Alan Ryder on NHL "Offensive Engagement"
Last season, it seemed like Dean McAmmond's linemates couldn't get anything done without him. McAmmond got a point on 88% of the even-strength goals the Blues scored when he was on the ice.
Chris Campoli was the Dean McAmmond of defensemen. Campoli led the league in this category among blueliners by scoring or assisting on 52% of his plus-minus "plusses".
These figures are from Alan Ryder's latest article on globesports.com. Ryder believes that players who excel in this category, which he calls "offensive engagement" (OE), are showing themselves to be capable of playing higher in the depth chart than they already play. Of course, many players high in this category (Jagr at 85%, Sundin at 80%) are already treated like star players. But Ryder argues that guys like McAmmond show themselves to be better than their point totals indicate – "close your eyes and imagine an eagle trying to soar with the turkeys."
Seems logical, but there's probably a fair bit of random luck in the stats too. Campoli's league high OE is based on 21 points out of 40 plusses. If the league average for defensemen is 35% (I'm guessing here because Ryder doesn't tell us), Campoli is only 7 points above average. That's 2.3 standard deviations, significant for a randomly-chosen player but perhaps just random for the league leader.
In any case, it shouldn't be too hard to do a study to check if players high in OE tend to show improvement in the future.