×
Jump to content

Ducks Hockey Forum Coyotes Hockey Forum Bruins Hockey Forum Sabres Hockey Forum Flames Hockey Forum Hurricanes Hockey Forum Blackhawks Hockey Forum Avalanche Hockey Forum Blue Jackets Hockey Forum Stars Hockey Forum Red Wings Jackets Hockey Forum Oilers Hockey Forum Panthers Hockey Forum Kings Hockey Forum Wild Hockey Forum Canadiens Hockey Forum Predators Hockey Forum Devils Hockey Forum Islanders Hockey Forum Rangers Hockey Forum Senators Hockey Forum Flyers Hockey Forum Penguins Hockey Forum Sharks Hockey Forum Blues Hockey Forum Lightning Hockey Forum Maple Leafs Hockey Forum Canucks Hockey Forum Golden Knights Hockey Forum Capitals Hockey Forum Jets Hockey Forum

News Ticker
  • News Around the NHL
Bardonshky

The value of plus/minus

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Apologies if this is misplaced. There are a million sub-forums in this joint, and while I’ve tried to cruise them before starting a topic, educating oneself on forum etiquette ain’t like it used to be. 

 

I’m sure this has been hashed out before, but it won’t go away (I suspect for good reason) it’s worth the occasional revisit. Some say the statistic is worthless. Some say it’s simply too narrow. Some legendary coaches clearly found value. Some current coaches say it’s obsolete. Some marquee players have bonuses structured at least partially based on it. 

 

I’ve got a kernel of an opinion, but I’m certainly not a stats guy -more of a watch-the-game guy. 

 

Opinions? 

Edited by Bardonshky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Bardonshky said:

Apologies if this is misplaced. There are a million sub-forums in this joint, and while I’ve tried to cruise them before starting a topic, educating oneself on forum etiquette ain’t like it used to be. 

 

I’m sure this has been hashed out before, but it won’t go away (I suspect for good reason) it’s worth the occasional revisit. Some say the statistic is worthless. Some say it’s simply too narrow. Some legendary coaches clearly found value. Some current coaches say it’s obsolete. Some marquee players have bonuses structured at least partially based on it. 

 

I’ve got a kernel of an opinion, but I’m certainly not a stats guy -more of a watch-the-game guy. 

 

Opinions? 

 

No apologies necessary. A perennial topic as you say.

 

I would count myself with you on the bolded part, but always valued plus/minus as a player (i.e. took pride in it) because it was, and still is in my opinion, a decent proxy for whether a player gives a sh!t about the puck when it's in his end or not on his stick or whatever. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

@Bardonshky

Moved topic here to "Around the NHL" as it is something that can apply to any team around the league.
Nothing wrong with the topic itself, though as you said, it HAS been discussed many times over to various degrees.

Still though, as rulesets in the NHL and stat appreciation changes within the NHL (not to mention the use of new type stats), so can opinions on the long standing stats (such as +/-), so it is pretty cool to revisit even long discussed topics at another point in time and see what people feel about it then.

 

I'll put in my feelings on it.
I think it is a good stat of evaluating strength of team (obviously a good team will give up less than they score...generally speaking), but as for individual players, I think it shouldn't be used as a be all, end all...but rather, take how good the team is AND what position a particular player plays into consideration.

For instance, I think +/- is a better measure for defenseman than it is for forwards. Why? Well, because a defenseman's primary purpose is to help prevent goals..... defend. Pretty simple.  So, if more goals are scored against while he is on the ice than scored while he is there, then it might speak to how well, or how terribly, he is doing his job.

 

Certainly this applies to forwards as well (the better defensive forwards tend to rate better on +/- than those who are mostly offense first and don't give much thought to backchecking.....BUT, and this is where I have a problem with +/- for forwards, if a guy can OUTSCORE the stat (I.E. he is a scoring machine who doesn't give a damn about defense but because he can put up 30-40 goals a year it more than offsets the 20-25 goals he may have allowed to be score against due to not backchecking/poor defensive positioning, etc).

Defensemen on the other hand, usually don't score a ton (unless you are an Erik Karlsson or John Klingberg), so therefore, how well they help prevent goals is magnified more....thus +/- for them, IMO, is more valuable.

 

But like I said when I opened my post....much of that can also depend on the team as a whole...… contenders will score more than give up, generally, and that means even the LEAST defensively minded player on the team may end up with a positive rating, and vice versa, where a team is really bad overall defensively, the goalie stinks, but it has that one good defender...who ends up deep in the minus hole simply because the rest of his mates can't prevent goals...and he certainly cannot do it all!

 

It is also interesting to note players on really terrible defensive teams who sport a pretty nice +/- rating....means that DESPITE his linemates, that player is likely going above and beyond in order to help suppress goals...and one can imagine what that stat for him would be like on a better defensive team.

 

So I feel +/- does have value...but it is best used on a case by case basis depending on player position and team....and used in conjunction with other stats, for best effectiveness.
By itself, the stat seems almost arbitrary, and not at all indicative of a given player's true abilities in goal prevention.

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

 

 

It is also interesting to note players on really terrible defensive teams who sport a pretty nice +/- rating....means that DESPITE his linemates, that player is likely going above and beyond in order to help suppress goals...and one can imagine what that stat for him would be like on a better defensive team.

 

So I feel +/- does have value...but it is best used on a case by case basis depending on player position and team....and used in conjunction with other stats, for best effectiveness.
By itself, the stat seems almost arbitrary, and not at all indicative of a given player's true abilities in goal prevention.

Your last sentence is normally how i feel with first glance on +/-. 

But your paragraph above is so true if you want to get in deep with that stat.

I'm really not that much of a stats guy other than looking for trends.

 

I hold the +/- slightly above TOI. 

Of course the 'better' players are on the ice as much as possible. But watching NHL tonight's highlights and looking at the scroll, I want to see scores and who scored not have to sit through Suter, Kane, Burns TOI's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to find +/- a dubious stat in that while applied to an individual, that individual has almost no control over the stat. For example, a player will get a "+" simply for being on the ice when a goal is scored. He could have nothing to do with the play and not even have touched the puck, yet gets a "+1" if another team mate scores a goal. Same with the minus part. A player could be skating off on a line change and if the opposing team scores a goal while he is trying to get off the ice, he gets a "-1"

 

To me it seems more of a stat to give defensemen a quantifiable value for contract negotiations, since they tend not to score as much as the forwards. Owners could easily point to goals and assists and say "You only produce at half the rate of the top forward, so you're getting half his salary." Enter the +/- stat and now the defenseman can say " Even though I only have half the number of goals and assists of the top forward, I have twice the +/- he does, which means I've stopped more goals than he has, allowing the team a better chance to win. So I should get compensated just as much as the top forward does." Or something like that.

 

I know this is an oversimplification, but +/- isn't really a good statistic to evaluate an individual when there are four other players on the ice that can have an impact on that individuals stat.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, TropicalFruitGirl26 said:

@Bardonshky

By itself, the stat seems almost arbitrary, and not at all indicative of a given player's true abilities in goal prevention.

 

Agree, an arbitrary value, not only in goal prevention but in goal impacts too. I would say, maybe a 50/50 value.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, ClusterChuck said:

Your last sentence is normally how i feel with first glance on +/-. 

But your paragraph above is so true if you want to get in deep with that stat.

I'm really not that much of a stats guy other than looking for trends.

 

I hold the +/- slightly above TOI. 

Of course the 'better' players are on the ice as much as possible. But watching NHL tonight's highlights and looking at the scroll, I want to see scores and who scored not have to sit through Suter, Kane, Burns TOI's.

You captured the part of TFG’s (thoughtful and thorough) post that piqued my interest as well. The weakness of the stat is it’s relative to so many factors. But I think that makes it a handy flag too. TOI is an example. A crummy +/- makes me want too look at TOI.  If I see a guy with a crummy +/- and high TOI, I want to know how are they getting that time. In long chunks? Then when did the goals against happen? Late in the game? Babcock getting on shift length going into Toronto opened my eyes to the difference even a few seconds make. It makes me want to see if a player or line or pair is going long early and getting chances as a result, but becoming a liability late. It informs my viewing experience? That last sentence is definitely the lamest thing I’ve said all day. 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Most Liked Posts in This Topic

    • 3
      Post
      No apologies necessary. A perennial topic as you say.   I would count myself with you on the bolded part, but always valued plus/minus as a player (i.e. took pride in it) because it was, and still is in my opinion, a decent proxy for whether a player gives a sh!t about the puck when it's in his end or not on his stick or whatever. 
    • 2
      Post
      @Bardonshky Moved topic here to "Around the NHL" as it is something that can apply to any team around the league.
      Nothing wrong with the topic itself, though as you said, it HAS been discussed many times over to various degrees.

      Still though, as rulesets in the NHL and stat appreciation changes within the NHL (not to mention the use of new type stats), so can opinions on the long standing stats (such as +/-), so it is pretty cool to revisit even long discussed topics at another point in time and see what people feel about it then.   I'll put in my feelings on it.
      I think it is a good stat of evaluating strength of team (obviously a good team will give up less than they score...generally speaking), but as for individual players, I think it shouldn't be used as a be all, end all...but rather, take how good the team is AND what position a particular player plays into consideration.

      For instance, I think +/- is a better measure for defenseman than it is for forwards. Why? Well, because a defenseman's primary purpose is to help prevent goals..... defend. Pretty simple.  So, if more goals are scored against while he is on the ice than scored while he is there, then it might speak to how well, or how terribly, he is doing his job.   Certainly this applies to forwards as well (the better defensive forwards tend to rate better on +/- than those who are mostly offense first and don't give much thought to backchecking.....BUT, and this is where I have a problem with +/- for forwards, if a guy can OUTSCORE the stat (I.E. he is a scoring machine who doesn't give a damn about defense but because he can put up 30-40 goals a year it more than offsets the 20-25 goals he may have allowed to be score against due to not backchecking/poor defensive positioning, etc).

      Defensemen on the other hand, usually don't score a ton (unless you are an Erik Karlsson or John Klingberg), so therefore, how well they help prevent goals is magnified more....thus +/- for them, IMO, is more valuable.   But like I said when I opened my post....much of that can also depend on the team as a whole...… contenders will score more than give up, generally, and that means even the LEAST defensively minded player on the team may end up with a positive rating, and vice versa, where a team is really bad overall defensively, the goalie stinks, but it has that one good defender...who ends up deep in the minus hole simply because the rest of his mates can't prevent goals...and he certainly cannot do it all!   It is also interesting to note players on really terrible defensive teams who sport a pretty nice +/- rating....means that DESPITE his linemates, that player is likely going above and beyond in order to help suppress goals...and one can imagine what that stat for him would be like on a better defensive team.   So I feel +/- does have value...but it is best used on a case by case basis depending on player position and team....and used in conjunction with other stats, for best effectiveness.
      By itself, the stat seems almost arbitrary, and not at all indicative of a given player's true abilities in goal prevention.
    • 2
      Post
      I tend to find +/- a dubious stat in that while applied to an individual, that individual has almost no control over the stat. For example, a player will get a "+" simply for being on the ice when a goal is scored. He could have nothing to do with the play and not even have touched the puck, yet gets a "+1" if another team mate scores a goal. Same with the minus part. A player could be skating off on a line change and if the opposing team scores a goal while he is trying to get off the ice, he gets a "-1"   To me it seems more of a stat to give defensemen a quantifiable value for contract negotiations, since they tend not to score as much as the forwards. Owners could easily point to goals and assists and say "You only produce at half the rate of the top forward, so you're getting half his salary." Enter the +/- stat and now the defenseman can say " Even though I only have half the number of goals and assists of the top forward, I have twice the +/- he does, which means I've stopped more goals than he has, allowing the team a better chance to win. So I should get compensated just as much as the top forward does." Or something like that.   I know this is an oversimplification, but +/- isn't really a good statistic to evaluate an individual when there are four other players on the ice that can have an impact on that individuals stat.
    • 2
      Post
      You captured the part of TFG’s (thoughtful and thorough) post that piqued my interest as well. The weakness of the stat is it’s relative to so many factors. But I think that makes it a handy flag too. TOI is an example. A crummy +/- makes me want too look at TOI.  If I see a guy with a crummy +/- and high TOI, I want to know how are they getting that time. In long chunks? Then when did the goals against happen? Late in the game? Babcock getting on shift length going into Toronto opened my eyes to the difference even a few seconds make. It makes me want to see if a player or line or pair is going long early and getting chances as a result, but becoming a liability late. It informs my viewing experience? That last sentence is definitely the lamest thing I’ve said all day.         
    • 1
      Post
      Agree, an arbitrary value, not only in goal prevention but in goal impacts too. I would say, maybe a 50/50 value.

About HF.net

 We are an enthusiastic community of HockeyFans who enjoy discussing the NHL and more in our Forums.  Our members may also write their own blogs, converse in chat, post pics in our gallery, join our fantasy hockey leagues and more.  If you are looking for a friendly community to discuss hockey then register today and begin your conversation in our NET.

 

 

Contact Us

 

Recent Topics

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!
Supporting Members help keep HockeyForums Advertisement Free
×