How Does Size Relate to Winning and Offense in the NHL?

Byron Bader
December 18 2013 12:56PM

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) and Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) during the third period of a NHL game in Boston on April 25th, 2013.  The Bruins beat the Lightning 2-0.(Photo: Brian Fluharty)

-piv via insidehockey

Since Brian Burke has taken over and emphasized a need to get bigger, the Flames fan base has mixed reviews on whether or not they are on board with this notion.  With this in mind and after a recent request from FN reader Matthew Kutarna, we're going to have a look at size as it relates to impact players.

Kent talked at great length about  the issue of "getting bigger" yesterday.  A sticking point of the article is that teams should not be getting bigger for the sake of getting bigger. Rather, teams should be  focused on getting skilled rather than bigger and not the other way around.  If the skill comes with size that's an obvious double threat that any fan would welcome with open arms.  

Jonathan Willis looked at size and impact  in last year's playoffs .  He composed an average weighted size for each playoff team.  The average was based on the height and weight of every skater on the team, adjusted for their ice-times.  For instance, a player that played 20 minutes per 60 minutes would be weighted double the amount of a player who plays 10 minutes per 60 minutes.  With this method, we can get a better idea of which teams are actually bigger as it controls for the 4 minute face punchers a team might employ on their bottom lines.  Having these nearly irrelevant hockey players boosting a team's average size  gives an incomplete picture of "size" on a hockey team.  

Based on Willis' method, lets have a look at team size, based on deployment, for the mid-way mark of the  2013-14 season.

THE NUMBERS

Team

Height (Inches)

Weight (Pounds)

Points

Place

Sabres

73.95

193

19

30

Jets

73.94

205

35

20

Bruins

73.76

200

48

5

Senators

73.61

202

34

21

Maple Leafs

73.52

201

37

16

Predators

73.47

203

35

18

Ducks

73.46

204

53

2

Capitals

73.45

206

39

14

Coyotes

73.43

200

41

13

Flyers

73.43

203

32

23

Kings

73.3

207

48

7

Canucks

73.28

200

46

8

Sharks

73.24

203

48

6

Panthers

73.24

197

31

27

Devils

73.16

202

32

24

Lightning

73.08

197

43

12

Rangers

73.05

200

33

22

Stars

73.04

199

35

17

Avalanche

73.01

203

45

9

Blues

72.9

207

48

4

Blackhawks

72.89

197

55

1

Oilers

72.86

188

25

28

Penguins

72.81

198

49

3

Red Wings

72.74

196

39

15

Blue Jackets

72.67

202

32

25

Flames

72.61

196

31

26

Islanders

72.53

198

25

29

Hurricanes

72.37

201

35

19

Canadians

71.91

195

45

10

Wild

70.77

194

45

11

Thanks to FN reader, David Balcom, for aiding with the data collection. The chart is sorted by height (tallest to shortest). Blue indicates teams that should currently be playoff bound while pink indicates teams that shouldn't be.  Of course, the East is less than great and half the teams that are blue aren't actually in the playoffs because they play in the West. However, many of these teams would be a sure bet for the playoffs if they played in the East so we'll go with it.

The main thing that comes out is having above average skilled big players is not predictive of overall team success.  In fact, the split is right down the middle.   Half of the best teams are in the tall range and the other half of the best teams are in the shorter range.  Interestingly, the Sabres are the tallest team in the league, based on their deployment, but are the lanslide winners for worst team this year.  The Jets, the runner-ups for the tallest team, are a little better than the Sabres but not an elite team by any stretch. 

In terms of the Flames, they are indeed one of the shorter teams in the league (5th shortest team overall with the weighted analysis). Could they get bigger?  Probably. But there are shorter teams and same size teams as the Flames that are quite a bit better than the home squad.  Of note, the Penguins and Blackhawks have arguably the best team assemblages of elite skill in the league and are in the bottom tier of the league in terms of size.  On the other hand, the Bruins, Kings and Ducks are some of the tallest teams in the league.  They are also some of the most well-rounded teams in the league.  There's clearly different recipes for success.

Next, lets look at height as it relates to offensive impact players (150 Top scorers in the current 2013-14 season) specifically. After all, the most important thing in the NHL is having guys that can score with regularity so I want to see how big scorers tend to be .  With that, I also wanted to look at the proportion of offensive impact players each team has at their disposal.

Height

Top 30 Scorers

Top 150 Scorers

Goal Scorers (10+ Goals)

Short (5'9'' and Below)

3.33%

4.00%

3.03%

Average  (5'10''- 6'0'')

32.43%

43.33%

37.88%

Tall (6'1''- 6'4'')

65.86%

49.33%

53.03%

Gigantic (6'5'' and Above)

0.00%

2.67%

1.52%

Most of the offensive talent is in the average height to tall range with the scales tipping a little bit to the tall side.  Tall players seem to make up the vast majority of the players in the truly elite category for this early season though.  This is not surprising that there tends to be more tall elite/offensive impactful players.  Teams are twice as likely to draft a tall player than they are an average-sized player, especially in the 1st round.  It's a numbers game.  It's encouraing that so many average size players can make an impact in the league though.  An indication that size isn't everything.

When we look further at the offensive impact players each team possesses we get a real good look at Calgary's problem.

Team

Top 30

Top 150

Avalanche

0

6

Blackhawks

5

9

Blue Jackets

0

6

Blues

2

8

Bruins

0

6

Canadiens

0

6

Canucks

2

6

Capitals

2

6

Coyotes

0

8

Devils

0

3

Ducks

2

6

Flames

1

1

Flyers

0

4

Hurricanes

0

3

Islanders

1

4

Jets

1

7

Kings

1

5

Lightning

1

6

Maple Leafs

1

5

Oilers

0

5

Panthers

0

1

Penguins

3

6

Predators

0

2

Rangers

0

5

Red Wings

1

5

Sabres

0

2

Senators

2

5

Sharks

4

7

Stars

1

3

Wild

0

4

Right now, at this moment, the Flames' issue is they have very little highly impactful offensive weapons. Jiri Hudler sits 27th in league scoring and is having the season of his career. Our next closest scorer, Monahan, is at least 150 spots away.  I'm not saying that Monahan won't be one of these offensive impact players going forward. If he wasn't injured for a while he would probably have snuck into the Top 150. I think he will be a Top 60-90 guy in a few years he's just not there yet. However, as of right now, we only have the one offensive impact guy.

To put it into perspective, based on some earlier research I've done, from 1998 to 2013, teams that had 6 or more players in the Top 150 at the end of the season made the playoffs about 80% of the time.  Conversely, a team with less than 3  players in the Top 150 never made the playoffs. Furthermore, teams with 3 to 4 impact players that did make the playoffs rarely made a dent in the playoffs.  Exceptions being the 2012 LA Kings, the 1998 Washington Capitals and your 2004 Calgary Flames!

SUM IT UP

I am not quite sure where Brian Burke's head is at in terms of "getting bigger".  On one hand, he has a history for trading for big guys with skill (JVR, Pronger, Beauchemin, S. Neidermeyerc, etc.) but he also has an affinity for signing dancing bears to multi-year deals to fill a useless 4th line.  If Burke pulls off a few trades similar to the JVR for Luke Schenn deal I'm all in. I have no qualms with adding size if that size comes highly skilled.  However offensive skill, in the end, is what the Flames are in dire need of.  Drafting, developing, acquiring and signing skill should be the focus of this early rebuild. If size comes with that.... so be it.

Fb039371a1a1b706383cb72243cb4446
Byron has a background in psychology, economics and business and is a business researcher/data analyst by day. His love for hockey is as deep as the ocean is wide. Tell him your questions and let him into your heart. Twitter: @Baderader; Email: byron.bader@gmail.com
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#1 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 18 2013, 02:02PM
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the data seems to support Burke's ideas about size - not so much the silly "truculent" thing per se, but size in general.

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#2 cunning_linguist
December 18 2013, 02:11PM
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How much of Boston's height ranking is just Zdeno Chara playing 30 mins a night while simultaneously being an after-photo for the aliens from Space Jam...

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#3 Michael
December 18 2013, 02:22PM
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'How Does Size Relate to Winning and Offense in the NHL?'

Take a look at the game last night, the Flames lost almost every battle for the puck. If you can't win the puck, the odds are against you winning the game.

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#4 JP
December 18 2013, 02:27PM
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Bryan...i appreciate the article, bit of a helping hand from your wartime consigliere...you should do more analysis when trading away your fantasy hockey team...p kane. mr. getz

jokes...I enjoyed the article, and agree that size for the sake of size is not a winning recipe.

hello manute bol. ami right?

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#5 piscera.infada
December 18 2013, 02:29PM
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Michael wrote:

'How Does Size Relate to Winning and Offense in the NHL?'

Take a look at the game last night, the Flames lost almost every battle for the puck. If you can't win the puck, the odds are against you winning the game.

I was thinking about that last night. It also brought me back to what someone kept saying on one of the articles yesterday (I forget who, sorry about that). The basic idea was that Burke, and the "size community" don't necessarily mean size in term of height and weight, but more so "playing big".

I think that showed a few times last night. First, Boston absolutely smothered us on the break out and in the neutral zone, completely taking any traction out of our fore check that we might have. Being big (at least as I see it) is about the ability to limit time and space in all facets of the game. So yes, size is an element but so too is speed, skill, and willingness. It's the system and the buy-in more than simply the player's frame.

Second, Paul Byron was close to our most effective player (with Backlund and Bouma (penalties notwithstanding)) last night, he's also tiny. The guy was playing big though - as big as he can play of course. He was always in the corners against their redwood-esque defenders, just battling. That has to go a long way in the eyes of the coaching staff, as well as Brian Burke.

While I understand the idea of "playing big" is necessarily vague, somewhat of a cop-out, and difficult to track with metrics, I feel similarly about simply talking about "size" as a de facto height/weight exercise - whereby metrics need to based solely upon those attributes. Tough.

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#6 gussey
December 18 2013, 02:32PM
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When Burke says he wants size, I make the assumption that doesn't mean only size and size alone. I think it's a concept that big skilled teams are harder to play against than smaller skilled teams. Burke drafted the sedins,showing he understands the importance of skill. I think he just doesn't want calgary to become the oilers (lots of small sized skill). My favourite team was the old 89 flames, which had a tonne of size (otto, McLellan, hunter, roberts, patterson, murzyn, nattress, macoun, pepper) mixed in with skill (Gilmour, mullen h

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#7 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 18 2013, 02:41PM
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i think it has been well documented that the only size that matters is girth... and as noted here aleady, how you use it.

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#9 SmellOfVictory
December 18 2013, 03:05PM
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cunning_linguist wrote:

How much of Boston's height ranking is just Zdeno Chara playing 30 mins a night while simultaneously being an after-photo for the aliens from Space Jam...

Same with Buffalo and Myers. It may not skew the numbers a huge amount, but it'd be interesting to see the numbers only for forwards, as top pairing dmen would have a substantial effect on the numbers and it seems to me that this discussion is more about forwards than dmen even though it hasn't been explicitly stated by anyone in particular.

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#10 ChinookArch
December 18 2013, 04:17PM
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Michael wrote:

'How Does Size Relate to Winning and Offense in the NHL?'

Take a look at the game last night, the Flames lost almost every battle for the puck. If you can't win the puck, the odds are against you winning the game.

I think the argument Byron is making is that Calgary's issue isn't a lack of size, but a lack of skill. I don't disagree with what you eye was seeing, just that size without skill likely wouldn't have made any difference last night.

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#11 ChinookArch
December 18 2013, 04:28PM
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I'm very hopeful that McGrattan is the only pugilist that Burke wants on the Flames, and that he doesn't see the need of trading for another one. My expectation is that he goes out and finds another big defenceman, and looks for skill in the forward ranks. That certainly seems to be his M.O., After all he did win a cup because of moves for Pronger and Neidermeyer, in Anaheim (even if both players basically fell into his lap).

Whoever Burke picks up I just hope he can play hockey.

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#12 everton fc
December 18 2013, 04:28PM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I was thinking about that last night. It also brought me back to what someone kept saying on one of the articles yesterday (I forget who, sorry about that). The basic idea was that Burke, and the "size community" don't necessarily mean size in term of height and weight, but more so "playing big".

I think that showed a few times last night. First, Boston absolutely smothered us on the break out and in the neutral zone, completely taking any traction out of our fore check that we might have. Being big (at least as I see it) is about the ability to limit time and space in all facets of the game. So yes, size is an element but so too is speed, skill, and willingness. It's the system and the buy-in more than simply the player's frame.

Second, Paul Byron was close to our most effective player (with Backlund and Bouma (penalties notwithstanding)) last night, he's also tiny. The guy was playing big though - as big as he can play of course. He was always in the corners against their redwood-esque defenders, just battling. That has to go a long way in the eyes of the coaching staff, as well as Brian Burke.

While I understand the idea of "playing big" is necessarily vague, somewhat of a cop-out, and difficult to track with metrics, I feel similarly about simply talking about "size" as a de facto height/weight exercise - whereby metrics need to based solely upon those attributes. Tough.

Byron's a fiesty little player. Always has been. Perhaps he can cement a 4th line role up here? Time will tell.

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#14 wot96
December 18 2013, 05:03PM
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Interesting point as well that teams that don't have impactful players don't make a dent in the playoffs.

I think the general point is (has always been?)that size with skill is best, size can be good, but skill is better than size alone. I don't see that this is magic.

In fact, I think the whole size focus is misleading. It wasn't just size that got Anaheim, Boston and Los Angeles (three of the larger teams) to the finals. As some pointed out, in Anaheim's case, the addition of two hall of fame defencemen helped and all three are recent examples where their goaltending was just better than the opposition most nights.

But you can't go to the public saying we have to go find the best goaltender in the world, or even the best goaltender not playing in the NHL. It's too easy to look stupid...as Feaster now knows. You have to mouth offerings to "size". Alternatively, if you have size and you still suck, you need to focus on something else, like we aren't fast enough.

BB just hung his hat on size. He could have focussed on skill too, apparently, or goaltending, or anything really. He just hit on size because that's what he likes.

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#15 Kevin R
December 18 2013, 05:38PM
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Not the type of question to generalize. Maybe look at size in the top 6 & correlate it to record. Huge example is Oilers, 3 1st overalls, ton of skill, none with size. They don't seem to be winning dick all lately. Just saying, kind of pointless analyses because most teams put beefier guys in the bottom 6. Now if a beef eater is talented in the top 6, I would say that team has a better than .500 record.

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#16 MontanaMan
December 18 2013, 06:58PM
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Size and toughness are important - just ask the Oilers. Lots of skill but small, fragile and soft forwards and defence. Watch the Bruins, Ducks, Kings and other bigger teams and take note how they play. Watching the Ducks recently play the Oliers and how the small Oiler defence (Schultz, Larsen) couldn't handle Getzlaf or Perry. Part of the issue is size and strength - the other part is team toughness and all four lines playing the opposition hard. Teams like the Bruins come at the opposition in waves and are relentless. Lots for the Flames and many other teams to aspire to.

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#17 Derzie
December 18 2013, 07:39PM
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Burke can preach anything he wants and walk around with a scale and a measuring tape. If he builds a winner, good on him. If he builds the Leafs part deux, heaven help us all.

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#18 hockey doofus
December 18 2013, 07:49PM
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If I was BB, I would;

1. Move mountains to obtain 2 wingers of similar size and skill level as Monohan, which would become a real No. 1 line for years to come. 2. Let Ramo and Berra split the season in order to find out what they have, keeping in mind that they need to learn how to play the North American game. 3. Leave Ortio in Abbotsford to develop and gain confidence playing for a winning team. 4. If none of Ramo, Berra, Ortio or Gillies becomes a legitimate No. 1, never again draft a goalie, just sign a good free agent. 5. Trade off about 2 veterans each year in order to gradually transition the young players into the NHL. 6. Find a pest like Marchand or Shaw and keep a guy like McGratten so that no one tries to kill them, even if they deserve it. 7. Find 2 big stud defencemen (Ekblad and whoever). 8. Keep an open mind about small players. Many are more difficult to play against than bigger players.

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#19 coachedpotatoe
December 18 2013, 09:18PM
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hockey doofus wrote:

If I was BB, I would;

1. Move mountains to obtain 2 wingers of similar size and skill level as Monohan, which would become a real No. 1 line for years to come. 2. Let Ramo and Berra split the season in order to find out what they have, keeping in mind that they need to learn how to play the North American game. 3. Leave Ortio in Abbotsford to develop and gain confidence playing for a winning team. 4. If none of Ramo, Berra, Ortio or Gillies becomes a legitimate No. 1, never again draft a goalie, just sign a good free agent. 5. Trade off about 2 veterans each year in order to gradually transition the young players into the NHL. 6. Find a pest like Marchand or Shaw and keep a guy like McGratten so that no one tries to kill them, even if they deserve it. 7. Find 2 big stud defencemen (Ekblad and whoever). 8. Keep an open mind about small players. Many are more difficult to play against than bigger players.

I had begun to write a long article assessing the organization as it stands in regards to your shopping list but I somehow I lost it. So here's my shortened version. Point 1: I don't think we have to move anyone I think his longterm linemates are in the system; Poirier and Ferland, both possess skill, size and enough grit for BB. 2-4: that is the correct response; don't panic let it work itself out. 5: not going to happen the 3 UFA's are all going to be traded by the deadline. after that we only have 4/5 NHl forwards left; Hudler Glen+,Djones, TJG, and McG. You can assess them how you please. We have some other NHL players in the organization and again you can assess them: Backs, Bjones, Colborne, Byron, Bouma. With the other prospects(Granlun, Johny G, Klimchuk,Knight) we still need to add 2 skilled forwards with some grit. 6. A pest Glen+ can and has been that when he is on his game and he does not need hitman to protect him. 7. We have sound defensive core to build around: Gio, TJB, Wides, Russel and Smid. We definately could use some more size and grit. can spoon and Sieloff provide that? Billings could be a quarterback on the PP. 8. Yes there is still room for a number of small skilled players in the game (Sven, Granlund, Johny G, Russell, Billings, Byron)

Burke would be well advised to add a couple of freeagents each of next few years. One forward and one defender.

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#20 SmellOfVictory
December 18 2013, 11:07PM
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MontanaMan wrote:

Size and toughness are important - just ask the Oilers. Lots of skill but small, fragile and soft forwards and defence. Watch the Bruins, Ducks, Kings and other bigger teams and take note how they play. Watching the Ducks recently play the Oliers and how the small Oiler defence (Schultz, Larsen) couldn't handle Getzlaf or Perry. Part of the issue is size and strength - the other part is team toughness and all four lines playing the opposition hard. Teams like the Bruins come at the opposition in waves and are relentless. Lots for the Flames and many other teams to aspire to.

The issue with the Oilers is that their entire team sucks outside of their top two lines. Their defensive corps is uniformly awful, and their bottom six is comprised substantially of face punchers who have no business playing hockey in the NHL.

Most defencemen can't handle Getzlaf or Perry, whether it be Justin "What's Defence?" Schultz, or a more middle-of-the-road guy like Nick Hjalmarsson. That is why they are being paid north of 8 million dollars per year.

Now it's true, it's entirely possible to lose board battles due to lack of strength, and it's entirely possible to have size as a weakness. That said, a team not being big does not necessitate that team being bad. The Hawks are unquestionably the best team in the league, and they're almost exactly the same average size as the Oilers. They only have two defencemen over 6'1; the Oilers have four defencemen over 6'1. The issue, once again, is that the Oilers have crappy players. It's lack of skill, not lack of size or strength. Look at TJ Brodie and Kris Russel: neither of them are particularly big dudes. They're considered "undersized defencemen", yet both of them are very effective in a top 4 defensive role. Why? Because they don't suck at defending like 5/6ths of the Oilers' defence does.

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#21 KetchupKid
December 18 2013, 11:16PM
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Interesting stuff. The difference between "average" and "tall" in the Top 30 and the 10+ columns is significant. I'm not saying I'm in the truculent camp or anything, but its curve is suggesting something. I'd like to see height broken into smaller groupings - say per inch (6'0"/6'1"/6'2"/etc). If the pattern looks the same it would make a strong argument.

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#22 the-wolf
December 19 2013, 07:24AM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

The issue with the Oilers is that their entire team sucks outside of their top two lines. Their defensive corps is uniformly awful, and their bottom six is comprised substantially of face punchers who have no business playing hockey in the NHL.

Most defencemen can't handle Getzlaf or Perry, whether it be Justin "What's Defence?" Schultz, or a more middle-of-the-road guy like Nick Hjalmarsson. That is why they are being paid north of 8 million dollars per year.

Now it's true, it's entirely possible to lose board battles due to lack of strength, and it's entirely possible to have size as a weakness. That said, a team not being big does not necessitate that team being bad. The Hawks are unquestionably the best team in the league, and they're almost exactly the same average size as the Oilers. They only have two defencemen over 6'1; the Oilers have four defencemen over 6'1. The issue, once again, is that the Oilers have crappy players. It's lack of skill, not lack of size or strength. Look at TJ Brodie and Kris Russel: neither of them are particularly big dudes. They're considered "undersized defencemen", yet both of them are very effective in a top 4 defensive role. Why? Because they don't suck at defending like 5/6ths of the Oilers' defence does.

Well, sort of.

What I don't get with the article is that only addresses height, but not weight.

It's interesting to note that both Buffalo and the Oilers are on the small size in terms of weight. 193 and 188 respectively.

On the other hand, both Florida and Chicago are only 197 and there's obviously quite a gap in performance between the two.

While I'm sure there's a 'cut-off' in there somewhere (you can't be TOO small), I come down on the side of skill being more important than size. Skill, along with determination = the Blackhawks.

More than half the teams in the NHL are taller than Chicago and they way no more than the Panthers, but have two recent Cup. 1) Because they have enormous talent; 2) because they have unparalleled leadership.

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#23 Peter
December 19 2013, 08:50AM
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I'm not saying its EVERYTHING, but watching Z use Gio like a sock pocket in front of the net IS pretty convincing...

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#25 backburner
December 19 2013, 10:51AM
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@Byron Bader

I can't be convinced that size and skill are directly related in anyway.. I just hope that Burke doesn't move a guy like Gaudreau because he's not big enough.

It would be interesting though to see if you could measure "Truculence" in anyway... If blocked shots, hits thrown, net crashing or puck battles in the corners directly results in wins or Championships.

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#26 KetchupKid
December 19 2013, 11:04AM
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@Byron Bader

Ahh. Broken down that way, the 6'1"ers start outperforming the 6'2"ers and height looks a little closer to incidental. Thanks a lot for the extra numbers!

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#27 piscera.infada
December 19 2013, 11:14AM
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@backburner

Re: Gaudreau: I'm fairly certain Burke's already been singing the praises of Gaudreau. He's said on numerous occasions that they simply "need to surround him with size and skill". You don't just give up on the guy.

Re: "Truculence": I know, it's the buzz-word, everyone loves it, it's hilarious. The thing is, what you listed as "truculence" isn't anything special - that's hockey. Regardless of size, if you don't have the commitment to win puck battles or crash the net, you'll likely never be successful. Even Toews and Kane crash the net with regularity, Kane is also one of the hardest players to get the puck from. I think we need to divorce ourselves of the idea that "truculence" is somehow inherently devoid of skill. Truculence in and of itself isn't anything, it's just a buzz-word. It is however, something that successful professional athletes bring to the table at all times - it's better known as "heart", "passion", "drive", or "work-ethic".

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#28 BJ
December 19 2013, 11:29AM
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@byron bader

Ok... now about playoffs and cup winners... does size have any merit there?

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#29 backburner
December 19 2013, 11:39AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

Re: Gaudreau: I'm fairly certain Burke's already been singing the praises of Gaudreau. He's said on numerous occasions that they simply "need to surround him with size and skill". You don't just give up on the guy.

Re: "Truculence": I know, it's the buzz-word, everyone loves it, it's hilarious. The thing is, what you listed as "truculence" isn't anything special - that's hockey. Regardless of size, if you don't have the commitment to win puck battles or crash the net, you'll likely never be successful. Even Toews and Kane crash the net with regularity, Kane is also one of the hardest players to get the puck from. I think we need to divorce ourselves of the idea that "truculence" is somehow inherently devoid of skill. Truculence in and of itself isn't anything, it's just a buzz-word. It is however, something that successful professional athletes bring to the table at all times - it's better known as "heart", "passion", "drive", or "work-ethic".

I was assuming that "heart", "passion" etc.. is what Burke means when he says "Truculence"..

I agree with you that to be successful, you need that commitment to block shots and crash the net.. What I'm wondering is, for the advanced stats guys out there, how is that measured, if it can be? Is it considered talent, or is it more of a character trait?

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#30 piscera.infada
December 19 2013, 11:54AM
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backburner wrote:

I was assuming that "heart", "passion" etc.. is what Burke means when he says "Truculence"..

I agree with you that to be successful, you need that commitment to block shots and crash the net.. What I'm wondering is, for the advanced stats guys out there, how is that measured, if it can be? Is it considered talent, or is it more of a character trait?

I would assume it's measurable as a basic stat (ie: blocked shots, hits), moreover though it's an eye thing. I mean, it didn't take a rocket scientist to understand why despite his great skill, Kovalev was never truly a great player.

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#32 SmellOfVictory
December 19 2013, 02:12PM
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backburner wrote:

I was assuming that "heart", "passion" etc.. is what Burke means when he says "Truculence"..

I agree with you that to be successful, you need that commitment to block shots and crash the net.. What I'm wondering is, for the advanced stats guys out there, how is that measured, if it can be? Is it considered talent, or is it more of a character trait?

Blocking shots are measured, but it's not differentiated as a positive trait. With Fenwick it's ignored, and with Corsi it's considered a negative trait (if shots are being blocked, you don't have the puck, ergo it's a bad thing).

Stuff like crashing the net, etc. is not measured directly. It should, however, be measured indirectly by analytics (again, Corsi and Fenwick) as well as scoring chances. The shot attempt differentials measured and analyzed for advanced stats aren't just shooting; each shot attempt for or against is the result of a combination of factors, and it's fairly safe to say that each shot attempt for is the aggregate result of net beneficial on-ice actions, while each shot attempt against is the aggregate result of net detrimental on-ice actions.

With Corsi and Fenwick there is no discerning between the individual types of beneficial and detrimental on-ice actions in terms of takeaways, turnovers, zone entries, goalie screening, net crashing, proper cycling, etc. It's not a measure of how possession was acquired, maintained, or lost, but simply a measure of whether it was, and how often.

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#33 Parallex
December 19 2013, 03:37PM
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@backburner

Yes, as said above it doesn't make judgements on how positive (or negative) results are generated it just records that they were. Each positive Corsi/Fenwick event is the culmination of lot's of other activities.

When you think about it a blocked shot isn't a good thing (because like mentioned it means that the other team had the puck and directed it towards your net... obviously not a good thing) now in any hierarcy of bad things to occur in a hockey game it obviously ranks below an actual shot but it's still not good (It's the lesser evil, preferable to the greater evil but still not good).

One of my many misgivings about the Flames now being a Burketatorship is that I don't think he fully grasps things like that. That a team full of 5'9 danglers that get's outshot 2-1 on a nightly basis isn't any worse then a team of 6'4 bruisers that get's outshot 2-1 on a nightly basis. That it's better to be the team getting hit then the team hitting because the team getting hit has the puck, that it's better to be the team having it's shots blocked then the team blocking shots He seems far to focused on process rather then outcomes.

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#34 Chinook
December 23 2013, 08:54AM
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Byron Bader wrote:

Random fact from this analysis: The award for weirdest height-weight combo goes to Tampa's Andrej Sustr at 6'08'' and 200 pounds. Has anybody seen this gentleman in action? I would imagine he's actually physically invisible from certain angles.

Viewed from one angle, if he sticks out his tongue he has an uncanny resemblance to a zipper.

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