Stats article reference library main page

Eric T.
November 01 2012 08:07AM


Over the last five or six years, statistical analysis of hockey has taken big steps forward. The number of writers and sites contributing to our understanding has grown substantially, which is great. But the downside is that the work is scattered all over the web, and just finding it all can be a major challenge.

At NHL Numbers, we are going to maintain a reference library of articles that have advanced our understanding of the game in some small way.

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Stats are ruining hockey

Eric T.
October 29 2012 07:23AM

Sabermetrics! Fun!
"It's a triumph of number-crunching over the human spirit -- and it's about time."

It's something I think we've all heard, that stats are ruining the game. It always struck me as nonsense.

After all, a fan could easily watch every game on television, read his hometown newspaper every day, talk to the guys at the bar all the time, and never once encounter a non-traditional statistic. If you really hate hearing about non-traditional hockey stats, it seems like your strongest rational claim is that stats are ruining the arguments you like having in certain circles on Twitter and blog comment sections.

Surely they aren't actually hurting the product on the ice, right?

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Impact of changing teams on a player's point total

Eric T.
October 22 2012 01:38PM


Hey, remember the Rick Nash trade? From back when we talked about something other than HRR and escrow? Give it a minute, it'll come back to you -- he's on the Rangers now.

There was a lot of debate back then about what we should expect from him on the Rangers. I took a stab at it myself, and while there is a lot of uncertainty (points go up and down quite a bit from year to year, after all), I came up with something in the neighborhood of 35 goals and 31 assists in 78 games as a reasonable expectation. Some people disagreed vociferously, arguing that going from a bad team to a good team would have a huge effect, and that we should expect 80 points or more.

I didn't see a single person making that argument cite historical examples to support their point. As far as I could tell, it was so obvious to them that it didn't require even anecdotal evidence.

So I've decided to do a little legwork for them and ask how point totals have been affected by a change in teams over the last couple of years.

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NHL lockout: breaking down a new CBA proposal

Eric T.
October 19 2012 04:03PM

Signing a contract
Gary Bettman has aged badly since he signed his first CBA
By New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection staff photographer

Yesterday there was a flurry of CBA proposals made by the NHLPA. Today, one came from another source: Twitter user @67sound. It's an interesting proposal -- unlike the overwhelming majority of the fan/media proposals, it actually works to deliver what the players and owners say they need. So I want to break down how it works.

The basic stances of the two sides have been made clear. The owners want a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenue (HRR). The players are open to a 50/50 split but do not want a rollback (or the equivalent increase in escrow withholdings) of their existing contracts, which add up to more than 50%. The owners say the drop to 50/50 needs to be effective immediately to save certain struggling franchises.

What the new proposal suggests is that the cap, floor, and escrow calculations be based on a 50/50 split, but that teams be permitted to spend more than that if they choose. Teams could spend up to the current $70.2M, but the excess over the 50/50 split would come out of their own share of the revenues rather than affecting what other owners and players get.

Let's go through some numbers to illustrate how that works.

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AHL-NHL equivalencies in a lockout year

Eric T.
October 17 2012 07:35AM

Zac Rinaldo has been saying for years that if he ever got a chance to play on a top line, people would be surprised to see that he has more skill than they think. The lockout is going to give him that chance; he has been put on the Phantoms' top line with Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, two premium prospects.

This left me wondering: what should we expect of him? How many points would he have to put up to back up a claim that he has legitimate offensive talent that has previously gone untapped?

Gabe Desjardins put together some excellent conversion factors and concluded that AHL points are a little more than twice as easy to come by -- you can multiply a player's AHL points per game by 0.45 to estimate roughly what he would have in the NHL.

But that's in a normal AHL, and if there's a protracted lockout this year, that would undoubtedly elevate the quality of play and make points harder to come by. So I got curious what we should expect for a translation factor this year.

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