So it's clear that a further context needed to assess player production will be not just zone starts, but the faceoff percentage in those zone starts. So the question now is, who exactly is this context for and for who is it actually part of their performance?
I've heard arguments either way about if wingers and defensemen are able to affect faceoff percentage, and today I decided to find out definitively.
I took every player's on-ice faceoff percentage with every center the player was paired with, and compared that with how the center's faceoff percentage without that player on the ice.
To get an idea of what the data looks like, here's Phil Kessel's FO percentage "WOWY"
We then take the change in faceoff percentage observed from when the faceoff taker is matched with Kessel compared to when they're not and weight that by the amount of faceoffs they were on the taker. In total, Kessel had a +1.9% effect on his on-ice faceoff percentage.
This is a graph that shows a record for every player's Change in on-ice FO% compared to how many faceoffs he's been on the ice for in total.
The narrowing of the statistic is obvious, demonstrating the normalization that would be expected with a larger sample size of faceoffs.
Here's a graph with player's who've been on the ice for more then 2000 faceoffs in their career, and their impact on faceoff percentage by faceoff zone, with boxplots to demonstrate the range of values observed:
Corey Perry is the champion of this statistic. In all three faceoff zones , Perry has had an unbelievable 4.1% positive effect on his centers faceoff percentage.
In the offensive zone, wingers seem to have a larger potential for impact and conversely in the defensive zone defensemen seem to be able to have a larger average deviation from the mean.
The majority of players with a large enough sample size have had less then a 1% affect on their center's faceoff percentage, but the success of player's like Corey Perry and the failures of Ryan Callahan suggest some players can affect it in a marginal way.
For those interested in playing around with this statistic, check out the interactive graph below.