Why Tyler Myers isn't much of an upgrade on Zach Bogosian

Garret Hohl
February 11 2015 12:56PM

In case you slept in this morning, which I definitely didn't do, the Winnipeg Jets made a big trade today. 

No longer Kevin "no NHL player-for-player trades" Cheveldayoff, the Jets General Manager was able to move Evander Kane to the Buffalo Sabres. An interesting side plot though was the additional trade of young, right-handed defensemen Zach Bogosian and Tyler Myers.

Let's look at what the numbers say about this swap.

All numbers are for 2011-12 season to present unless otherwise stated.

The Basics

Screen shot 2015-02-11 at 11.04.07 AM

At a cursory glance, Myers seems like the inferior player.

Bogosian has put up points at a better pace at 5v5, scoring above the 0.74 rate for top pair defensemen. Myers on the other hand has scored at a rate lesser than the average for a second pair defender.

Both have had a similar impact on their team's unblocked shot differentials (Fenwick), although Bogosian has been playing 1 percentage point under a 51.3% team, not a 43.2% team. Myers though has taken a larger share of the team's defensive zone starts.

Myers has outscored Bogosian on the power play, despite playing on a team that doesn't produce as much shot volume as the Jets do.

On the penalty kill, Bogosian has vastly outperformed Myers. The Jets are a far better Corsi team on the shorthanded (best predictor of future PK success), and Bogosian improves the Jets there by 2.8 percentage points. Myers though actually hurts his team by 2.1 percentage points.

There is a caveat to all of this; Myers has played on a historically bad team. It is difficult to make adjustments to how much better Myers' numbers will be when he's surrounded by far better talent.

There are two different ways to try and even the playing field: dCorsi and Usage-Adjusted Corsi.

Steve Burtch's dCorsi

Burtch's method looks at how a player out performs their usage in terms of expected shot volume production and suppression.

Screen shot 2015-02-11 at 11.15.04 AM

The above numbers are for each season since 2011-12. The numbers have fluctuated between the two severely but there is a trend. Bogosian tends to be the better shot volume producer, while Myers has been the better shot volume suppressor.

This becomes more obvious when you combine seasons. Bogosian overall impact on shot attempt rate has been to decrease shot volume by about 0.6 Corsi events per 60 minutes and increase shot volume against by 2.0 Corsi events. Overall his impact is estimated at -2.6 Corsi events in the team's differential per sixty.

Myers meanwhile has reduced shot attempts for by about 1.1, while increasing shot volume against by 0.1. Overall his impact has been -1.0 Corsi events in the team's differential per 60.

Domenic Galamini's Usage-Adjusted Corsi

Galamini looks at it from a different perspective. Instead of seeing how a player outperforms their usage, Galamini tries to estimate what a player's Corsi% would look like if every player had the same usage factors.

Screen shot 2015-02-11 at 11.29.40 AM

While Burtch's dCorsi tended to place Myers in a better light, Galamini's usage-adjusted Corsi seems to do the opposite. The final tally places Bogosian's combined four season UAC% at 49.2, while Myers is at 47.6.

Closing Thoughts

One method places Bogosian as the better two-way player, while the other method does the opposite. The biggest difference between the two methods is the impact in zone starts. Galamini's method ignores zone starts but instead removes the first few seconds after a non-neutral zone face off. Which method is superior remains to be seen.

Either way, it appears though that both Bogosian and Myers are two big, right-handed defenders that are not the best in improving a team's shot differential. Both teams will be hoping that a fresh start will awaken the potential in these young defenders.

For the most part this portion of the Kane mega-trade looks to be a wash. The Sabres do reduce their CapHit by about $350K, but that's small potatoes for a team that isn't pressed up against the salary cap. 

The margin is narrow enough that which team ends up with the better defender as a result of this deal will likely depend more on latent variables (often mistakenly called intangibles) such as impact on the room and chemistry. As it looks for now, the two seem to be pretty similar players. 

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I like hockey. I like numbers. I like the Jets. I have written for the Winnipeg Free Press, Jets Nations, Hockey-Graphs, Arctic Ice Hockey, and Hockey Prospectus. Currently I am managing Jets Nation and you can catch me tweeting @GarretHohl.
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#1 Tibbles
February 11 2015, 03:48PM
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This is a well put-together article, but I have come to the conclusion that Myers is definitely better(or at least more valuable) than Bogosian, partially because, in the end, I believe no statistic designed for general usage in the National Hockey League (or any league, for that matter)fully compensates for the unadulterated awfulness that has been the Buffalo Sabres for the last year-and-a-half. Myers has also been less injury-prone (especially as of late).

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#3 X
February 11 2015, 04:52PM
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Better hair. Even then, moreso now.

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#4 X
February 11 2015, 04:54PM
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No surprise that Myers is challenged generating shots, can you imagine what it is like trying to get out of your zone playing for Buffalo the last two seasons?

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#5 trashtumbler
February 12 2015, 01:07AM
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I understand that your article was about comparing the two players but this wasn't just a one-for-one swap. I am not sure that anyone can assess one part of this 8 "part" transaction. The value each team received was judged by each side on the total package otherwise it could have been a simple Bogosian for Myers swap or a Kane for Stafford, 2 prospects and a 1st round draft choice only. In other words, the value of each piece goes much further than numbers as both the article and a pervious poster have alluded to.

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#6 X
February 12 2015, 06:36AM
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@trashtumbler

Sure, but the largest tangible impact on the ice is going to be the absence of Bogo and the presence of Myers.

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#7 gd
February 12 2015, 11:48AM
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Underrated part of the deal is actual salary. Jets aren't a cap team, they're a budget team. Though the cap hits are similar, Bogo's salary rises over the deal while Myers' declines, meaning the Jets will pay him less actual dollars than they would have to Bogo. Not insignificant.

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#8 X
February 12 2015, 02:50PM
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Has anyone considered passing related to these players? Watching bogosian play, it seems like he makes a few bad passes every game that either lead to turnovers or icings against the jets. I don't know too much about myers but I suspect he's a bad passer as it is never mentioned as one of his strengths, he might also be a bad passer.

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