness" (i.e. concussion), "Flu" (i.e. concussion), "None of your business" (i.e. Rick Nash concussion) or "Helmet heat" (i.e. Maple Leaf concussion) should also be included.

A lot of the usual suspects at the top end of the list, while Edmonton repeat as disclosure champions (which Kevin Lowe will angrily remind everybody of at a press conference to unveil Johnny Muckler-Tavish Jr as the Oilers new GM in 20 years' time), controversially tying with the Red Wings who mysteriously un-undisclosed an injury since my last update.

  • Figures exclude a few minor-leaguers / marginal NHLers (usually an arbitrary judgement on my part - you tell me whether Matt Taormina is/was still an NHLer at the start of the season...) who had been on the NHL club’s IR since "pre-season". Generally, if a minor-leaguer gets called up and then injured in an NHL game, his games missed will then count towards the CHIP though.  Minor-league conditioning stints immediately after/during a period on IR might be included in the man-games lost figures (but can't guarantee I get it right every time)
  • There are undoubtedly a few inaccuracies and inconsistencies in there - I do the best I can with the information out there. Some corrections are picked up month-to-month too
  • The cap figure obviously doesn't really correlate very well to the "worth" of a player in some cases, e.g. where rookie bonuses are included this year, where players are seeing out an old (underpaid or rookie) contract or where players are horrendously overpaid
  • Also, for any player who was acquired on re-entry waivers (RIP), the cap hit will only reflect that for their current team, i.e. 50% of the player’s full cap hit (shared between his current and old teams). I have taken a similar approach to players traded where cap hit is retained by his old team - only Jason Pominville of these cases so far has been injured
  • I've once again stuck a full team-by-team listing of games missed and CHIP/CMIP numbers by each player on the web HERE
  • Injury/games/TOI info courtesy of tsn.ca and nhl.com - man-games lost info more than likely does not exactly match up with the "official" figures released by individual teams
  • Cap info courtesy of capgeek.com


  1. Hey there,

    I have been digging around in a search for season by season lists of players injured per team (by name and # of games they were out for)

    Do you know if such a list exists, OR if there is some way for me to find this information out online?

    Trying to do some research on the staistical probability of a player being injured in any given year.

  2. I've got that data for the last five years. If you only need total games missed by each player, then you can get it (in web form only) from my link in the third-last bullet point above for this year - look through the links in my July 2012 post for a similar link for each of the previous four years.

    Let me know if this doesn't work or isn't quite what you want.