One question that Ducks’ fans might be asking themselves is how their defencemen look following the loss of Chris Pronger in a trade earlier this summer. Chris Pronger is a player which the Oilers and Ducks obviously have in common as he’s played for both teams. The Anaheim Ducks have added Brett Festerling, Nick Boyton, Steve Eminger, and Luca Sbisa to their roster of defencemen this summer. Given that Chris Pronger has passed through both towns–more recently Anaheim, I thought it would be interesting to compare both team’s defencemen at even strength with ESTR. Further, the Oilers have just over $22.8 millon in cap space tied up on their top 7 defencemen from last season. To Oilers’ fans, their defencemen are considered to be one of the stronger components of our team going into next season.
What is ESTR?
ESTR is a new metric developed by Timo Seppa who is an author of Puck Prospectus. It stands for “Even Strength Total Rating.”
In short, ESTR is the number of goals per 60 minutes of ESTOI that the player is worth at Even Strength, given NHL-average players as teammates and opposition.
- ESTR is the total rating score based upon adding up two components–ESOR (Even Strength Offensive rating) + (Even Strength Defensive Rating).
- Currently, there’s not too much disclosure on how ESTR is specifically calculated.
Baseball’s had a metric called TPR which stands for Total Player Rating since the ’80s. Over the past several years, there’s been a number of flaws exposed in the TPR metric–yet the metric itself has evolved and improved accordingly. I can’t speak for Timo, but to me it seems that having the simplicity of a single number to reflect a player’s value at even strength, would have appeal to the average fan in terms of convenience. Let’s be honest, the ‘average’ fan probably isn’t going to be pouring over data at behindthenet and other sites to evaluate players.
Limitations of ESTR?
Well, one obvious limitation of ESTR is that it only measures the value of players at even strength. Essentially, this means that some of the value of a player like Sheldon Souray whose shot is known as ‘money in the bank’ on the powerplay is not going to be reflected by ESTR. Further, Jonathan Willis, recently asked Timo a question about the impact of defensive zone draws on ESTR. Timo acknowledged that ESTR does not currently include the ratio of offensive to defensive zone faceoffs into its metric. For example, players like Shawn Horcoff or Jay Bouwmeester who’re known to have a heavy burden of defensive zone draws, could have lower ESTR metrics accordingly.
Table– Oilers vs Ducks defencemen with ESTR
*Cap numbers from Cap Geek
**Scott Niedermayer’s cap hit includes his bonus of $750,000.00
What do these numbers mean?
- Festerling, Boyton, and Eminger look to be some decent additions to the roster
- Niedermayer’s ESTR is surprisingly quite low relative to his price tag
- The Ducks’ total ESTR numbers compare favorably to the Oilers. However, much of this is driven by their high defensive ratings.
- The Ducks comparatively have lower numbers across the ESOR (Offensive) ratings which suggest that the ducks don’t share the Oilers’ wealth of offensively minded dmen.
- Scott Niedermayer had a 5v4/60 of 5.6 which suggest his value is on the powerplay–this is not reflected by the ESTR metric.
- Souray and Visnovsky both rate high on our roster in terms of defensive rating yet the ‘fans’ observation that we lack a true stay at home defencemen is reflected in these numbers.
- From a fan’s perspective, Staois is not considered a great value relative to his cap hit and this is reflected in these numbers too.
- Overall, the ESTR is consistent to an extent with fan’s observations that we have lots of puck moving or offensive defencemen.
- The true value of Souray and Visnovsky–both of whom are tremendous assets on the powerplay is not measured or reflected in the ESTR metric.