2 January 2010

The Pain Game

Injury stats update – December 2009

[Looking for more up-to-date figures? For my latest update, try HERE.]

This is my third look for the 2009/10 regular season - and we're now roughly at the mid-point - at which teams have been hit hardest by injuries by trying to place a value on the games missed by players due to injury/illness.

(The corresponding analysis as at the end of November 2009 can be viewed HERE.)

The concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his 2009/10 cap charge, then take the aggregate of these figures for each team and divide by 82. This indicator of value lost to a team by injury/illness is called CHIP (Cap Hit of Injured Players).

Yes, I'm still doing the extra bit ...

As last month, for a different indicator of player "value", I've also illustrated a similar metric based on TOI/G alongside the CHIP numbers.

While acknowledging cap charge is a less than perfect measure of player, with a number of limitations and inconsistencies, I'm not totally sold on TOI/G as being any better overall (Tom Poti is more valuable to the Capitals than Alex Ovechkin. Discuss.) - it does provide a decent comparison and the results do vary from the CHIP rankings somewhat.

A quick summary of the new metric:

  • TOI/G (through games played on 31 December) replaces cap charge as the measure of value in the calculation
  • For goalies, TOI/G has been worked out as Total Minutes Played / Games Dressed For - i.e. a goalie playing every minute of 75% of the games, zero in the rest, would end up with a TOI/G of 45 minutes (or close to it, once you factor in OT and so on)
  • This arguably overstates the worth of starting goalies somewhat, but it's simple and you could equally argue that a workhorse goalie is the hardest position to replace, so it's fair for them to have a much higher TOI/G figure
  • Where a player hasn't played all year (e.g. Pavol Demitra, Mike Van Ryn) or where a player fairly clearly has a reduced TOI/G figure due to getting injured in their only game or one of very few games (Kurt Sauer), I've used TOI/G from last season (or further back if necessary)
  • For each player, multiply games missed by TOI/G to get (for a more palatable name) Cumulative Minutes of Injured Player (CMIP)
  • Take the aggregate of CMIP for the team and divide by games played by the team to arrive at AMIP (Average Minutes of Injured Players) - it feels more understandable expressing this metric as an average per game (whereas CHIP is a running total)
The figures...

The table below shows:

  • Total CHIP for each team over the first three months of the 2009/10 regular season (through games played on 31 December)
  • The player who has contributed most to the team's CHIP figure
  • The number of players with a CHIP contribution of over $250,000 (think of it as being equivalent to a $1m player missing 20 games or a $4m player missing five games)
  • Movement in CHIP ranking since 30 November
  • AMIP for each team over the same period (e.g. an AMIP of 40:00 could be seen as the team missing two 20-minute per game players for every game this season)

10 second analysis...

The Oilers have now forged "ahead" in the standings pretty significantly. While Vancouver's problems have eased somewhat with the return of Daniel Sedin, Edmonton has continued to rack up the cap hit and minutes lost, with the long-term absences of Hemsky and Pisani being added to by Khabibulin's injury throughout December.

Injuries to several big names on the Red Wings roster see them take over second place. I hear Chris Chelios is still available...

Again, inflated AMIP numbers relative to the CHIP ranking can largely be attributed to where starting goalies have been out for the whole year (or a significant period). And I can confirm that calling Lehtonen and DiPietro "starting" goalies did indeed win the 2009 Nobel Prize for Use of an Oxymoron.

The next lists are the top 30 individual CHIP and CMIP contributions:

Markov's return should see his lead of the CHIP race end soon (provided he doesn't get a bad back from bending over to pat the heads of his team-mates after every goal). Again, goalies dominate more on the CMIP basis.


  • Figures include (and are arguably distorted by) some players on long-term IR, such as Mike Rathje (there’s a fair argument that Rathje shouldn’t be on here, since I can’t imagine he’ll either play again or that the Flyers are missing him - and his TOI/G number from 1973/74 when he last played is clearly overstating his value a touch). They do exclude a few minor-leaguers who are or had been on the NHL club’s IR since pre-season
  • There are undoubtedly a few inaccuracies and inconsistencies in there - I did the best I could with the information out there. Some corrections are picked up month-to-month too
  • The cap figure doesn't really correlate very well to the "worth" of a player in some cases, e.g. where rookie bonuses are included this year, where players are seeing out an old (underpaid or rookie) contract or where players are horrendously overpaid
  • Also, for any player who was acquired on re-entry waivers (e.g. Sean Avery, Randy Jones), the cap hit will only reflect that for their current team, i.e. 50% of the player’s full cap hit (shared between his current and old teams)
  • I've once again stuck a full team-by-team listing of games missed and CHIP/CMIP numbers by each player on the web HERE
  • Injury/games/TOI info courtesy of tsn.ca and nhl.com
  • Cap info courtesy of hockeybuzz.com and capgeek.com


  1. Excellent analysis. Thank you for the tough work.

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