November 07 2012 08:53AM
One of the things that I was most curious about coming into the lockout was how minor league hockey would fare with no NHL games being played. On the one hand, you know that the league will be filled with better players, and in some cases (like Oklahoma City), the team will be able to market some of the best young players in the game. On the other hand, hockey will be even more under the radar generally, and fans generally don't care much for work stoppages. So is AHL attendance up or is it down so far this season?
November 06 2012 02:36PM
Still building on the infant stages of my fantasy predictor work, I was looking across forwards with 20+ games the last five years and decided to add a metric where I took the shots attempted (technically, it would be like "Fenwick attempted"; shots plus missed shots) while a player was on the ice and determined what percentage of those shots were attempted by the player. This percentage of attempted shots (%AttSh) was my way of saying, "Okay, I don't care what line you're on, or where you start on the ice...how many of your line's shots did you take?" At the time, I was more interested in seeing if it was a stable metric for fantasy hockey prediction; if it was, I could consider it a marker of player behavior, or talent, and use it to predict how many shots a player might take. I was also interested in labeling people "puck hogs."
Full disclosure: I've played with puck hogs often in my life, and I've always been okay with setting people up (even though I have a pretty good shot). If you've ever played in an adult league, chances are you've played with a puck hog, and if you think you haven't - YOU ARE IT. So there.
Anyway, I was surprised to find that it actually was a pretty stable indicator of human behavior, and not much of an indicator of talent, making it an important adjustment for fantasy hockey but also fun to use for pointing fingers. So...who's hogging the puck?
November 06 2012 07:12AM
There are a lot of things that can happen to a team over the course of an NHL season that will result in really poor results. As a fan of the Edmonton Oilers, I know that injuries and ineffectiveness can really cripple a team. Every now and again you might end up with Jeff Deslauriers as your regular starting goaltender, Sebastien Bisaillon taking a turn on defense straight out of junior, or Ryan Potulny among your team's leading scorers. There's no doubt some bad luck mixed in when this kind of thing happens, but in some cases, it's probably also bad planning. Over the next several days, I'm going to take a look at how many players NHL teams have used at each position in a given season in order to provide a more concrete idea for what's reasonable as far as adversity. I begin today by checking on goaltender usage.
November 05 2012 04:06PM
By Wendy (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, I looked at undrafted NCAA players and discussed how they can be a resource to teams looking for cheap organizational depth. I also looked at what schools these players came from and pointed out that there wasn’t one school superior at producing talent in that area, as the top school, Boston College, produced a total of six UDFA’s who blossomed into NHL players. However, something I did notice was that most of the UDFA players from the NCAA were coming from the WCHA conference and most of those who turned into NHL players came from either there or the CCHA.
What about NHL players in general, though? Is there one school (or group of schools) that is superior at generating NHL talent compared to their peers? One would assume so because there are more kids playing hockey in states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, so we would expect there to be more draft picks and NHL talent generated from schools in those states. That assumption can be very misleading, though as there are many successful hockey programs out east that have also produced NHL talent.
To see which schools have produced the most NHL-ers, I looked at every NCAA player who was either drafted by an NHL team (entry & supplemental) or signed as a free agent out of college.
November 05 2012 02:18PM
Flames fans are probably happy to hear that their team's 23-year old center Mikael Backlund is tearing the cover off the ball in the Allsvenskan so far this season (10GP, 8 goals, 19 points, 1.9 PPG). The significant caveat being, of course, that the Allsvenskan (or SWE-1) league doesn't appear to be all that good. As Graham Wiswell put it on twitter after viewing a few highlights:
@kent_wilson Good for Backlund, but uh... That level of hockey looks like a minor step up from beer league— Graham (@WiswellMRU)