Fun With Numbers: New Ranking System Brought To You By CBS Sports

Dustin Brown seems confused, and I can’t blame him.

The hockey world has come a long way in recent years when it comes to both its acceptance, and its usage, of advanced stats. Readers of this blog have come to be familiar with them; more often than not we use those very underlying metrics in our analysis to try to explain what our eyes are telling us is happening. The way we see and think the game has definitely taken a step in the right direction because of it. We’ve just grazed the surface though, but individuals such as Eric Tulsky are doing a phenomenal job in helping expedite the process.

With all of that being said, there are still fossils out there who are set in their ways, falling back on the crutch that are stats such as hits, blocked shots, and plus/minus. Those are probably the same people that will tell you that you have to have a lot of grit and heart to be a successful team. 

Those people that I’m referring to seem to putting together formulas for CBS Sports, apparently. 

Read Past the Jump for the Goods.

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning right now; I’m looking at a bunch of nicely wrapped presents, and I don’t know where to start the process of ripping them apart. There is so much gold to sift through, and present to you, that I guess I can’t really go wrong starting anywhere. In case you’d like to take a gander for yourself, click here.

Essentially, CBS decided to take a *unique* approach towards ranking players for its audience. It has provided us with 7 different categories: scorers, playmakers, clutch scorers, offensive defensemen, defensive defensemen, tough guys, and goalies.

What kind of system did they use to sort players in each of these particular categories, is a question that you may or may not be asking yourself. Here are some samples:


(2*G + 0.75*A + 3*PPG + 3*SHG + 5*OTG + 5*GWG)/Games Played

"The scorer ranking rates players who are adept at putting the puck in the net."

Steven Stamkos? He’s alright, with his 20 goals (more than 1/3 of the total goals scored by the Nashville Predators franchise). But are you familiar with well-known snipers Rob Klinkhammer and Chris Terry, who sit atop the list? 

Everything makes more sense now, though. Jordan Clarke wrote about how despite thriving in the puck possession metric the Canucks aren’t necessarily translating into goals at the moment. Little does he know that it can all be explained by the fact that the Canucks don’t have a Top-50 goal scorer on their roster. Obviously.

Roberto Luongo (the 23rd best goalie in the NHL) for Rob Klinkhammer. Who blinks first? I betcha the answer isn’t CBS Sports.

Defensive Defenseman Rating 

(15*G + 15*A + 10*plus/minus + 40*hits + 40*blocked shots)/Games Played

"The defensive defenseman ranking rates players who are adept at keeping opponents from scoring. Defensive defensemen are also rewarded for chipping in, too."

The Canucks don’t have a player that makes the list. The Philadelphia Flyers, on the other hand, have 3 of the top 40 defensive defensemen in the entire league, and 2 of the top 6. How bad does that make Ilya Bryzgalov, then? The Flyers give up the third most goals against in the league.

Tough Guy Rating 

(PIM + 5*fights + 2*roughing penalties)/Games Played

"The tough guy ranking rates players who play a physical game to protect a team’s stars, and often end up in the penalty box."

You’re not winning in today’s NHL without some serious grit in your lineup. Simply put, the opposing team needs to be forcefully dissuaded from taking liberties with your stars. I wonder if the Canucks’ recent slide has to do with the fact that Tom Sestito (the 28th toughest dude in the league) is tough, but just not tough enough, apparently. And to think, Mike Brown could have been had for a conditional 4th round pick.


It turns out we still have a ways to go in the way we analyze hockey. Either that, or the Canucks are royally screwed.