I still have my doubts about strength of opposition. I went through every team picking out the top forward on the team (mostly based on points and even strength ice time). At this point my list could be quite imperfect. Using simple statistics I was able to calculated expected ice time with another player. For example the probability player 1 is on the ice is 25% and the other player is 33% suggests that if those two variables are random and independent they would spend 8.25% of the game together, so if a player plays more than that against the top players then we could say he’s getting a tougher opposition. One can easily compare the ratio of actual percentage together vs. real percentage together, so for example if the above players actually spent 10% of the game together then they would’ve spent 20% more time together than expected.
So using a “measuring” player (not sure I have the best set yet) from each team I can sum up total even strength time, total time by a given player and then sum up the total time of my measuring player. I get an average of the percentage of even strength time of the player and top opposition percentage. I can simply compare that to the expected time vs. actual time. The results were a little surprisingly useless the most “abused” players only received 4% more difficult opposition (all from same team:
I'm not saying people don't try, in fact Bourdon for example has had the easiest opposition on the Canucks. It's just tough to get significant scores when the opposition is trying to do the opposite as you are (get good players out against your bad players) and you have to deal with the physical limitations of your personnel. I have never seen convincing proof that this exists. Doesn't mean I wont keep looking, but I think I can at least attempt to build a model without worrying about opposition and just worrying about teams lines and strength of the opposing team.