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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: Corsi For Percentage

Now that the Golden Knights have players, and will soon begin playing actual games and accruing statistics, we felt like now was a good time to learn the roster, by dumbing down different advanced statistics in the NHL.

Everyone understands goals, assists, points, penalty minutes, and time on ice, but for many hockey fans words like Corsi, Fenwick, PDO, and zone starts send off the instant “too much info, ignore and move on” signal. Since the Golden Knights are probably going to be bad, and the standard stats are likely to all have asterisks next to them with people saying “well someone has to score the goals,” we think it’s best if we use the downtime of July and August to take the stigma away from advanced stats, and get a feel for who the Golden Knights actual have on the roster.

Up first, Corsi and Corsi For Percentage.

Corsi is a statistic that measures the true number of shots a player takes during a game. It was created by an Edmonton Oilers blogger when he heard a GM mention the term “shot differential” but not have concrete numbers to back it up. So, like any good Internet user, he put in the research, came up with the numbers, and created a stat that’s now widely used in the NHL. So what is it exactly?

Corsi = Shots on Goal + Missed Shots + Blocked Shots Against 

It’s fairly simple, it’s just all shot attempts. Corsi can be measured for a team or for an individual. For a team, it’s simply all shot attempts. For an individual, it’s all shot attempts by the team while that player is on the ice. So, for every shot, the team gets +1 on their Corsi rating, and five players get +1 on their individual Corsi rating.

Obviously that stat means nothing if not put in context with what the other team is doing. So, each player has a “Corsi For” and a “Corsi Against” rating. Corsi Against is simply a Corsi rating for the other team while a player is on the ice.

Example time! James Neal is on the ice for the opening faceoff. The Golden Knights win the faceoff, and the puck is worked onto Neal’s stick. He shoots, wide (+1). Another Golden Knight picks it up and has a shot blocked (+1), then the other team gets it, shoots and scores (-1). Neal leaves the ice.

Corsi For – 2
Corsi Against – 1

A Corsi For rating is a good barometer of how aggressive and efficient team offenses are while a player is on the ice. Here are some of the most popular Golden Knights’ Corsi numbers from last season. (measured only at 5v5 to keep it simple)

PlayerCorsi ForCorsi Against
David Perron1005980
James Neal1048933
Jonathan Marchessault1005933
Reilly Smith10931011
Oscar Lindberg585645

Alright, now let’s put the numbers together in what’s called Corsi For Percentage (CF%). It’s a simple calculation of Corsi For / (Corsi For +Corsi Against). So let’s take Perron.

1005/(1005 + 980)=

Corsi For Percentage may be the best measure of a player’s offensive impact. According to NHL statisticians, a 55 CF% or higher is elite. Here are the top and bottom Golden Knights in CF%:

PlayerCorsi For %Games Played
Colin Miller60.34%61
Nate Schmidt53.48%60
Reilly Smith52.47%80
James Neal52.20%70
Erik Haula51.59%72
PlayerCorsi For %Games Played
William Karlsson47.54%81
Oscar Lindberg47.48%65
Deryk Engelland46.61%81
Luca Sbisa46.61%82

So what did we learn from these numbers? Well, the Vegas roster’s CF% across the board is marginal… at best. The top two Golden Knights, Miller and Schmidt, played the least amount of games to qualify (60). (Brayden McNabb had a 60.25 CF% last year, but only played 49 games) The Golden Knights that’ll need to bear the load of offense are all under the 55% mark. Smith, Neal, Karlsson, Lindberg and Perron will immediately take on more responsibility and it will be interesting to see how their CF% numbers are impacted.

It’s possible to get lost in advanced statistics but we’ll target only a few this first offseason. is here for you. We’ll move slow on analytics because… ah… well, we’re still learning too.


Whose Name Should Be On The Back Of Your Golden Knights Jersey

Next Podcast #73: CMO Fallout


  1. Heffay702

    Awesome – thanks for the information! I saw the term thrown around a lot but hadn’t gotten around to looking into what it represents. While stats only tell part of the story, I like what I am seeing out of Colin Miller. It seems like McPhee is looking for defensemen that fit that mold and are highly offensive while still upholding their defensive duty and suppressing the Corsi Against. Should be interesting to try and decode the players during their first season using some of these more advanced statistics. Can really get an idea of whether a player can accurately be described as a “two way” player.

    • We are going to be in a constant fight against cliches, and hopefully arming ourselves, and in turn arming the SinBinners, we’ll be able to truly have a grasp on our roster unlike most fan bases in hockey.

  2. James

    @Jason Pothier
    After reading about Colin Miller’s 60.34% CF% last year, I needed to do some digging. So I did. It turns out Miller is one of the most sheltered defenders in the NHL. Miller wasn’t even trusted to start a shift with a neutral zone faceoff, forget defensive zone. A perfect example of zone starts.

    • Zone Starts is next on the list. It’s a majorly important stat and one that needs to be explained as thoroughly as possible. Hang in there, it’s coming.

      • Heffay702

        Very interesting. Appears James already put Miller’s CF% under a microscope. Can’t wait to learn how to do the same. Never heard of zone starts.

        • James

          Jason Pothier does a great job of simplify the terminology. He’ll explain zone starts better than me.

          According to NHL statisticians, a 55 CF% or higher is elite. So you want to expose a 60.34 CF% player in the expansion draft? I felt that something fishy was going on. It turns out Miller was utilized as an offensive specialist.

          I would like to know how much he played with Patrice Bergeron & Brad Marchand – Playing with elite players will also improve your Corsi For Percentage.

          Corsi For Percentage isn’t reinventing the wheel, it’s just a way of measuring how a team or an individual controls the play.

          The obvious counterargument to Corsi For Percentage is not all shots are created equal – The quality versus quantity debate

  3. David

    Really great stuff! Love the work and looking foreword to following along with you guys. An important part of the game now is advanced stats, and equipping followers with the knowledge to form their own opinions and think critically, is all part of the fan experience. Big ups for this, cheers!

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