January 18 2013 09:25AM
In any given NHL season, pure luck accounts for 38% of the standings. 66% of a season's save percentage is luck. Shooting percentage? Mostly luck. Luck dominates single-season results because the sample size is so small - 82 games, a limited number of iterations to allow for the skill signal to separate itself from the noise of the season. In smaller segments, crazy things happen: horrible teams masquerade as playoff teams, terrible goaltenders look like Vezina winners, lottery teams can lead a conference. In a lockout-shortened 48-game season, expect luck to take center stage and manifest itself in wondrous ways.
January 17 2013 08:52PM
Sports writers love the cliched and the inane, and the NHL lockout has given them a cornucopia of delights. Of those delights, one is being used, nay abused, by nearly all of them. "In a 48 game season, every game matters/counts." And fans love the narrative. Don't believe me? Check out Twitter. Though, to be fair, only about half of those tweets are from fans - the rest are sports writers. Check the news.
January 16 2013 08:07PM
Photo by leech44, via Wikimedia Commons
One is a tall, lanky defenseman who skates like the wind, hits like a train and handles the puck like no other defenseman in the draft in the last few years. The other is a short, stocky forward, who skates like the wind, attacks like Taylor Hall and fills the scoresheet like no forward in the draft since...Taylor Hall. Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon are running away with the 2013 draft rankings, and while MacKinnon holds a slight edge, it's essentially a dead heat.
The sources for the consensus list are Bob McKenzie, Future Considerations, ISS, Ryan Kennedy, Craig Button, Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, and The Scouting Report. Their rankings are weight by their accuracy in ranking previous drafts: Bob McKenzie's rankings carry the most weight as he's the most accurate prognosticator in the group.
October 26 2012 04:08PM
When we last checked in on the 2013 NHL Draft rankings, it was all about Nathan MacKinnon. The October rankings...haven't changed at all. He's still the number one player on the list and it's not close. Copper & Blue writer Alan Hull got to view MacKinnon in person in early October and though he thought MacKinnon had an off game, he did see the skill:
"He certainly showed that he does have high-level skills, though I didn't see anything on this night that I would classify as elite. Among his biggest assets, he has the ability to be strong on the puck and hold off defenders with his strength and he has some explosive speed when he wanted to show it, which unfortunately was not often enough on this night."
Hull's biggest criticism? A lack of attention to defense. Something that is nearly universal in young scoring centers:
As a centre, he needed to be down below the face-off dot much more often engaging in the team's defensive zone coverage. Instead, I found him to be staying too high, and at the first appearance of an opportunity for the Mooseheads to gain possession, he was gone...out towards the blue line and frequently beyond it hoping to lead the rush.
MacKinnon is one of three Mooseheads in the top 24 in this month's Consensus Rankings. The sources for the consensus list are Bob McKenzie, Future Considerations, ISS, Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, and The Scouting Report.
October 18 2012 09:45AM
A dying breed?
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
A couple of days ago, I looked at draft pick origins by league. The most significant conclusion from that article concerned Eastern Europe:
The most obvious takeaway from the data is the slump from Eastern European leagues. In 2003 and 2004, leagues in Belarus, The Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Slovakia accounted for 19% of all picks. In 2011 and 2012 those same leagues accounted for just 5% and 4% of all picks. In fact, since 2007, those leagues haven't combined for more than 5% of all selections.
One possible explanation raised by commenters, is that the distribution of picks by nationality hasn't changed, rather the reason for the shift in league distribution is the sheer amount of imports playing junior hockey in Canada.
I sorted the data by birth country and found that explanation doesn't hold water either.