Numerology

Recall my earlier article back in August about the
changing world of sports journalism and something I had remarked on in regards
to the misconception amongst some in the media about the intention of advanced
analytics. Here is what I wrote: Nobody, at least not a single person I can find, is
suggesting that advanced analytics should be used as a sole source for all
hockey decisions. Instead, they are being suggested as a complement to aid in
separating the signal from the noise, when it
comes to reviewing games or making player asset decisions.

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Well, in the spirit of the season (training camp and roster
projections, that is) I decided to try and do just that. I’m going to draw up a
roster made up entirely of some of the strongest players in various advanced
stats categories, and keep it all under the current salary cap, and see what
sort of team we end up with.The purpose of this is to illustrate what a numerically-chosen roster might look like and offer up some real names that we can then discuss. 

I’ll be drawing on a few different statistical categories
pulled from ExtraSkater (before it went dark), Hockey Analysis, and a Behind
the Net, then dropping the names into capgeek to use its model for calculating
cap hit and deployment. The categories include Fenwick (Fenwick = Shots +
Missed Shots), IPP (Individual Points Percentage – The percentage of goals
scored by players team while player is on the ice that the player had a point
on), and points per 60 minutes.

I’m prioritizing players who control the puck and send it in
the other direction. So, yeah, Mikael Backlund and TJ Brodie are on the team.

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None of the players chosen were selected ahead of the
statistical categories. I let the numbers make the list and then went down
until I found names that I could afford so as to provide enough balance between
the forward, defense and goaltending. To be completely honest there were only
two players that I knew from the beginning I had to get on the roster and they
were the two Flames because of my familiarity with how well they handle the
possession side of the game and the value of their current contracts. Virtually
every other name that appears surprised me.