When it comes to doing the little things to win a hockey game it's difficult, if not impossible, to come up with a definitive measure of a player's contribution.
Even so, that doesn't stop me from trying to come up with some value to help acknowledge the efforts of players beyond goals, assists and plus-minus.
There is a certain irony to using statistics to generate an "intangible" value for a player, because counting hits, blocked shots, giveaways, takeaways, penalty differential and faceoffs won and lost obviously is a tangible exercise.
The intention behind forming such a ranking is not so much caught up in the specifics of the rankings as much as it is to get an indication which players are contributing in the many of the real-time stats.
In generating these rankings, the weighting is as follows: .5 x (Hits/Game) + 1.5 x (Blocked Shots/Game) + 2.5 x (Takeaways-Giveaways/Game) + 1.5 x (Penalty Differential/Game) + .1 x (Faceoffs Won-Lost/Game), with a little tweak and that is that I've adjusted the rankings of the Rangers and Islanders because they had a ridiculous disproportion of players ranked in the Top 100 (such is the peril of using real-time stats which are subject to recording bias). Penalty differential numbers come from www.behindthenet.ca.
The weighting I've applied is entirely subjective, because I don't have something to tell me that a blocked shot is worth the same as three hits, but it also seems fair to value blocked shots more than hits because they affect an actual scoring opportunity.
They still have a dozen players in the Top 100 after the adjustment, but it's a more fair represenation than the 17 that were on the first incarnation of this list.
So, the results are more approximate than anything, but when dealing with intangibles it seems like a reasonable approximation when the top five forwards in the rankings include Ryan Callahan, T.J. Oshie, Ryan Kesler, Jonathan Toews and Manny Malhotra -- those are guys that hockey fans would expect to do the little things to help their teams.
At the lower end of the spectrum, there is no inference that a player having a low "intangibles" rating is not a good player, only that the player likely needs to be productive in the more traditional stats.
The Sedins notoriously tend to have low ratings in this measure, but that doesn't mean they're not great. It means that they don't hit a lot or block a bunch of shots, in part because they have the puck so much, and their role is to put up goals and assists, which they do very well.
Here are the 2010-2011 intangibles leaders and, below, the trailers (minimum 40 games played):
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy Sports on Facebook.