Friday Quick Graphs: Marginal Gains for Forwards

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How many goals is improving a team’s first line worth versus your fourth line?

The above graph shows the number of goals over a season a team should expect in improving their player’s shot differential talent, here described in percentiles of talent.

The blue line is first liners with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th liners falling next with red, yellow, and green.

The blue line is the steepest, suggesting that moving from a 55th percentile player to 60th percentile player on the top line will improve a team’s goal differential by about twice that of a 2nd or 3rd line player. (This is not to be confused with improving from a 55% Corsi player to a 60% Corsi player)

What is interesting is that the marginal gains in improving a 2nd line player and 3rd line player is about equal.

The next question one should ask is: what are the costs in salary and cap hit for making said improvements?


  1. All forwards over all available full seasons were sorted by 5v5 TOI/GP
  2. Players binned into four groups of equal number of games played
  3. Each bin then sorted by Corsi%, and binned into percentiles
  4. Goal differentials are extrapolated to full season given average TOI per season for each line (so differing rates in injuries and pressbox banishment is being included)

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