Most fans realize hockey’s +/- stat is not necessarily indicative of a player’s true defensive ability. Generally non-playoff teams and/or teams with weak goaltending employ many players with poor +/- ratings. It doesn’t mean however, that every player on those clubs is poor defensively.
Skaters can be hung with a minus simply for completing a line-change at the wrong time. Conversely a skater can earn a plus and have had absolutely no role in his team scoring a goal. Plus/Minus might be an indicator of defensive skill but it can be misleading and is far from perfect.
With that in mind the guys at http://www.behindthenet.ca, along with many other advanced stats that will be introduced here, give you On-Off Ice Plus-Minus. On-Off Ice Plus-Minus differs from the traditional +/- stat in several ways. For one, On-Off Ice Plus-Minus is a rate stat measured in +/- per 60 minutes of ice time while the traditional +/- is a counting stat.
On-Off Ice Plus-Minus measures the difference between a player’s +/- per 60 minutes of ice time versus the team’s +/- per 60 when that player isn’t on the ice. What this does is show how a player compares with the rest of his club rather than against the league as a whole and adds more context to his performance.
Another advantage the On-Off Ice Plus-Minus metric offers is that it accounts for ice time. What’s better; finishing a game with a -1 in 10 minutes of ice time or a player finishing a -1 in 20 minutes of play? Obviously the player with more ice time had the better game; at least according to +/-. On-Off Ice Plus-Minus factors for ice time.
Not surprisingly, rookie defender Ryan McDonagh led the Rangers in five-on-five On-Off Ice Plus-Minus last season. After all, McDonagh did finish second on the club in the traditional +/- stat. McDonagh was on the ice for 1.19 goals for per 60 minutes while the rest of the club was a -0.52/60 minutes. That means his five-on-five On-Off Ice Plus-Minus was 1.71/60 minutes. Another way to look at that stat is that the Rangers scored an average of 1.71 more goals than they allowed per sixty minutes when McDonagh was on the ice.
What is surprising is how this metric reflects on Brandon Prust. Prust was a +2 for the Rangers but according to On-Off Ice Plus-Minus he was a -0.56/60 minutes.