A long time ago mudcrutch had a cool idea to look at the impact of players on their teams. He checked a few star players, to see how their teams fared in terms of wins and losses over the years, this in games that they were out of the lineup.
It was interesting stuff, and intuitively there was definitely something to it, though small sample sizes meant a lot of noise. And now, with the increase of relevant stats information available to us, I think it's worth taking a finer look at it.
I'll get back to this myself, eventually. For now I thought I'd just leave some useful links and see what other people on the blogosphere come up with.
So if you wanted to see how the Blackhawks have done at evens when Havlat is out of the lineup, enter this url to see the games that Havlat did not play in. They are listed by NHL.com game number.
This url will churn out the total goals/shots/missed shots/etc stuff for the Blackhawks this season.
This url will churn out the same stats for the hawks during Havlat's first injured stint. Just repeat this for his other two injury stints (dude makes Moreau look like an iron man).
This is 4v4 and 5v5 stuff, if you want to be exact you can find the goalie numbers for the Hawks here, and just delete the rows for the other players.
From there, get your geek on, cut and paste into a spreadsheet, and it should be basic grade school arithmetic from there on out.
Players that have missed a bunch of games are going to show clearer results I'd think. Crosby, Havlat, Ohlund, who else? ... anyone who has missed a big chunk of the season without too many other tangible factors affecting the team at the same time are favourite. And it will be trickier if you're looking at a team like COL, who had so many of their difference makers out at once.
We're not looking for a magic bullet to determine player value here, just following simple reasoning to see what it tells us. And when it comes to applying common sense, there is no such thing as too much.
Hopefully we can spot some obvious, reasonable, and repeatable patterns here, and get a little closer to understanding which hard facts we should be looking at when we try to fairly evaluate players. Especially those players that we don't get to see very often.
Hopefully some of you take a run at it, and tell us what you found in the comments section.