Ignorance, knowledge and shooting percentage

Jonathan Willis
December 19 2012 03:48PM

When looking at the impact of hockey blogs on discussion of the sport, shooting percentage is a decent example of how untrained amateurs have moved the puck forward.

For ages – and by ages I mean the dawn of hockey right down into the 2000’s – things like “really high shooting percentages are uncommon” were not obvious. Not to players, not to general managers, and really not to the guys hammering out reports for media publications or the fans reading them.

Fernando Pisani

This is something that should be painfully clear to anyone who has covered the Oilers at all since the last lockout. Consider, for example, Fernando Pisani’s 2006 playoff run, where he scored 14 goals in 24 games on 49 shots, good for a 28.6 shooting percentage.

The management of the Edmonton Oilers gave him a raise to $2.5 million per season against a salary cap of $44 million. The equivalent total against today’s $70.2 million cap is $4 million. Guys signed to that equivalent amount this off-season included Jiri Hudler (25 goals, 50 points), P-A Parenteau (18 goals, 67 points) and David Jones (20 goals, 37 points).

Optics may well have been involved; after all, the best word to describe the Oilers’ off-season that year was “exodus.” But Pisani was handed a four-year contract in the hopes that he would score enough to earn it. He started 2006-07 on the Oilers’ top line, with Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth. Smyth had scored 36 goals the year before; Horcoff was coming off a 73-point season. Both general manager Kevin Lowe and head coach Craig MacTavish talked about additional opportunities and additional minutes.

This is before we get into what the media and what the fans thought about Fernando Pisani. Suffice to say that optimism was widespread. The Hockey News said Pisani “should be good for 20-plus [goals]” and after mentioning him, Ales Hemsky and Joffrey Lupul proclaimed the Oilers “as skilled, young and dynamic as they’ve been in 20 years.” McKeen’s Hockey predicted 24 goals and 50 points. Pisani played 77 games, scoring 14 goals and failing to clear the 30-point plateau. It was his most productive season on that four-year contract.

The arguments in his favour at the time were pretty clear. He was going to shoot more. He was going to play more minutes, including on the power play. None of it happened, because as it turns out a 28.6 shooting percentage wasn’t sustainable. Pisani ultimately managed to score at just over one-third of that clip in his first year under the new deal.

Gilbert Brule

A more recent example is Gilbert Brule, a guy who jumped from being a sub-seven percent shooter with Columbus to a 14 percent plus shooter in Edmonton. I’m glossing over some other things, but suffice to say that when the argument was made that there were serious concerns, the guys who made it were laughed out of the building. Oilers management handed him a shiny new contract, to the approval of the majority of punditry and fandom alike.

Reasons for confidence were many and varied. Some argued that because Brule was a close range shooter his shooting percentage would be consistently high. Others argued his shot totals would increase because he was young and hadn’t been given enough time on top lines and the power play.

The bottom promptly fell out, for a number of reasons including health issues. Interestingly, even at the AHL level Brule failed to match his NHL shooting percentage from the previous year; in the majors he failed to crack double digits in shooting percentage.

The Point

In hindsight, the unsustainability of Pisani’s playoff goal-scoring seems painfully obvious. At the time, everybody – including the experienced hockey men making multi-million dollar decisions for the team – missed the boat. Much the same can be said about Brule. Neither was an isolated incident; hockey men around the league have made and continue to make those mistakes, whether it was Toronto signing Jason Blake in 2007 or Buffalo signing Ville Leino in 2011.

Between those four guys alone, NHL teams spent more than $60 million on contracts immediately following a shooting percentage bubble. The vast majority of that money was wasted.

I bring this stuff up because people wonder why the online hockey stats crowd continues to talk about shooting percentage and other items. An Oilers Nation piece pondered that very question as recently as this Monday. The answer is this: it matters, a lot, and it’s something that still has not been accepted by many.

The reason for that lack of acceptance is obvious. The presence of shooting percentage-based analysis in hockey media started online. It wasn’t something that NHL insiders were leaking to journalists; by their actions it’s clear that an alarming number of NHL insiders had no idea it mattered as recently as the last few years. It wasn’t something that was generated by the professional media, either, and propagated in a mainstream publication.

Instead, the importance of shooting percentage in analyzing goal scoring has only been emphasized publicly because of the work of a group of talented amateurs, guys writing on websites. It is those places where people like me have learned basic principles and contributed what we could in turn.

The value has been an increased understanding of the game, and not just by the diehards with the spreadsheets. And every time someone breaks out a project studying zone entries or analyzes translations from the AHL to NHL or evaluates how penalty-killing save percentage fluctuates from year to year, they’re furthering everyone’s knowledge.

That’s why they don’t “just sit back and enjoy” the show. The stats guys could just shut up and watch the games. But we’d all be less informed if they did.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#51 Will
December 19 2012, 05:19PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

You are confusing "luck" with "chance".

As in a high scoring percentage indicates someone was chancy? Or that someone had more chances? Or someone had better chances?

I'm not sure if you're trying to say I made a simple grammatical error, or if because the terms mean something different, the stats prove something more tangible than luck.

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#52 Sanaa Montana
December 19 2012, 05:20PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Please let this morph into a debate on Evolution *crosses fingers*

Lets talk about will and representation, or maybe subjects and objects.

Nah, #@$% it! Let's talk stats.

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#53 TigerUnderGlass
December 19 2012, 05:28PM
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Will wrote:

As in a high scoring percentage indicates someone was chancy? Or that someone had more chances? Or someone had better chances?

I'm not sure if you're trying to say I made a simple grammatical error, or if because the terms mean something different, the stats prove something more tangible than luck.

Forget it. I can see this will be a waste of time I can't afford today.

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#54 David S
December 19 2012, 05:36PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:
It looked like Pisani had turned a corner during the 06 playoffs. I don't think anybody really took that 28% SP seriously, but it would have been reasonable to expect he'd hit for 20 during a full season, no?

Was that a reasonable expectation?

Why would it be reasonable to expect the 30-year old winger to post the best numbers of his career?

It wouldn't be. The 2006 run wasn't "reasonable." It happened, but it was lightning in a bottle and never should have been taken as a serious indicator that Pisani's career was on the upswing.

I'll give you Pisani was on the back side of his best years, but it would been easy to surmise he'd turned a corner and be able to reasonably produce and fulfill the contract.

Sure there was an element of overpay regardless, but if (IF) he'd been healthy, that was a decent bet. The issue at hand was that his condition was getting progressively worse, which I'll bet very much affected his performance.

All I'm saying was that it's highly unlikely that contract was based on a 28% SP. No doubt the 06 run performance was exceptional, but it could have been seen as an indicator he had more in the tank, or had found a new level - not the same as the playoffs obviously, but enough to warrant higher production the following year. More than likely a gut feeling he'd found the right combination of skill and confidence that would translate into a few decent years.

Unfortunately, circumstances and reality were different.

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#57 stevezie
December 19 2012, 06:49PM
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I'd be interested to see if there are any difference in shooting percentages between regular season and playoffs for "clutch winners" like C. Lemiuex and Tikkanen. I'd bet that they can will themselves to generate more shots, but cannot suddenly make themselves shoot better.

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#58 Pucker
December 19 2012, 07:01PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

At what point does an "anomaly" become a trend? I suspect that the Steven Stamkos and Thomas Holmstroms of the world will have high S.P. for the most productive parts of their careers - for two totally different reasons. One is a skilled sniper and the other bangs in pucks from within two feet of the goal crease.

The highest career shooting % over a career I could find - Craig Simpson 23.7%, who scored much like Holmstrom. Mike Bossy was a pure sniper who scored at over 21% - most of them beauties. A mid first rounder who was not necessarily a speedster nor could he "boom" a puck, but had a quick accurate release .... hmmm.

At what point along Bossy's 10 year career would the "shooting % propeller heads" of today say his numbers were warranted? Over nine years he produced an unbelievably consistent range of 20.2% to 24.7% before his final injury riddled year. Year 3? Year 9? Never? Different era but the point is the same.

Andrew Brunette has maintained a 17.7% pace. Alex Tanguay is at 18.6% for his career. Alex "Freaking" Tanguay! Why is Eberle maintaining an 18% SP so out of reach? IMO he is more talented than these guys and he clearly values not taking low % shots and constantly works on his release. He may drop a little, but I do not see this "shooting % cliff" being an absolute certainty. He is 27% plus in the AHL this year!

Clearly, Ebs has to do it more than one year, but I see him being a high % shooter given his talent, teammates and work ethic - for many years.

Mike Bossy!! There's a guy I though had a good chance of scoring everytime he took a shot. I've always wondered what makes him different from everyone else. Is it just a knack for shooting where the goalie isn't? I know I've seen goalies so bad they'd make saves because they weren't where they're supposed to be. Are these the ones he missed?

I enjoy your articles Mr. Willis. As I do Mr. Brownlee's and everyone else contributing to this site. I'd love to see something on Bossy. I think he might have been an alien.

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#59 DSF
December 19 2012, 07:21PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

wait for it... wait for it......

the paaravi terrible shooting percentage and bust comment is about to come.

Yep.

We now have 5 seasons of Paajarvi's dreadful shooting percentage to draw on.

You think it's going to change?

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#60 SmellOfVictory
December 19 2012, 07:41PM
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@The Soup Fascist

Brunette and Tanguay are both incredibly low volume shooters. Eberle is a mid-volume shooter. This implies that he does not "pick his shots" to the same extent.

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#61 They're $hittie
December 19 2012, 08:37PM
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@DSF

how do you have five, he is in his third season in NA pro.

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#62 David S
December 19 2012, 08:46PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I don't think we're all that far apart in our takes here. I'm not explicitly saying the Oilers saw his run and said, 'he can do that again' - rather I think they did exactly what you suggest, surmising that he'd turned the corner when what he'd really done was had a hot streak.

Either way, without that playoff run he wouldn't have been a $10 million/four years player.

Agreed on that point. I still think he might have actually turned that corner had Colitis not been an issue, but I suppose we'll never know the specifics. Good article BTW Jonathan. Sparked lots of decent debate. I seriously do not know how you guys are hanging in right about now.

Props!

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#63 DSF
December 19 2012, 08:57PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

how do you have five, he is in his third season in NA pro.

You might want to look at his shooting percentage in the SEL.

No different.

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#64 They're $hittie
December 19 2012, 09:00PM
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@DSF

its a totally different game, and he was playing as an under ager.

also he scored a decent amount of goals despite his percentage in that league.

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#65 DSF
December 19 2012, 09:09PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

its a totally different game, and he was playing as an under ager.

also he scored a decent amount of goals despite his percentage in that league.

Shooting percentage is shooting percentage in any league.

In his final SEL season, he scored 12 goals in 49 games with a shooting percentage around 6%.

For comparison, Canucks prospect Niklas Jensen has already scored 12 goals in the SEL in 30 games and he is only 19.

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#66 Jason Gregor
December 19 2012, 09:35PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Alex Tanguay is an *extremely* selective shooter - and prior to Stamkos the league's most accurate.

Sidney Crosby's a more talented guy than Tanguay (and Eberle, for that matter) but he's only a career 15% shooter despite the cerebral nature of his game and his high level of skill.

But you're right - what is an anomaly now will be a trend if it continues. But then again, at the same point in his career Andrew Cogliano had a better statistical argument for being a high percentage shooter than Eberle does.

JW,

You are misleading bringing up Cogliano. He had an 18.4% in his first season and he did it on 18 goals.

Eberle did his on 34 goals which is hard to do, since with more shots there is more chance of not scoring.

Comparing him to Cogliano doesn't help your case, in fact it makes it look like you are choosing the worst case scenario.

No one needs to look at goals, points or SH% to see that Eberle is a much better scorer than Cogliano.

And I might suggest some caution when ripping people for their smarts or lack there of. Remember it wasn't long ago that you stated the Oilers should stay away from drafting Nugent-Hopkins.

http://oilersnation.com/2011/2/5/the-first-overall-pick-avoid-nugent-hopkins/score

Stats don't always lead one to the correct evaluation.

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#67 DSF
December 19 2012, 09:39PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

You know DSF, it's really annoying when you compare players playing in the NHL, or have played, and done moderately well, to some guy, usually a year or two older, who hasn't even laced for his NHL team yet, and say he's the better prospect.

MPS is a good pick, he has had 2 years of NHL experience. He had 15 goals as a 19 year old, had a really rough year after that, and so now he is a dead beat, busted prospect and we should have taken Peter Holland? Who hasn't even played a game in the NHL yet. Oh, he's played in 4, he has a nice SH% too, what a pretty pick.

No, I was merely responding to the assertion that Paajarvi was great in the SEL.

He wasn't.

Due to injury, Paajarvi was granted the second most TOI among Oilers forwards in his rookie season and only managed to score 15 goals.

He will NEVER have that opportunity again.

MPS is a BAD pick at 10th overall.

He's trending like Jannik Hansen who was picked in the 9th round.

The Oilers should have taken Dimitri Kulikov who has scored 70 points in the NHL compared to Paajarvi's 42.

Kulikov is a DEFENSEMAN.

And, yes, I did say so at the time.

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#68 Robin Brownlee
December 19 2012, 10:23PM
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From the item that prompted Willis to write this:

"I know this is a bizarre concept, but is there any chance fans – Wanye prancing around in his No. 14 jersey naked from the waist down in some California rooming house doesn't count -- can just sit back and enjoy the display Eberle is putting on right now without endlessly dissecting what we're seeing?"

AND . . ,.

"For those so inclined, there'll be lots of time for I-told-you-so when the NHL eventually gets up and running again."

I don't recall suggesting Monday that shooting percentage is a statistic without merit. The point, for those who missed it, is that with all the analysis being done today, there's nothing wrong with putting down the calculator long enough to sit back and just say, "Wow, this is really something." Relax. Enjoy it. There'll be lots of time for slicing and dicing the numbers later. It was directed at fans (thus my reference to "fans").

Apparently, that's a vote for ignorance and a take that cannot go unchallenged by those, like Willis, in quest of knowledge.

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#69 Johe
December 19 2012, 10:59PM
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DSF wrote:

No, I was merely responding to the assertion that Paajarvi was great in the SEL.

He wasn't.

Due to injury, Paajarvi was granted the second most TOI among Oilers forwards in his rookie season and only managed to score 15 goals.

He will NEVER have that opportunity again.

MPS is a BAD pick at 10th overall.

He's trending like Jannik Hansen who was picked in the 9th round.

The Oilers should have taken Dimitri Kulikov who has scored 70 points in the NHL compared to Paajarvi's 42.

Kulikov is a DEFENSEMAN.

And, yes, I did say so at the time.

We get it. You smrt. We dum.

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#70 Pension Plan Puppets
December 19 2012, 11:21PM
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K_Mart wrote:

I think you're bang on J.W. but you come off as arrogant when you finish your article by reaffirming your value to the analysis of the game. Let your work do the talking. No need to always tell us peasants how uninformed we'd be without you. I know those aren't your exact words, but that's how you sound to me.

Good article otherwise... as usual. I think you may even be a little generous by suggesting Ebs can sustain a 14%+ sht %. 12-14 is probably more accurate. A career avg between 55-75 pts a season with maybe one or two 85-90 pt seasons would be plenty good.

It would be a lot easier to not remind people that statistical analysis is valid and advances understanding of hockey if major media and the average fan didn't keep insisting that it doesn't.

Here's a deal: those people stop saying this stuff is useless and we'll stop reminding them just how wrong they are.

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#71 K_Mart
December 19 2012, 11:57PM
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@Pension Plan Puppets

Stats are extremely useful, but if your reason for constantly reminding people how dumb they are is because " they started it" than I'd suggest you be the first to man up and let the stats do the talking. No need for the "I'll stop when they stop nonsense."

Stats are useful whether you call people stupid or not. So save your breath next time.

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#72 Jesse
December 20 2012, 12:01AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

JW,

You are misleading bringing up Cogliano. He had an 18.4% in his first season and he did it on 18 goals.

Eberle did his on 34 goals which is hard to do, since with more shots there is more chance of not scoring.

Comparing him to Cogliano doesn't help your case, in fact it makes it look like you are choosing the worst case scenario.

No one needs to look at goals, points or SH% to see that Eberle is a much better scorer than Cogliano.

And I might suggest some caution when ripping people for their smarts or lack there of. Remember it wasn't long ago that you stated the Oilers should stay away from drafting Nugent-Hopkins.

http://oilersnation.com/2011/2/5/the-first-overall-pick-avoid-nugent-hopkins/score

Stats don't always lead one to the correct evaluation.

The argument against drafting RNH in the above link is well supported based on the information available months before the entry draft. I'm curious as to what about this article you consider to be lacking in smarts, as you implied. The fact that you feel as though it's obvious who was the better draft choice so early in these players' careers seems silly, especially after there was so much debate around who was a more complete player in their rookie seasons between RNH and Landeskog.

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#73 GVBlackhawk
December 20 2012, 12:02AM
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DSF wrote:

No, I was merely responding to the assertion that Paajarvi was great in the SEL.

He wasn't.

Due to injury, Paajarvi was granted the second most TOI among Oilers forwards in his rookie season and only managed to score 15 goals.

He will NEVER have that opportunity again.

MPS is a BAD pick at 10th overall.

He's trending like Jannik Hansen who was picked in the 9th round.

The Oilers should have taken Dimitri Kulikov who has scored 70 points in the NHL compared to Paajarvi's 42.

Kulikov is a DEFENSEMAN.

And, yes, I did say so at the time.

The 2009 draft was not a good one for the Oilers. In hindsight, there were better picks available at the 10th position. But if the draft was redone today, MPS would still likely go in the top 15. That's not an outrageous miss.

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#74 Jesse
December 20 2012, 12:03AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

From the item that prompted Willis to write this:

"I know this is a bizarre concept, but is there any chance fans – Wanye prancing around in his No. 14 jersey naked from the waist down in some California rooming house doesn't count -- can just sit back and enjoy the display Eberle is putting on right now without endlessly dissecting what we're seeing?"

AND . . ,.

"For those so inclined, there'll be lots of time for I-told-you-so when the NHL eventually gets up and running again."

I don't recall suggesting Monday that shooting percentage is a statistic without merit. The point, for those who missed it, is that with all the analysis being done today, there's nothing wrong with putting down the calculator long enough to sit back and just say, "Wow, this is really something." Relax. Enjoy it. There'll be lots of time for slicing and dicing the numbers later. It was directed at fans (thus my reference to "fans").

Apparently, that's a vote for ignorance and a take that cannot go unchallenged by those, like Willis, in quest of knowledge.

Are people not entitle to enjoy and appreciate hockey in their own ways?

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#75 dougtheslug
December 20 2012, 12:20AM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

The 2009 draft was not a good one for the Oilers. In hindsight, there were better picks available at the 10th position. But if the draft was redone today, MPS would still likely go in the top 15. That's not an outrageous miss.

Truth be told, it wasn't a very strong draft outside of the top 5 or 6. Only 2 players drafted below MPS have more goals - Marcus Johanson for the Caps, taken 24th, and Ryan O'Reilly for the Avs, taken 33rd. I'm not sure if there were a lot of whiffs by GMs, just not a lot of elite talent available Even DSF's much touted Kulikov is averaging .353 points per game in the NHL, .006 more than MPS, at .347ppg. And MPS has doubled that point output in the AHL, averaging .657 ppg this season. By the way, DSF, please provide your 2009 documentation that you touted Kulikov over MPS. Playing woulda coulda shoulda with the draft is the easiest game in the world.

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#76 stevezie
December 20 2012, 12:29AM
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@dougtheslug

I can't speak for DSF, but a lot of people were bully on Kulikov. He fell because of the Russian factor.

I think you're making the same mistake DSF is, Doug. You're treating the draft like a finished story. I think there are a lot of good prospects in the 10-20. No one has cemented their reputation yet (other than Kulikov), but I think any one of the 10-20 picks would be greedily snapped up if made available. (Earlier someone mocked Holland- he is lighting up the AHL at the same level Nuge was with lesser teammates.)

GVBlackhawk was right.

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#77 Old Retired Guy
December 20 2012, 01:12AM
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#56 DSF Regarding Pajaarvi

Pajaarvi at 10 is not looking great at this point ( Still young with time to turn things around)

Also, Kadri and Glennie went 7 and 8 and not looking so good either...

7. Nazem Kadri, Toronto, c, London (OHL)

8. Scott Glennie, Dallas, rw, Brandon (WHL)

10. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Edmonton, lw, Timra (Sweden).

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#78 dougtheslug
December 20 2012, 01:50AM
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stevezie wrote:

I can't speak for DSF, but a lot of people were bully on Kulikov. He fell because of the Russian factor.

I think you're making the same mistake DSF is, Doug. You're treating the draft like a finished story. I think there are a lot of good prospects in the 10-20. No one has cemented their reputation yet (other than Kulikov), but I think any one of the 10-20 picks would be greedily snapped up if made available. (Earlier someone mocked Holland- he is lighting up the AHL at the same level Nuge was with lesser teammates.)

GVBlackhawk was right.

You are totally right, it is premature to write off the top 10-20 (or more), and I fully agree there are stories to be written yet. Including MPS. Still, I think, when you scroll down the list, that there are going to have to be a lot of late bloomers to rescue that particular draft year.

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#79 dessert1111
December 20 2012, 08:06AM
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I think we may all be a little irritable from talking about the same things repeatedly without any new games. Remember all, we're all just discussing a sport we love :)

I appreciate the article very much, but I would like to add this: stats certainly have their place as a way to understand the game on another level, but that should not come at the expense of enjoying the game. We talk a lot about things like cautious optimism, which is, statistically speaking, a good thing to have, but if we never let ourselves really enjoy the fun of the game and Eberle scoring 34 goals, whether he's likely to repeat it or not, then there really is no point in discussing it. Enjoyment first -- it's entertainment.

I would like to make one point about stats in general that doesn't seem to be made much around here: stats can be extremely misleading. You can win an argument with stats, but it doesn't mean you are right. But you absolutely can look more credible with statistical insight. Understanding how to use stats (and research in general) is imperative to draw proper conclusions.

Many of the things we are talking about we don't need stats to reach an intelligent conclusion. When I saw Pisani in the playoffs, it was right before I took my first stats class and I didn't think for a second he was going to score like that again. I loved the guy and had a ball watching that playoff run. Of course I didn't think he was going to be a goal scorer all of a sudden. He was a vet 3rd line winger who had an excellent playoff who provided some secondary scoring, but not even a lot. Why the hell would he suddenly start being a goal-scorer? I didn't need to look at his shooting percentage to figure that out.

With Eberle, yeah his shooting percentage will probably come down. But I don't need stats to tell me he has a wicked shot and is a good goal-scorer, probably one of the best in the league. Anyone who watches hockey can see that. So as long as we're still able to enjoy that without freaking out about sustainable percentages, it's all good.

Happy holidays to everyone at ON!

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#80 OilClog
December 20 2012, 09:13AM
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Any comparison of Cogliano and Eberle is ridiculous.

Eberle is a pure sniper, he's going to always have a higher then normal sp%, when you're playing with 1st overall talent on a nightly basis I tend to believe its a bit of a shot at them too to suggest a player of Eberle's skill is just going to drop off and not continue to improve.

For years now on different stages, Eberle has proven time and time again he scores and get points.. Stats are great, so is accepting what you see and looking at the glass as its half full instead of half empty. He isn't a fluke, he isn't done becoming the player he will be, the sky is the limits.

Cogliano and Eberle comparisons.. What the hell is happening to us.

Could you imagine a world where RNH is in New Jersey.. Damn you Willis.

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#81 Rick
December 20 2012, 09:22AM
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Yay, another article that comes off as seeking validation and legitimacy.

I have no idea what a Vic Farrari has to offer but Gabe Desjardins' stuff is not without it's flaws. It's a nice feather in his cap if teams or people are using his database as a resource but if they are using ONLY his data base to reach conclusions then they probably aren't really advancing their goal.

I think this article/debate is a great summary why people lose patience with the online stats crowd.

The stats tend to get over emphasized - such as reducing all of the encompassing problems of a career, right through to the managments role, to a single statistic in shooting percentage.

This is followed up with the suggestion that without the new emphasis on statistics - and the subsequent better understanding of what's going on - the game is a lesser experience.

To finally admitting that despite all this knowledge it's not a crystal ball into the future. With that admission you almost have wonder what the point even is.

There is no doubt a place for stats and analysis but I think for the vast majority of fans simply enjoying the ride still trumps all.

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#82 DSF
December 20 2012, 09:30AM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

The 2009 draft was not a good one for the Oilers. In hindsight, there were better picks available at the 10th position. But if the draft was redone today, MPS would still likely go in the top 15. That's not an outrageous miss.

The 2009 draft is actually looking pretty good.

It needs to be pointed out that the first round featured a lot of D in Hedman, Ellis, OEL, Kulikov, DeHaan, Leddy Rundblad, Moore Erixon etc and we all know they generally take longer to develop.

It should also be noted that in judging drafts, we need to look at the Oilers factor, that being take the early results of Oiler picks with a grain of salt since the team pushes its picks into the NHL much quicker that most other teams.

Normally, I don't think you can accurately judge a draft until 5 years out but at this point I would think there are several forwards picked below Paajarvi who may surpass him in the near future.

Holland

Kreider

Josefsson

Johanssen (already has)

Caron

Palmieri

O'Reilly (already has)

Clifford

Silfverberg

Orlov

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#84 nope
December 20 2012, 02:19PM
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@Jonathan Willis

I'm with ya, JW. You bring up a valid point. An in-depth analysis reveals more information, that's all there is to it. No, SH% isn't the be-all-end-all, absolute determiner in a player's success, but I do believe that it is a real and necessary part of a scouting report that can be useful in analyzing a player.

Of course, I'd rather be reading about actual hockey, but given the lack of available content, this will have to suffice. I was actually quite surprised when people took offence. JW wasn't tooting his own horn here. I didn't think any arrogance was present in the article at all.

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#85 The Oilers Shot Clock
December 20 2012, 04:05PM
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The people-who-took-offense-to-this-article percentage is at 18.5%.Personally I missed the part where we should feel insulted, but Im pretty sure Willis' next article will naturally regress towards the mean. The WJC is about to begin and it will finally provide the Columnists here some easy zone starts and softer minutes. 18.5% is not sustainable over a long period of time. Chin up JW.

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#86 Oiler Al
December 20 2012, 06:03PM
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Dessert 1111, says it best.

Craiger ... not sure where you coming from, looks like you didnt get that Prozac bottle opened.

From my point of view, [ and I am not pumping tires here], but nowhere in Willis's column was he condecending or rude etc. I think Willis is one of the hardest working writers here, he certainly churns out the columns for our enjoyment and commentary. He knows his stuff even though I am not a stats geek per say. I remember when the plus/minus was "god" in this game., Thinks change,.. additions, deletions etc. The game has changed.

Keep the cards and letters coming.

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#87 GVBlackhawk
December 20 2012, 06:37PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'm astounded by the notion that I've insulted anybody in this piece. Really I am.

Even in the initial draft, you'll note that I say "we'd all be stupider" - I'm including myself because the only reason I know to look for things like zonestarts is because somebody taught me to look for them.

No offense was intended, and re-reading the piece for the dozenth time I'm at a loss as to why it's being taken.

That's right. You just keep yer fancy edjucatin' to yerself.

Seriously though, you can't open your mouth these days without offending somebody. Reality is, statistics are very useful because nobody can remember all of the nuances that happen throughout a game. Our memories are not that good. There is nothing wrong with trying to educate the masses. People don't like change and all of the advanced stats stuff is pretty new.

In addition, some less intelligent folk get offended simply because they don't understand it.

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#88 Johnny
December 21 2012, 03:04AM
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I appreciate what you guys do, but I don't really like having it thrown in my face as to how great you are.

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#89 gcw_rocks
December 21 2012, 09:19AM
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It does come off as a "i'm right and the rest of you are flirting with ignorance" kind of article, but not horribly so.

I think there are times where you have to stand up and point to shooting percentage and say, "hey, we have an outlier here!" Cogliano and Pisani, neither of whom were expected to be scorers entering the NHL fit the bill. When they light it up, we should be cautious at least, suspicious at worst. By the time Brule hit his high watermark, there was enough history there to include him with Cogs and Pisani.

But, I think we should be more cautious with Eberle. He was drafted because he was a scorer. He has history to back that up, and his 34 goals, as Gregor points out, is in sniper territory.

Therefore, we should recognize that Eberle could regress to the mean, but we should also be open to the possibility that he will exceed it. In other words, a balanced view is probably good, but the longer the debate around Eberle goes on, the more polarized people seem to be becoming.

We've been warned. He could regress. Thanks. I will be wary for the signs. But in the meantime, let me enjoy the show.

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#90 Oiltimer
December 21 2012, 01:29PM
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Skating since I wus 3, hockey since I was 6, I wus from the "saw him good school". I knew Charlie Huddy was a keeper and Jimmy Carson was not. I thought I wus knowlegable re: "our game" until I started following the blogs during the last lockout. The thing about stats. ... they can SHOW you what you think you know. One can go overboard with them, of course, but to the average "Fan"atic they only enhance the experience they do not replace it. Like a glass of good wine to a meal. Baseball is a stat. friendly sport because a lot of the time nothing happens else. Good, civilized debate also enhances the meal.

Keep up the good work JW you're the top.

Keep safe all and seasons best

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