Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ian White is Better Than You Think

Perhaps it's because he's been a bit of journeyman thus far, or the result of signing so cheaply with Detroit two summers ago, but I've been getting the feeling that Ian White isn't as appreciated as he should be in the hockey world. Granted, it's not every day that a player is employed by a club facing the loss of arguably the greatest player to ever play their position. However, without Nicklas Lidstrom this season, Detroit is doing just that. Before we all jump to giddy excitement that the Red Wings could be on the outside of the playoffs looking in, let's take a look at a few of White's advanced metrics:

YearTeamOzone% (Team Rank)Corsi/60 (Team Rank)CorsiRelQoC (Team Rank)ATOI
2011-2012DET57.7 (3)13.06 (2)0.944 (2)22:59
2010-2011CGY/CAR/SJS49.4 (6/3/5)2.70 (5/1/5)-0.086 (5/7/6)19:60
2009-2010TOR/CGY57.9 (2/1)10.37 (2/3)0.739 (2/2)22:47
2008-2009TOR52.9 (4)3.92 (3)0.411 (2)22:51
2007-2008TOR53.5(2)10.86(1)0.160 (5)18:48

In layman's terms, White has been a very good Corsi player throughout his career, even when faced with tougher assignments. Problem is, he's moved around so damn much that it's kind of hard to get a clear picture of exactly where these assignments came from. His 2010-2011 is a mess considering he was traded twice, but he played a majority of that season starting in the defensive zone for non-playoff teams. I don't have the data to see if his competition or zone starts changed much in San Jose, but he still had no problem breaking even apart from many common linemates.

Also, before anyone rushes to point out that Old St. Nick was indeed his most common defensive partner last season, White again had no problem producing good numbers apart from Lidstrom. No matter which way you slice it, White is consistently outperforming other players used similarly, in Detroit or elsewhere.

Averaging .37 PPG and 1.97 SOG/G for his career with a good bit of PP TOI/G last season, the Wings could do a lot worse than moving forward with Ian White.

Note: Team rank separated by where White's numbers stacked up on each team, sans those players he was traded for.

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