Patrice Bergeron will probably never win the Hart Trophy, the main reason being that he doesn't put up enough offense.
A forward usually has to flirt with 50 goals or 100 points in order to get Hart consideration. Bergeron's career high in goals is 31; His career-high in points is 73. That won't do it.
It's funny, though, because according to the criteria by which the Hart Trophy is given out, Bergeron should be a front-runner. The award goes to the player judged most valuable to his team, and it's very easy to argue that this is Bergeron.
All you have to do is look at his league-best relative corsi percentage of +11.2.
I know, I know. Advanced stats. But I can assure you that this number, like many of the metrics in advanced statistics, isn't complicated once you get past its terrible, terrible name.
Remember: corsi is really just shot attempts -- shots on goal, shots that are blocked, shots that miss. A player's corsi rating, then, is simply what percentage of the shots attempted with him on the ice were from his team. Justin Williams boasts the league's highest corsi rating at 62.8. This allows us to confirm what any attentive viewer sees when watching the Kings: Justin Williams is good.
Here's another thing the eye tells us: some teams look better when certain guys are on the ice. And we can confirm this with relative corsi, which tells us a player's even-strength corsi rating relative to the rest of his team when he's on the bench. In other words, relative corsi tells us which players make the most difference for their clubs, and are, in turn, the most valuable.
Here are the NHL's top 10 players in relative corsi, courtesy ExtraSkater.com:
As mentioned, Patrice Bergeron is the league's most valuable player, according to this metric.
This is where Bergeron's true value as an elite centre lies: he may not be a point per game player, but no player in the league has a bigger impact on his club, from a possession standpoint, than he does. He's one of just four players who makes his team 10% better just by hopping over the boards.
Other things to note from this top 10:
• There's Williams again. He may be the league's actual most underrated player. Would he even crack most hockey fans' list of the three best Kings? He might be the best.
• Unsurprisingly, the Minnesota Wild are a much, much better team when Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise are on the ice. Same goes for the Flyers' top line, although one assumes it would be Claude Giroux, not Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell stirring the drink there.
• If there was an award for the league's most effective defines pairing, and there totally should be, in my opinion, it would go to P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov. When they're on the ice, the Canadiens are in complete control.
• Despite what the numbers say, good luck trying to convince anyone that Matt Niskanen is the Pittsburgh Penguins' most valuable player. You're probably safe sticking with Sidney Crosby, whose relative corsi of +6.0% is second on the team and top 30 in the league.
So if these guys are the MVPs, who are the LVPs? Sorting from the other direction gives us some insight:
This may be the only statistic that ever features Tom Sestito in the pole position (outside of major penalties). Look at that dropoff. The Canucks are one of the league's best possession teams -- but not when Sestito's on the ice.
Same goes for Aaron Volpatti, the player the Canucks lost on waivers, necessitating the Sestito acquisition. Canucks fans reacted like they had lost a special player in Volpatti. Not so, according to this metric.
• Gregory Campbell may have achieved legend for his willingness to stay on the ice, but the Bruins are a whole lot better when he's off of it.
• Most of these guys are fourth liners, which makes sense. They're not counted on for much more than a goof shift here or there. But Stephen Weiss, on the other hand, is supposed to be a difference-maker, and right now, he's making the wrong kind of difference. He's also making $4.9 million for another 4 years.
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