LA Kings: Advanced stats show Matt Roy was NHL’s best rookie

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Advanced stats, such as Corsi and Fenwick, show Matt Roy of the LA Kings should have won the Calder Trophy last season.

Over the last few years, hockey has shifted to a more analytical approach covering an individual player’s contributions to the game. Terms like Corsi and Fenwick are now staples on statistic pages next to the more common columns of “goals” and “plus/minus.” According to some of those advanced stats, LA Kings defenseman Matt Roy was the best rookie last year.

Drafted 194th overall in the seventh round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft out of Michigan Tech, Roy is just another gem of a find from Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti. The 25-year old is coming off a rookie year in which he finished 13th in voting for the Calder Trophy.

While some were caught off guard by the lone fifth-place vote for Roy, he should’ve received more.

Last season’s Calder Trophy race was a hot debate among NHL fans. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar took home the trophy, edging out fellow D-man Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks.

It wasn’t difficult to envision either of these players as winners for the NHL’s rookie of the year trophy. However, according to much of the possession metrics, neither Makar nor Hughes was the best rookie last year; that belongs to Matt Roy.

For the 2019–20 season, the leader for all rookie defenseman in “CF%” (Corsi for % at even strength) was Matt Roy with 56.1%. That is good to be the best CF% for any rookie defenseman since Kris Russel in 2008 for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who posted a 56.5%.

The “CF%” statistic is used to show the number of total shots (including goals, saves, misses, and blocks), compared to the total shots against while a player is on the ice. Players who have higher than 50% “CF%” tend to drive the play more offensively. Anything over 55% is considered “elite.”

Roy also led all rookie skaters in the “FF%” statistics with a 56.6%, which is pretty much the same concept for the Corsi stats, except it eliminates the shots blocked.

Do these “advanced stats” matter?

The Kings have always been considered a strong puck possession team ever since former Head Coach Darryl Sutter took over in 2011. Last season 9 of the top 10 teams in “CF%” were in the Return To Play games, the 10th team, the Los Angeles Kings.

In fact, in the Stanley Cup Championship 2013–14 season, the top two players in “CF%” were Anze Kopitar and the eventual Conn Smythe winner Justin Williams. And since the Kings’ first Stanley Cup Championship in 2012, every cup winner has been in the top ten in CF% except the Washington Capitals in 2018.

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If Roy continues to build on his solid rookie campaign, it fills a solid piece on the right side of the defensive second pair for years to come.