An Outsiders Inside view of the NHL Stats Revolution - Part 1

Kent Wilson
September 02 2014 12:00PM

road-ahead


I began writing about hockey in 2005. Through a combination of timing and proximity, I have had the fortune of a ringside view of the genesis, dissemination and popularization of hockey's so-called advanced stats. Over this two part series, I will share some of the insights engendered by this somewhat unique perspective. My focus will be on what's currently happening in the league now as teams flock to build analytic departments around possession theory, as well as why the movement grew outside of the league's front offices and where we may expect this sort of analysis to go in the future.

The off-season of 2014 may well be remembered as the summer of stats, although corsi numbers and their various accoutrements made their way into popular discourse earlier in the year when they began popping up in national broadcasts and game day discussions. No doubt the new numbers began to spread in part due to the spectacular failure of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a club that had been deemed as a bellwether for possession-based theory at the onset of the season. Their subsequent 84-point, 12th place finish in the face of expanded expectations and executive confidence was the metaphorical canary in the coal mine as it were.

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Reasonable Expectations: Tyler Wotherspoon

Ryan Pike
September 02 2014 08:30AM

#482720843 / gettyimages.com

Calgary has really worked hard to improve its prospect base over the past three or four years, with a pretty big degree of success. The goaltending prospect base now includes Mason McDonald and college standout Jon Gillies. The forward ranks swelled due to five first round picks over the past three years, all spent on different types of forwards in Mark Jankowski, Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier, Morgan Klimchuk and Sam Bennett. Monahan played a full NHL season last year, and Poirier and Klimchuk both impressed in brief appearances for Abbotsford.

The obvious big hole here is on defense.

Last season, the Flames had three blueliners turn pro - Tyler Wotherspoon, John Ramage and Patrick Sieloff. Only one of them played significant time in the AHL, and that player saw significant time in the NHL, too. Tyler Wotherspoon may also spend time in the NHL this year.

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Starlight

RexLibris
September 01 2014 01:15PM

So previously we have examined the defense, goaltending and established forwards for the Flames this coming season. You can read about the forwards here and the defense and goaltending here

This final segment will examine the prospects and rookies of the 2014-2015 Calgary Flames.

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The NHL Advanced Stats Cheat Sheet

Nation World HQ
September 01 2014 12:00PM

Cheating


This guide is an overview for the media and newcomers to the NHL's advanced (or "fancy") stats. It includes definitions of the key advanced stats concepts, plus an FAQ to clarify some of the typical inquiries about these measures. It is not to meant to be completely comprehensive; only a useful introduction to possession-based analysis.

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REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS: JOHNNY GAUDREAU

Byron Bader
September 01 2014 08:30AM

Finally, Johnny Gaudreau is set to turn pro. The tiny winger (5’7’’ and 150 pounds) is the Flames’ smallest prospect, but also by far and away their most skilled. Everything Gaudreau has done so far suggests he’s an elite player in very elite company (see here and here). He’s proven everything he’s needed to at the junior and college level. His options are the NHL or the AHL. Where does he end up and what can we expect?

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