An Outsiders Inside view of the NHL Stats Revolution - Part 2

Kent Wilson
September 03 2014 12:00PM

road-ahead


(In part 1 I discussed the current state of advanced stats in the NHL with a view to defining an "ideal state" for NHL clubs in their efforts to establish modern analytics departments. In part 2, we look at where this form of analysis came from and where it may be headed in the future)

“I’ve never said, never thought, that it was better to be an outsider than it was to be an insider, that my view of the game was better than anyone else’s. It’s different; better in some ways, worse in some ways. What I have said is, since we are outsiders…let us use our position as outsiders to what advantage we can. Let us back off from the trees, look at the forest as a whole, and see what we can learn from that.”

- Bill James

Having been an early adopter and advocate of possession-based analysis, perhaps the most common complaint I encountered over the years was how, if corsi was so valuable, it was not actively employed by those who make their living inside the game. If the virtues of this analysis are so clear, why didn't the experts come up with it? How could a bunch of no-name amateurs create something that could be of value to experienced, lifelong hockey men? 

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Reasonable Expectations: Max Reinhart

Ryan Pike
September 03 2014 08:30AM

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Paul Reinhart and his wife had three children, all boys. The youngest, Samson, is arguably the most gifted with natural hockey talents. The middle child, Griffin, is arguably the most physically gifted in terms of size and strength. But the eldest child, Maxwell, may be the smartest in terms of hockey IQ.

Max, as he is more commonly called, isn't big by hockey standards, and he's not the fastest skater, strongest shooter or passer, nor is he particularly exceptional at any one thing. Except for the fact that he's whip-smart in terms of the game of hockey. He's just got a knack for being in the right place and the right time, and for working his tail off to get where he needs to be.

Calgary's first selection - in the third round - in the 2010 Draft, Reinhart has two professional seasons under his belt following a pretty good junior career. Can he make the jump to full-time NHL work?

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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

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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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