Point Shares Update: Stamkos, Subban, Rask, and Price

Point Shares Update: Stamkos, Subban, Rask, and Price
Sean Tierney

Any discussion of the top players in the NHL includes Atlantic division stars like Steven Stamkos, P.K. Subban, Tuukka Rask and Carey Price.

Stamkos is one of the league’s purest goal scorers.

Subban is an elite offensive defensemen with an underrated defensive game.

Rask and Price are a couple of the best netminders the NHL has to offer.

But how do these talents compare? Are the Lightning better off with Stamkos than the Bruins are with Rask? Who provides more value to his club – Price or Subban?

Using Hockey Reference’s unique point shares stat, it’s possible to tease out which players are really contributing the most to their team’s success.

As per Justin Kubatko at HR, point shares have three key components:

“[First,] in my system for hockey, one point is equivalent to one Point Share.

[Second, Bill] James made team Win Shares directly proportional to team wins. In his system, a baseball team that wins 80 games will have exactly 240 Win Shares, a baseball team that wins 90 games will have exactly 270 Win Shares, etc. In my system for hockey, a team with 100 points will have about 100 Point Shares, give or take.

[Third,] James did not allow for the possibility of negative Win Shares…In my system, a player can have negative Point Shares. I justify this by thinking about it in the following way: a player with negative Point Shares was so poor that he essentially took away points that his teammates had generated.”

If you’re interested in much more on point shares (or the application of point shares in baseball and basketball), give Kubatko’s post at HockeyRef a read.

For our purposes, Kubatko’s formula allows for the generation of four key stats – offensive point shares, defensive point shares, goalie points shares, and overall point shares (offense plus defense for skaters and defensemen).

Here’s a look at the best of the Atlantic Division’s stars in each of these categories so far this season.

Offensive Point Shares

Offensive point shares are a product of “goals created” (see more on that here) and time-on-ice.

Rank NHL Rank Name Team Point Shares
1 6 Steven Stamkos Lightning  7.4
2 9 Tyler Johnson Lightning 6.9
3 11 Max Pacioretty Canadiens 6.8
4 13 Nikita Kucherov Lightning 6.4
5 18 Pavel Datsyuk Red Wings 6.0
6 20 Erik Karlsson (Senators) 6.0

*all stats were quoted on March 17th and can be found at HR here

To put these analytics into context, point shares theory argues that Steven Stamkos’ individual offensive efforts in creating goals has directly led to 7.4 points in the standings for Tampa Bay.

The top-two offensive point shares earners are Alex Ovechkin (9.1) and Rick Nash (8.3). With six Atlantic Division skaters in the top-twenty, the Atlantic has slightly more than the expected number of skaters in the top-20. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s forward corps dominates here – perhaps no surprise – with star Steven Stamkos leading the way for the Bolts.

Even more impressive is the offensive contribution of Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson. He is the only defenseman in the top-20 and his offensive point share matches the offensive contributions of Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom and Detroit star Pavel Datsyuk – an amazing feat for a blue liner.

Defensive Point Shares

In broad strokes, defensive point shares are credited by calculating goals against – and many other factors – foreach player (see more on that here).

Rank NHL Rank Name Team Point Shares
1 1 P.K. Subban Canadiens 5.6
2 3 Andrei Markov Canadiens 5.4
3 17 Jason Garrison Lightning 4.2
4 20 Aaron Ekblad Panthers 4.1

*all stats were quoted on March 17th and can be found at HR here

Defensively, the Montreal Canadiens are the dominant group in the Atlantic Division. Subban and Andrei Markov claim two of the top-three defensive point shares ranks with Duncan Keith wedged in between with a score of 5.5. This suggests that, although Carey Price has been other-worldly this season, some of his defensemen have done their part.

The Atlantic’s other top-20s are an interesting pair. Not traditionally noted for stellar defensive play, Jason Garrison ranks 17th in the NHL for his defensive contributions. In Florida, hulking wunderkind Aaron Ekblad has proved that he belongs in the NHL, posting the league’s 20th best defensive output.

To no one’s surprise, no Toronto Maple Leafs players are featured here.

Goalie Point Shares

In Kubotka’s advanced stat, goaltenders tend to make a large contribution to a team’s points.

This seems fair enough – goaltenders that routinely hold opponents to two or fewer goals (Price) give their team a great chance to win. Goalies that routinely allow four goals or more (Mike Smith) make it difficult for their team to secure standings points, requiring the team to produce lots of offense to remain competitive.

Here’s a look at the Atlantic Division’s top goaltenders. The name at the top won’t surprise you:

Rank NHL Rank Name Team Point Shares
1 1 Carey Price Canadiens 14.5
2 4 Tuukka Rask Bruins 12.3
3 8 Roberto Luongo Panthers 10.3
4 14 Jonathan Bernier Leafs 9.0
5 15 Ben Bishop Lightning 8.2
6 19 Craig Anderson Senators 7.8

*all stats were quoted on March 17th and can be found at HR here

With six goalies in the NHL’s top-twenty, the Atlantic is just slightly overrepresented here. This is especially true if you assume that Andrew “Hamburglar” Hammond would likely join this group if he had played enough games.

Unsurprisingly, Price’s dominant season lands him atop the goalie rankings with 14.5 of the Habs’ points attributed directly to his play.

Roberto Luongo’s 10.3 point shares ranks him eighth in the NHL, marking a successful return to Florida for the veteran goalie.

For Toronto Maple Leafs fans, Jonathan Bernier’s appearance at 14th in the NHL shows that Bernier is at least a mid-level NHL starting goalie. This is impressive considering the overall play by his teammates this season.

 Overall Point Shares

The overall point share ranks are dominated by goaltenders. However, some forwards and defensemen rise into this ranking because their offensive and defensive point share contributions are added together.

Let’s take a look at Atlantic Division goalies and skaters who make the NHL’s top-twenty overall point shares list:

Rank NHL Rank Name Team Point Shares
1 1 Carey Price Canadiens 14.5
2 4 Tuukka Rask Bruins 12.3
3 11 P.K. Subban Canadiens 10.3
4 12 Roberto Luongo Panthers 10.3
5 13 Max Pacioretty Canadiens 10.1
6 17 Erik Karlsson Senators 9.5

*all stats were quoted on March 17th and can be found at HR here

The clearest takeaway here is that Canadiens’ star Carey Price is not carrying the Habs alone. Though Price’s 14.5 point shares is the NHL’s best mark this season, P.K. Subban (11th) and Max Pacioretty (13th) join Price among the NHL’s top-twenty point shares contributors. The Canadiens’ have star power at key positions all over the ice.

In the advanced stats quest to find a single number that sums up a player’s value, Hockey Reference’s point shares is a very handy statistic. The point shares analytic allows for comparisons of players across positions and neatly adds up all the individual contributions a player makes to his team’s success on offense and defense.

Sadly for Sabres fans, their utter lack of team success has resulted in no player mentions among the league’s best. Maybe next year, Zemgus Girgensons.


What do you think, advanced stats fan? Is point shares the right enhanced stat to evaluate a player’s worth or is it just too difficult to sum a hockey player up with a single number?

  • Sean

    Just kidding. Girgensons will never make this list.

Sean Tierney

Sean Tierney writes articles about Atlantic Division teams, working to include analytics whenever possible. He has also written about the Leafs, Habs, Sens, Raptors, and Blue Jays for Fansided, The Hockey Writers, and Bleacher Report. He enjoys long walks on the beach and candle lit dinners and definitely isn’t the tallest guy in the men’s rec basketball league.

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