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Vulgar Statistics: Ryan O’Reilly, The Numbers You Don’t See


Since so many people are kicking around the merits of trading for the Colorado Avalanche’s Ryan O’Reilly, I figured I’d throw up a short piece putting O’Reilly in perspective.  And just so we’re clear from the outset, I would move either Ennis or Hodgson for O’Reilly in a second.

The numbers you see:

In 81 games last season, O’Reilly had 18 points and 37 assists for 55 points in 81 game which was by far his most productive season.  That’s only slightly worse than the 25-32-57 that Ennis’s last season projects to.  I think it’s easy to look at those numbers alone and scoff at O’Reilly as a lateral move at best.  We must go deeper.

First of all, O’Reilly is a big body at 6-0 and 205 pounds and would immediately become our biggest center capable of producing points.  In fact, he’d be among our larger forwards that are, you know, on the ice to play hockey.

Last year, O’Reilly led the league with 101 takeaways.  That, when coupled with 34 giveaways is a fantastic number.  And it’s not an aberration either as his two seasons previous were also high takeaway, low giveaway efforts.  For comparison last season’s best Sabres were Derek Roy with 46 takeaways (59 GvA), and Matt Ellis with 7 giveaways in 60 games (22 TkA).

But the advanced stats are where O’Reilly really shines.  Last season he had a Relative Corsi Quality of Competition of .891, a Relative Corsi of 12.4, and an Offensive Zone Starting Percentage of 50.0%.  What does this all mean?

The QoC means that O’Reilly was matched among the best opponents.  The Relative Corsi is his shots for and against per 60 minutes on the ice compared to his team’s shots for and against per 60 minutes when he is not on the ice.  A high relative Corsi means that the Avalanche attempted significantly more shots than allowed with O’Reilly on the ice than off.  The OZSP measures how often O’Reilly started play, i.e. took a faceoff, in the offensive zone.  It’s good for this number to be relatively low because it means that O’Reilly wasn’t sheltered by being played mostly in the offensive zone.

So to put it simply, O’Reilly matched up against the best opponents, still played significantly well and did it at both ends of the ice.  He would instantly become the Sabres best two way center, and arguably their best two way player alongside Jason Pominville.  If only he had some kind of X-factor…

Well, he wads 762-681 (52.8%) on draws last season…

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