Best of the Nation - 12.16.12

Jonathan Willis
December 16 2012 11:23AM

The lockout keeps rolling on, but that doesn't mean we lacked for quality content this week. We had another entry in our "Worst to First" jerseys series, talked about the frightening salary cap situation for a bunch of teams, looked at how forward usage by NHL coaches has evolved over the last few seasons, talked about the World Juniors and buyouts, the lockout and the league's very best prospect, as well as half a dozen things I'm not even mentioning.

More after the jump!

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Graphic Comments
December 13 2012 11:24PM

NHL CBA is a flop

It took a long time, but it looks like we're now at the final table in this high stakes game of poker that is the NHL CBA negotations.

And yes, this this is and always has been a heads up game. Neither you, nor I, nor any of the tens of thousands tens of hundreds tens out there that organized or took part in sit-ins, petitions or protests have a seat at this table, despite the fact that both sides are playing with our money.

Although, is this really any different that the real world? I mean, this pretty much describes our government institutions, and even more so the professional gamblers on the investment banking circuit that nearly blew up the house of cards that is our global financial system.

But I digress. Let's have a look at where we are heading into this final round...

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Changing forward roles between 2010 and 2012

Cam Charron
December 13 2012 02:55PM

Part of what I think contributes to the success of offensive starts like Jonathan Toews and the Sedin twins is the fact that they've had very dependable third lines behind them in recent years. I recently went to Behind the Net, parsed through ice time data for offensive zone start rate and quality of competition to see if there was a league-wide trend towards adopting a system where the third liners were given a higher level of importance.

Turns out, yes, actually, even over the last three years, it's very noticeable. In the 2009-2010 season, third and fourth liners were pretty interchangeable, playing against middling competition, usually in offensive zone situations. What's happened since then is that replacement-level players and fourth liners have seen less ice time, while first liners and third liners have picked up the bulk of the difference.

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The Top Earners In The NHL And The Trickle Down Effect

Brent Morris
December 13 2012 10:23AM


Remember this?


We're at Day Number Who Cares of the NHL Lockout, slowly being driven mad by the back and forth of negotiations.

Luckily for us chattering class types the NHL and NHLPA have been deciding to leak the focus of the talks, which apparently now is contract limits. The NHL proposed limiting contracts to seven years for players who re-sign with the same team and five years for free agents. In his last press conference,  Bill Daly said that contract limits are 'the hill [the NHL] will die on' in this CBA negotiation.  

Donald Fehr argued in a memo to players that contract limits would effectively create a two-tiered system like the NBA - top players would get a higher percentage of the salary cap, leaving fewer dollars for the rest of the roster. Why are both sides arguing over this so fervently?

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Another Look At How Goalies Age: Can we correct for bias?

Graphic Comments
December 10 2012 12:05PM

 Another look at goalie aging

The topic of how goalie age affects on-ice performance came up again last week, first with a post from Steve Burtch over at PPP, followed by a response from Eric T. here at NHLNumbers. Although Steve's post was about the Leafs' quest for an average goalie, he made the observation that "the correlation between goaltender performance and age is nil." Eric's main critique was that the analysis did not take into account "survivorship bias," that is: only the better goalies actually manage to stick around into their late 30s, so this will bias the observed performance of older goalies upward.

In an effort to further the debate, I would like to propose a methodology that controls for "survivorship bias," as well as an alternative way to account for systemic changes in the game that might impact save percentages on the whole.

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