Zorg-a-Bear

This is Zach Stortini, the man with many nick names: à la Zorg and HuggyBear. I used to like HuggyBear and then he started to throw the fist so I switch to Zorg. Hat tip to Bruce and his wit.

Today, I am going to compare Zorg to five other players that I think his fighting style and game play are equatable with. They are Ben Eager and Adam Burish from the Blackhawks, Colton Orr from the New Yorker Rangers, Jared Boll from the Columbus Blue Jackets and, lastly, Cam Janssen from the St. Louis Blues. I believe that these guys are all NHL middle-weights who can challenge the heavy-weights, and they all play a physical, agitating game.

In all cases, I am using the last two years of data, rather then just the 2008-09 season. I chose to only use two seasons for two reasons: 1) because Sean, my co-writer, has down the break down of Penalties for the last two seasons, and 2) because it gives a more consistent number than just the last season.

TOI/G
1) Burish (10:28)
2) Boll (8:26)
3) Zorg (7:43)
4) Eager/Orr (7:09)
6) Janseen (6:04)
My good friend Sachia, thinks this is the most important stat in relationship to the last work I did on fighters. I disagree, because not all coaches use their fourth lines the same way. As I have been told over and over by CBC, Quennville uses his fourth liners more than most coaches, and MacT rarely used his til the last 20 games of the 2008-09 season. Overall Zorg did a decent job here falling in the middle of the pack.

Games
1) Orr (156)
2) Boll (150)
3) Burish (147)
4) Zorg (118)
5) Eager (107)
6) Janssen (68)
I included this so that we can make more sense of the rest of the stats. SMac games (in which Zorg did not play) are not an excuse since there are multiple 'enforcers' on NYR, CBJ and CHI and the three players that finished 30 games ahead of him play on. Zorg needs to improve his overall game so that the new coach cannot take him out as easily.

AP/GP
1) Stortini (0.58)
2) Boll (0.47)
3) Janssen (0.46)
4) Orr (0.37)
5) Burish (0.35)
6) Eager (0.34)
I think this is the most important stat because each of these players is employed to be aggressive. There are two clumps in this ranking system with Zorg clearly ahead of the others. I think this serves the Oiler going forward, if he can keep up the pace.

LP/GP
1) Janssen (0.07)
2) Zorg (0.09)
3) Orr (0.12)
3) Burish (0.12)
5) Boll (0.15)
6) Eager (0.19)
All of the players with the exception of Eager (and it could be argued Boll) did a good job keeping their LP/GP down. This is a key to their success in the league, because coaches will be less willing to play them if they keep taking Lazy penalties and putting their team on the PK.

Differential
1) Zorg (0.51)
2) Janssen (0.39)
3) Boll (0.32)
4) Orr (0.25)
5) Burish (0.23)
6) Eager (0.05)
This stat is the AP/GP minus the LP/GP, it was designed for non-fighters to see if they take more LP then AP. I would say that a fighter should have minimum 0.25. The BlackHawk are terrible on this and the four others good, with Zorg being exceptional.

Points (total in two years)
1) Boll (9-15-24)
2) Zorg (9-14-23)
3) Burish (10-7-17)
3) Eager (11-6-17)
5) Orr (1-4-5)
5) Janssen (1-4-5)
This is quite bad for Orr since he played over twice the number of games Janssen did, but still tied him. Since Zorg finished 4th in games and 2nd in points I think he is chipping in at a reasonable rate for a player of his ilk.

Penalties Draw (per year)
1)Boll (19.5)
2) Burish (12.5)
3) Zorg (12)
4) Eager (11.5)
5) Orr (9)
6) Janssen (4)
Boll is obviously better at this than the others, and Janssen is terrible at this- for gods sake, Boll almost has 500% more penalties drawn a year. Our boy, Zorg, is in the cluster, but on the high side of it. Zorg needs to become a little more of a pest, to further establish himself.

Hits per Game (or Hits/G; new stat, made it up this morning)
1) Boll (1.92)
2) Orr (1.79)
3) Zorg (1.64)
4) Janssen (1.35)
5) Eager (1.19)
6) Burish (0.93)
I made this up to calculate how players hit in relationship to the games they play. I think the Hits/60 would be a more detailed stat (telling us more about their game), but it would take too long for me to calculate. I think Zorg does well here again, being just as far away from 4th as he is close to 1st.

Qual Comp (rankings out of forwards on the team)
1) Burish (12.5 th)
2) Orr (14th)
3) Boll (15.5th)
4) Eager (16.5)
5) Zorg (17.5th)
5) Janseen (17.5th)
This one is a little more complicated. What I did was take their ranking per season and calculate the average: i.e. Zorg finished 16th on the Oilers team facing the toughest competition in 2007-08, and 19th in 2008-09, so his average was 17.5th overall. I think there are some problems with this, but it does give us clues about what type of players they played against. The fact that Burish is so much higher then Zorg either shows that Burish's coach trusts him against the better opponents or that his coach is more willing to roll four lines than line match (and I am sure it is a bit of both, since the former leads to the latter). Zorg was terrible at this, this needs to improve or he'll be traded or demoted (IMO).

Overall
1) Boll (20 points)
2) Zorg (24 points)
3) Burish (28 points)
4) Orr (30 points)
5) Janssen (38 points)
6) Eager (44 points)
This is calculated by adding up their rankings in the preceding nine categories, each ranking number represents the equivalent amount of points. This lowest ranking, takes the top overall position.
I am not shocked that Boll wins, because he was pretty dominate in most categories, and if you watch him play he is both a good fighter and a good positional player. I think for Zorg to have finished second overall is about where he fits, I mean I like the boy so I am totally biased.

Between this and the last post I did, I think clear evidence is emerging that Zorg is not a player the Oilers should part with easily (if he must be traded then so be it, but we will need to look hard to find a replacement). In the larger study he does well against multiple weight-classes over a small number of variables. Against his own weight-class (middle-weights that can, if necessary, fight the big boys) he does extremely well in a smaller sample size over more variables. Even though the sample size is smaller, I put more emphasis in the second experiment since the variables are more inclusive (with penalty stats, points, games, TOI/G, and Hits).

Good job, Zorg. You have earned your new nick name.

13 comments:

Coach pb9617 said...

Player ….. H/Mn ….. H/15 ….. H/60
Orr ….. 0.250 ….. 3.76 ….. 15.02
Boll ….. 0.228 ….. 3.42 ….. 13.66
Janssen ….. 0.223 ….. 3.34 ….. 13.35
Zorg ….. 0.157 ….. 2.35 ….. 9.40
Eager ….. 0.154 ….. 2.31 ….. 9.25
Burish ….. 0.130 ….. 1.95 ….. 7.80

B.C.B. said...

Thanks for doing the math coach! If you redo the math based on this ranking, the Overall Category is still the same.
But I am kinda disappointed in this for Zorg, I'd hope that he would do better then 9.40 hits/60. He is definitely clumped in the wrong group to claim he is being effective. Over next year, Zorg will need to hit a lot more.

Coach pb9617 said...

Points

Player ….. P/15 ….. P/60
Eager ….. 0.33 ….. 1.33
Boll ….. 0.28 ….. 1.14
Zorg ….. 0.28 ….. 1.12
Burish ….. 0.22 ….. 0.90
Janssen ….. 0.15 ….. 0.62
Orr ….. 0.08 ….. 0.32


How about ES Goal Differential?

Player ….. DIFF/60
Zorg ….. 0.071
Eager ….. (0.332)
Boll ….. (0.344)
Burish ….. (0.582)
Janssen ….. (0.617)
Orr ….. (1.839)

Over the last two years, Zorg is the only one to outscore his opponents. Granted, only by one goal, but stil...

B.C.B. said...

I think both of those categories help with an overall all picture.
Truthfully I am a little shocked to see that Zorg's Pts/60 is that low: with his low rankings on ice-time or Games, and his second highest Pts total, I'd thought it would be higher.
The ES Goal Differential is really important. Because a winning team needs to out score 4 line against 4 line. That is necessary for winning games, or you will have to rely on thr 1st liners to really out score. I think Zorg being on the plus side of this is important going forward for him.
How about these ones:

Player ......Blocked shots
Burish . . . . 103
Orr . . . . . . . 39
Zorg . . . . . . 27
Boll . . . . . . . 26
Eager . . . . . 11
Janssen . . . . 3

Burish obviously takes the cake with this one (My guess is that it is a reflection of his special teams play, see below). Orr/Zorg/Boll, all do a decent job blocking shots in their limited ice-time, but these has always been a key to Zorgs future increased role on the Oilers.

If Zorg, can demonstrate that he can block shots better and increase his skating, I think he would become an option on the PK. This will be important to further establish himself (I am not saying that Zorg could ever play over 2 minutes of PK TOI/G, but around 1 minute is reasonable to lighten up other peoples work load and in case someone gets injured).

Player ..........SH TOI/G (averaged out over 2 years)
Burish . . . . . . 2:21
Everyone else . . . 0

Player .......... PP TOI/G (averaged out over 2 years)
Burish . . . . . . . . 0:08
Boll . . . . . . . . . . 0:07
Zorg/Eager . . . . . 0:05
Orr . . . . . . . . . . .0:04
Janssen . . . . . . . .0:01

Well from these we can tell that only Burish has special teams value to his team, and then only on the PK. None of these players play enough to be even considered to be deployed as a screen. I would say all the PP numbers come from them playing the PP in the third when their team has a strangle hold on the game.
As I said before, I believe Zorg could become a good PK in a limited role in the future for the Oilers.

Bruce said...

Nice post, B.C.B. I'm biased too, I like Zorg, but you have documented some of the reasons why here. Interesting group of comps, I would suggest Burish is a different category player but the rest are pretty reasonable.

Player ….. H/Mn ….. H/15 ….. H/60
Orr ….. 0.250 ….. 3.76 ….. 15.02
Boll ….. 0.228 ….. 3.42 ….. 13.66
Janssen ….. 0.223 ….. 3.34 ….. 13.35
Zorg ….. 0.157 ….. 2.35 ….. 9.40
Eager ….. 0.154 ….. 2.31 ….. 9.25
Burish ….. 0.130 ….. 1.95 ….. 7.80
Coach: I get 194 hits in 905:44 for Zorg over the past two years, or 0.215/min, 3.21/15, or 12.85/60. Very comparable to the top guys on this list in other words. Not quite sure how you came up with the numbers you did. (B.C.B. Feel better now?)

Furthermore, Hits are widely variable from team to team due to scoring inconsistencies. According to HockeyAnalysis.com, NYR hits were overstated by 27%, CBJ by 20%, and Oilers' hits UNDERstated by over 8%. Applying that site's "adjusted hits" ratios for the past season to the stats of the above players for the past two seasons (not a perfect fix, but probably closer than raw numbers) a new scenario emerges. I'll just give you Hits/60:
Zorg 14.02
Janssen 13.10
Orr 11.97
Boll 11.39
Eager 9.69
Burish 8.17
(B.C.B. Feel much better now?)

Here's one more list for you, age of the players under review:
Orr 27
Burish 26
Janssen 25
Eager 25
Zorg 23
Boll 23 next week
I think our man Zorg stacks up rather well, don't you?

B.C.B. said...

Hey Bruce . . . I also found doing the comparisons that Burish is a different type of players as well. But what is done is done.

I feel better with your numbers on hits, especially since I watch a lot of rangers game (since I live in the eastern time zone) and would say the Orr hits less then Zorg.

Thanks everyone for helping expand the post.

Coach pb9617 said...

Wow, holy shit. Nice catch, Bruce. I had a major error in a calc

Corrected:

Player ….. H/Mn ….. H/15 ….. H/60
Orr ….. 0.251 ….. 3.77 ….. 15.08
Janssen ….. 0.250 ….. 3.76 ….. 15.02
Boll ….. 0.227 ….. 3.41 ….. 13.63
Zorg ….. 0.211 ….. 3.16 ….. 12.64
Eager ….. 0.154 ….. 2.32 ….. 9.26
Burish ….. 0.088 ….. 1.32 ….. 5.26

Bruce said...

Truthfully I am a little shocked to see that Zorg's Pts/60 is that low: with his low rankings on ice-time or Games, and his second highest Pts total, I'd thought it would be higher.

B.C.B. So was I, so I doublechecked Coach's P/60 calc and found it to be similarly low as his Hits/60, suggesting that the calc error was in the divisor (raw TOI). My results are 23 points in 905 minutes, or 1.52 P/60, which puts him at the top of the list of guys being considered here.

In 2008-09, Zorg finished third among Oilers with 20+ GP by this metric with a respectable 1.76. Hardly a natural offensive player, but he knows where the net is and tends to create a little mayhem when he gets there.

I still can't believe MacT pressboxed him for 8 games running after the deadline. That was nothing short of a blunder.

B.C.B. said...

Overall, I think Zorg has been used poorly over the last season.

1- In TC, Zorg was being used on the PK (and from watching I thought he did a decent job: even if it was against AHL opposition). During the season, the PK sucked! But there was little change in personal on the PK. I don't think trying Zorg out at :30 SH TOI/G, would have made the PK worse. It would have been a chance to at least see if Zorg could swim with the big fish for a couple shifts. If it doesn't work out, we are still second worse in the league.

2- Early in the season, SMac was taking Zorg's on a regular basis. At first, I thought the Oilers where trying to see how SMac was as a player, but then I thought is was that MacT had little trust in Zorg. Zorg sat in the Press Box, for too long in the beginning of the season.

3- Zorg was a more effective player then Moreau for most of the season. But Moreau got minutes all season long. I am not saying Zorg should have replaced him on the third line, but taking a minute away from Moreau and giving it to Zorg would have been an idea at least.

4- that 8 game run of the deadline. BLUNDER, seconded.

5- not setting up an effective fourth line earlier in the season. The rotation on the fourth line (it seemed like it changed every second game, regardless of the results on the ice) hampered the effectiveness of this line. I would say that this effected Poo and Brods as well. If those three where put together for 5-7 games in a row to see what they could do, I think they all would had a better season.

Bruce said...

If it doesn't work out, we are still second worse in the league.

B.C.B. My respect for your opinion grows as I continue to read such nuggets of plain old horse sense. As opposed to that other form of horse stuff, which is how we both view MacT's handling of Zorg this past year. He continued to develop as a player, yet was cut back from 66 GP to 52, from 530 minutes to 375. A little bit was the injury, the rest???

I would say that this effected Poo and Brods as well. If those three where put together for 5-7 games in a row to see what they could do, I think they all would had a better season.

100% agreed. Poo isn't GlenX, but he's more or less a fourth liner playing for fourth line money, he brings his own skill set to the table, let the three of them have at 'er for a while and let them gel at least a tiny bit. Not only did they never benefit from consistent linemates, Poo and Zorg were themselves in the "rotation" (which I envision as a giant ferris wheel stretching from the ice to the press box :). I can't remember specifics of line-up tinkering, but am sure one replaced the other as 12th forward on more than a few occasions.

If I'm the new coach next year I consider making a "2003 Line" of Pouliot centring JFJ and Stortini and giving them 4th line minutes 'til the end of October at minimum. I really don't think you'd have to wait even that long to see an effective unit. The key word being "unit".

Switch in Brodz if he's not up on third line by then, or Reddox. Just pick three of them, and stay with them. Those boys will all be 24-25 and more than able to handle themselves, especially if they don't have to carry a weaker linemate such as SMac.

Coach pb9617 said...

If I'm the new coach next year I consider making a "2003 Line" of Pouliot centring JFJ and Stortini and giving them 4th line minutes 'til the end of October at minimum. I really don't think you'd have to wait even that long to see an effective unit. The key word being "unit".Damn fine idea Bruce. It's a cheap line and if Brodziak is at all ready to handle the 3rd line minutes, they're in good shape.

Bruce said...

Coach: I like it. Plan B is to put Poo at 3C and leave Brodz to play with Zorg and JFJ/Reddox. 51-46 already have great chemistry, in part due to Brodz's ability to dump the puck and to create offence by driving straight to the scoring area.

B.C.B. said...

Come on, folks . . . Poo and Brodz should not be our 3rd and 4th centres heading into the season. That is what every one else said last time this year.

-the third line centre should be a veteran, to add depth to the position, even if it means cutting another expensive 3/4 liner (aka Moreau).

-Poo and JFJ should have to fight it out on the fourth line, till someone wins in training camp or there is an injury.

- Brod and Zorg start on the fourth line, period.