PR stands for Productivity Rating, a rating system created by Stapled To The Bench. PR is a number on a scale of 0 to 10 (not a hard maximum) that rates a player’s productivity for a season, shown as PR-#. It is calculated from various NHL statistics, and to get a good PR, a player must play a lot and play well: missing games will result in a lower PR.
PR-10 indicates an elite player, the cream of the crop. PR-8 is an all-star, PR-6 is a first-line player, PR-4 is a regular player, PR-2 is a fringe player, and PR-0 is a scrub (rarely playing more than 10 games in a season). For details on PR, please see the PR introduction document on StapledToTheBench.com.
Chabot’s first full season was 2017/2018. He played 63 games and was rated as a PR-4. 2018/2019 was a huge step forward: he played 71 games and earned a PR-8. In this season, 2019/2020, he was a PR-7, but would have been a PR-8 if the season had played out normally.
Ottawa has a good defenseman who is 22 years old. How will he grow in his next four years?
I thought the best way to figure out Chabot’s future was to find defensemen who were equally valuable up to age 22, and see what they did in their next four seasons (ages 23 to 26).
The research involves looking for defensemen who were equally valuable at the same age as Chabot. Methods are needed to calculate age, value, and equal value.
Age is determined by subtracting a player’s birth year from the starting year of the season. Chabot, born in 1997, was 22 in 2019/2020.
PR is a statement about a player’s productivity in a single season. It is a reflection of exactly what a player did, rather than what he could have done if he played every game.
Value is a statement of what a player could have done if he played every game to his normal level of production. Based on their scoring this season, here’s what some players would have scored in 82 games:
Draisaitl, EDM, 50 goals;
Matthews, TOR, 55 goals;
Pastrnak, BOS, 56 goals;
Ovechkin, WSH, 58 goals;
Zibanejad, NYR, 59 goals;
Geekie, CAR, 123 goals.
The last two guys show how projecting performance can produce results that seem strange. Geekie played two games and scored three goals – that’s not a lot of data on which to base a prediction. Zibanejad’s projection covers games that he missed due to the pandemic, and games that he missed due to injury.
To me, value takes time to prove. And time means “at least two seasons”: 164 games.
Value is a projection of PR, and uses the same scale as PR. A player who plays two full seasons rated PR-7 and PR-8 will probably have a value (to one decimal place) of 7.5. The formula to calculate value is:
Value=(82*Total PR)/(Total GP)
In words, that’s the total PR a player had over a number of seasons, divided by the total games played in that time, multiplied by 82 (so that the result would reflect a full season). Before he turned 23, Cody Ceci played 205 games and had a total PR of 13.37. Pushing those numbers through the formula gives him a value of 5.3.
I want to compare Chabot to players who are pretty close to him in terms of their value. Players like Dmitry Kulikov and Nikita Zadorov are not close to Chabot’s value, as can be proved by the answer to the question: would the Senators trade Chabot even-up for either one. I’ll only use players whose early career value is within 0.5 of Chabot’s.
I’ll be calculating two values for each player in the study. Early value (VE) is the value of players up to age 22, and later value (VL) is their value between the ages of 23 and 26, inclusively.
I went through the player data to find defensemen who played at least 164 games before they were 23 and at least 164 after turning 23. I used those game limits to be able to calculate values in the two age groups. The starting comparison group for Chabot has 33 players.
The next step was to find, in those 33 players, those who were “equally valuable” to Chabot in their early career.
Chabot has played 205 games with a total PR of 18.5, for an VE of 7.4, so a qualifying defenseman would have to have an VE between 6.9 and 7.9. The following eight players form the comparison group (listed from highest to lowest VE).
Chabot’s scoring record in his early career is better than all of these eight players. The other players get equivalent value by playing much more on the penalty kill (2.4 mpg compared to Chabot’s 0.3 mpg) and having more defensive zone starts (35.7% to 27.5%). Penalty kill time and defensive zone starts are part of the PR formula, as are goals and assists. A slight drawback to this study is that, while the players are close to the same value-wise, they are different in terms of how they earn value.
The factoid I want for these eight players is their change in value (delta value, or ∆V): the difference between VL and VE. John Carlson had an VE of 7.3 and an VL of 8.4, so his ∆V is +1.1. In words, his play improved in the seasons he was 23 to 26. The following tables shows the ∆V for the comparison group.
Jacob Trouba 0.0
John Carlson +1.1
Oliver Ekman-Larsson +1.3
Travis Hamonic -0.3
Tyler Myers 0.0
Rasmus Ristolainen +0.9
Victor Hedman +2.2
Seth Jones +2.5
Five players had a good increase in their value, between +0.9 and +2.5. Two maintained their value, and one had a small drop in value.
The player with the small drop was Travis Hamonic. He missed a lot of games for the Islanders in 2016/2017, his age-26 season. When he did play, it was at a PR-5 level. He is yet to return to his early career level of production.
If Chabot’s value improves by +1.0, he’ll be a solid PR-8 level. If his scoring increases by a peer-average amount (the comparison group increased their scoring by 35%), he’ll get about 60 points a season.
In truth, I wouldn’t be surprised if his future turns out a little better than that, for two reasons.
Chabot’s VE is a little weighed down by his 2017 season, which was Erik Karlsson’s last season in Ottawa. As noted earlier, PR reflects what you do and how much you play, and all defensemen on a team play less when Erik Karlsson suits up.
As a group, his teammates are almost certain to improve over the next few seasons. Playing on a better team usually results in a higher PR for the higher-skilled players.
Call me an Ottawa fan-boy if you like, you wouldn’t be wrong, but if Chabot’s VE is closer to 7.8 than 7.4, if his teammates get better as a group, if Melnyk sells the team, if he stays healthy, he could progress to the PR-9 level. That’s top-five-defensemen-in-the-league level.
I’m extremely interested to see how he develops.