By the Numbers: Western Conference Trade Deadline Recap

[Editor's Note]: With the dust having settled on this year's trade deadline, many Western Conference teams have made some critical moves to upgrade their roster for a playoff run. FTF statheads The Neutral and Snark SD sat down together to look at how these deals panned out.

Over the last few seasons the Pacific division has consistently sent multiple teams into the playoffs and has been one of the most challenging divisions for conference and out-of-conference foes to face. The surge of Nashville and especially St. Louis this year has created a logjam of Central teams in the playoff hunt that's going to be great to watch as the season closes. For the first time in years Pacific teams are looking at either winning the division and claiming the 3rd spot, or falling sharply to a 6, 7, or 8th spot. The possibility of starting the playoffs on the road against some of the best teams in the league is palpable, and both LA and Phoenix have been active. Let's take a closer look at what pieces have been added by Western clubs, both today and in the past week, speculate why, and grossly exaggerate their implications.

We'll save the traditional stats for the bigger media outlets, and use a lot of stats from Gabe "The Just" at behindthenet.ca to compare players. For a full description of the stats skip to the end of the post. Of note- I've been hearing rumblings that this year's draft class isn't the most awe inspiring, which may influence the ultimate value of these trades.

Sharks acquire F Daniel Winnik, F T.J. Galiardi and a 2013 7th round pick from Colorado for F Jamie McGinn and prospects Michael Sgarbossa and Mike Connolly.

Daniel Winnik

Year Zone% CORSI rel QOC CORSI rel CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/Cap PS/82G/Cap
Career Avg 45.1 0.48 2.26 -0.05 1.83 1.47 5.70 1.93 6.08
2011-2012 46.1 0.35 5.00 6.56 1.04 0.80 0.52

T.J. Galiardi

Year Zone% CORSI rel QOC CORSI rel CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/Cap PS/82G/Cap
Career Avg 49.5 0.34 -3.23 -4.46 1.61 3.37 11.7 6.94 16.72
2011-2012 47 0.17 -2.80 -2.24 1.26 2.2 1.64

Jamie McGinn

Year Zone% CORSI rel QOC CORSI rel CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/Cap PS/82G/Cap
Career Avg 50.8 -0.202 -11.68 -4.52 1.19 1.43 5.78 2.92 8.5
2011-2012 48.9 -0.103 -12.50 -3.80 1.69 5.0 3.49

Snark: Aw Man. I'm going to really miss McGinn. If nothing else but for the sheer amount of ink spilled over him here at FTF. This is a good deal for the Sharks, the underlying and traditional numbers a good, Galiardi is a RFA next summer, and DW is likely selling high in this situation. The third line has looked good, but their CORSI has been terrible for large portions of the season. This is no doubt an upgrade from the current situation. If we look at the more comprehensive stats (more details below), The GVT, and PS/82 figures for McGinn and Winnik are nearly identical for their careers. We can basically throw out salary numbers because that won't really matter for the remainder of the year. As mentioned in earlier articles, Galiardi has potential, some of which he has shown with the Avs. His GVT and PS stats are inflated by limited time (only 35 games last season), and the great early season run of 09-10. If DW's goal today was to improve the PK from the NHL basement, this trade was a step in the right direction. But I'll leave you with this question, is the failing PK a personnel issue?

The Neutral: In my view, this is a fantastic deal for San Jose and the key piece is Winnik. There are a lot of things to love about his game, not the least of which is the fact that he managed the highest Corsi rating on the Avalanche last season despite just a 42.2% offensive zone start percentage. He's been a great possession player again this year with another hugely positive Corsi rate lining up for far more own-zone draws than offensive-zone faceoffs and playing against tough competition.

But perhaps even more enticing to the Sharks is Winnik's penalty killing ability. There's a legitimate argument to be made that he's been the best PKer in the NHL this season. 48 forwards in the league this year have appeared in at least 30 games and averaged at least 2 minutes shorthanded per game. Exactly zero of them have been on the ice for fewer shots against per minute than Daniel Winnik. We've talked about how special teams are all about shot suppression and generation and no one in the league has been better at the former than Winnik, great news for a very mediocre Sharks penalty kill.

Losing Jamie McGinn in the deal hurts (perhaps no one more than Logan Couture) but it's important to be realistic about McGinn's season to this point. While there's no doubt he's shown significant improvement from prior seasons, his goal total has served to mask some of his struggles with puck posession as his Relative Corsi of -12.5 was second-worst among Sharks forwards, although that too should be taken with a grain of salt as he spent much of his time with possession sinkhole Michal Handzus. It's still sad to see McGinn go but getting T.J. Galiardi back from Colorado softens the blow. Galiardi's career shots/game average of 1.74 is better than McGinn's 1.32. Galiardi has also averaged 17 goals per 82 games over the past two years on a not-outrageous shooting percentage of 12%.

Minnesota acquires D Tom Gilbert from Edmonton for D Nick Schultz.

Tom Gilbert

Year Zone% CORSI rel QOC CORSI rel CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/Cap PS/82G/Cap
Career Avg 45.58 0.63 4.16 -4.48 0.91 9.50 7.31 2.29 1.39
2011-2012 50.7 1.20 2.60 -2.82 0.76 3.60 5.89

Nick Schultz

Year Zone% CORSI rel QOC CORSI rel CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/Cap PS/82G/Cap
Career Avg 37.9 0.81 -5.76 -11.01 0.48 6.07 4.74 1.66 1.09
2011-2012 41 0.63 -8.70 -18.81 0.12 -1.20 6.99

Snark: Looking around to reactions from other bloggers, it seems like no one is really that happy with this move. The Oilers move one of their only offensive-defensemen, and the Wild send off both of their defensive defensemen. Ironically, Gilbert / Schultz would make a great pairing. Overall, I think its a lateral move in the end, but I would rather keep Gilbert.

The Neutral: It's no secret that the Oilers need defensemen...so trading away by far their best blueliner makes perfect sense, right? Derek Zona at The Copper & Blue has written a lot about the terrific season Gilbert is having this year, illustrating the struggles the Oilers faced with Gilbert out of the lineup due to injury and showing that Gilbert's zonestart-adjusted scoring chance ratio has not only been the best of any Oiler but that #77 is the only Edmonton player with a positive adjusted chance differential. This despite the fact that Gilbert routinely faces the toughs on Edmonton's shutdown pairing.

Schultz is solid at what he does - he's a reliable, stay-at-home defenseman whose sound positional play makes him an ideal option for the tough defensive assignments he's received in Minnesota. He struggles to move the puck north and performs best when he's paired with a defenseman who can, like Brent Burns last season. He would have been a good addition for the Oilers if, once again, it didn't come at the cost of their #1 d-man. At absolute best this is a lateral move for Edmonton and I strongly believe it isn't even that. In Gilbert, the Wild replace a lot of what they lost by trading Burns to the Sharks over the summer and although losing Schultz stings a bit, his skillset is one that's extremely undervalued by the market and as such should be easily replaceable via free agency (Nicklas Grossman, for example, is more or less the same player) while a youngster like Marco Scandella may be able to step into Schultz's role as soon as next year. I like the deal for Minnesota but this is a step backwards for Edmonton in the perpetual rebuild.

LA acquires F Jeff Carter in exchange with Columbus for D Jack Johnson and a 2013 first round (conditional) pick

Jeff Carter

Year Zone% CORSI rel QOC CORSI rel CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/Cap PS/82G/Cap
Career Avg 45.58 0.89 3.78 -0.68 1.99 9.50 7.31 2.29 1.39
2011-2012 50.7 1.60 0.40 -3.80 1.44 1.80 5.89

Jack Johnson

Year Zone% CORSI rel QOC CORSI rel CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/Cap PS/82G/Cap
Career Avg 50.12 0.51 -11.12 -7.32 0.57 6.07 4.74 1.66 1.09
2011-2012 49 0.63 -10.10 0.14 0.61 3.90 6.99

Snark: As Neutral laid out last week, getting Carter for Johnson is huge for LA. On top of that Carter is definitely due for some regression in his sh% (some of which already came at the sharks expense). His career Goals/60 TOI is1.12, and he's currently at 0.72 for the year, expect that to rise as he continues to play for LA. He's probably the best value for money in terms of the players we've seen dealt thus far, and drastically improves LA.

I went back and calulated the average GVT/82GP for the 1st round 2007-2009 draft classes, and assuming that guys that haven't cracked the NHL have a GVT of 0 (about replacement level player) the average GVT/82GP is about 5. With some simple arithmetic we can take Carter's (apprx.) career average GVT/82GP (12.1) - Jack Johnsons (7.22) + a first round (5.05) = -0.17. This somewhat justifies the trade, although I have to admit I think JJ's GVT is way inflated here. And keep in mind there is high variability among draft picks (some become super-stars, some dont make an nhl roster). The standard deviation of 1st round picks is 6.4! Meaning your first round pick is likely to be in the range of 11.5 to -1.35, essentially a top line player, or below a replacement level player. you already know this, but CLB is essentially gambling that LA's 1st pick (in a weak draft year, maybe) will be better than a 5 GVT/82GP guy.

The Neutral: I've already spilled most of my thoughts on this deal but this trade really doesn't look any less awful for Columbus four days later. Legendary Islanders coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Al Arbour once said of building a successful team, "Just get good players. Keep adding good players. You'll end up with a good team." The Jackets have rarely iced good players in their history and decided to trade one of the few they've had in Carter for a third-pairing defenseman.

Colorado acquires F Steve Downie in exchange for D Kyle Quincey, who is immediate sent to Detroit in exchange for a 2012 first round pick and a D prospect

Kyle Quincey

Year Zone% CORSI rel QOC CORSI rel CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/Cap PS/82G/Cap
Career Avg 52.575 0.22 4.73 1.27 0.52 3.80 3.65 1.23 1.78
2011-2012 56.7 0.16 4.40 7.05 0.60 6.20 6.99

Steve Downie

YEAR ZONE% CORSI REL QOC CORSI REL CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/CAP PS/82G/CAP
Career Avg 50.64 0.21 4.22 0.25 2.02 4.77 3.54 3.34 1.91
2011-2012 48.5 0.44 10.10 2.57 1.91 1.80 3.22

Snark: Although I don't know these guys well, I watched a fair amount of Downie in last year's playoffs, and Quincey the year before when the sharks were matched with Colorado in the 1st round. Both players seem like good young players that are only going to continue to develop. Their zone starts and QOC are average, but both have done well in that role. I don't think either of them are players to build a franchise around, but its clear that in the NHL depth is the key to a quality team, and Detroit's defense just got better. The only part of this trade I didn't like was moving Downie for a draft pick, although maybe he was asking for too much cash for Yzerman.

The Neutral: The most common criticism of Downie is that he takes too many undisciplined penalties. And while that's true, he also draws a ton of penalties of his own with his abrasive style of play. Over the past five seasons, including this one, Downie has taken about 1.82 unmatched minor penalties for every 60 minutes he's been on the ice 5v5, but has also drawn 1.8 minors per 60, more or less a wash.

His usefulness is also somewhat underrated; he's an effective forechecker who can drive possession as long as he isn't the centerpiece of his line. Colorado can use him to legitimately add toughness to a line with Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny without having the play die on Downie's stick every shift. Quincey is a hefty price to pay as he was leading the Avs in average ice time, an integral part of both special teams.

Although I could see Ken Holland receiving criticism (theoretically anyway - no one actually has the stones to criticize Holland) for giving up a first rounder in exchange for a guy in Quincey who he placed on waivers three and a half years ago, Quincey is a much better defenseman than he was when the Wings last saw him and I'm not convinced he would have been able to develop into the player he is today playing behind Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall and Stuart on Detroit's blueline. The one team I believe may have gotten the short end of the stick in this deal is Tampa Bay. Beyond Eric Brewer and Victor Hedman, there isn't much to like on the Bolts' blueline and Quincey could have helped fix that in a way Brian Lee and Keith Aulie will decidedly not.

Phoenix acquires F Antoine Vermette in exchange for a 2012 2nd, 2013 5th, and goalie prospect

Antoine Vermette

Year Zone% CORSI rel QOC CORSI rel CORSI P/60 GVT PS/82G GVT/82G/Cap PS/82G/Cap
Career Avg 47.52 0.65 1.78 0.48 1.85 6.17 4.01 1.64 1.07
2011-2012 44.9 0.43 10.80 5.91 1.29 1.20 1.88

Snark: The ship is sinking! Man overboard! What will Howson do next? I'm not sure what the play for Phoenix is here. I thought they would be looking for scoring pop, but it seems Dave Tippet likes his defensive players as much as Christopher Walken likes cowbell. At 1.64 GVT/82G/CAP his value for production isn't that bad, and clearly with a CORSI rel of 10.8 he was one of the better Blue Jackets this year. With an internal cap this may have been the only play phoenix has at adding scoring to their roster. Kudos as always to Tippet for putting together a playoff squad on some serious lack of coin.

The Neutral: Almost every major transaction the Coyotes make anymore just further convinces me that Phoenix GM Don Maloney is one of the shrewdest guys in hockey. Vermette's boxcar numbers, particularly his minus-17 rating, are terrible this season and were likely the impetus, along with the former Ottawa Senator's lengthy contract, for Howson to move him. The issue with that logic for Howson is that Vermette hasn't played poorly at all this year. PDO, which is the addition of a team's shooting percentage and save percentage when a player is on the ice at even strength, is generally referred to as the "luck quotient" affecting a player since the vast majority of NHLers' PDO ratings regress to 1000 over time.

Among the 256 forwards who have appeared in 50 games this season, Vermette's PDO of 952 ranks 254th, thanks in no small part to the 0.885 SV% the Jackets' goalies have posted behind him. I'm positive Maloney is aware of this and aware of the fact that Vermette has been driving play for Columbus this year in the face of some difficult competition and unfavorable zonestarts. Vermette is a fast, slippery center who dominates the faceoff circle and excels at both ends of the ice.

It's a safe bet to make that his counting numbers will once again reflect his skill level as they did for the past three seasons and that's a bet Maloney gladly took for the cost of a draft pick that only has about a 15% chance of turning into a quality NHLer. Vermette has been playing on Phoenix's second line with Lauri Korpikoski and captain Shane Doan, giving the Yotes some solid forward depth heading into the home stretch and beyond.

There were other deadline deals involving Western teams as well so be sure to check out On the Forecheck's perspective on Nashville's acquisitions of Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad as well as Cam Charron's take on the Cody Hodgson/Zack Kassian swap over at Canucks Army.

***Stat Glossary

The first 2 stats are contextual stats. that is, players have no (theoretical) ability to control who and where their coach deploys them. They also greatly influence the other statistics. Players with low zone% and high CORSI rel QOC have much tougher assignments. This causes significant reductions in all traditional and non traditional stats.

Zone% - # time a player starts a shift in his offensive zone / (# time a player starts a shift in his offensive zone + # time a player starts a shift in his defensive zone) As mentioned above this is a context stat which players have no control over, and greatly influences all other stats. Many times it's controlled for when using advanced stats.

CORSI rel QOC - CORSI (plus-minus of all goals, shots, misses, and blocks) relative (CORSI while skater is on the ice - CORSI while he is off), and quality of competition (average of CORSI rel of the skaters compeition). Taken together this is our best estimate of the level of competition a skater faces. It's heavily confounded, and not incredibly reliable and also a context stat that can be controlled for when using traditional and non traditional advanced stats.

P/60 - Even strength Points per 60 min Time on Ice. This is the average amount of points (G, A, A2) a player would accrue if he played an entire game (60min) at even strength. It's good to put stats into rates (eg. per 60 min TOI) to remove confonders such as games player, TOI/G, power play, and penalty kill inflation.

Goals versus Threshold (GVT) - I won't go into painful detail and refer you to Tom Awad here for the algortyhm. It's basically an attempt at WAR for hockey. We estimate how many goals above (or below) a replacement player thorugh GVT, I put into the category of "summation" statistics in my brain. Meaning stats that allow comparison of all types of players, including (although I'm not found of) goalies. We then apply Cap hit to these numbers to estimate value per dollar.

Point Shares - Devloped by hockey reference, this is basically a less rigorous version of GVT, which tries to assign standings points to individual to skaters on a roster. Again a summation statistic. The obvious short coming of these are the over generalization of player contribution, and inheret bias as to what each player's contribution should be (or has been.

CAP - This is the cap hit a player's contract is currently under, eg. $1.85 M for Downie, RFA at the end of the year.

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