Context Clues: Finding Gems

Josh L.
October 13 2012 08:32AM

 Image via Wikipedia Commons

NHLNumbers is a site dedicated to pushing hockey thinking further up Bloom's Taxonomy from the lower understanding stages to higher levels of cognitive thought. The best research is always going to be supported by data, or numbers, which is why we do what we do. The work being done lately doesn't have a direct one to one application to fantasy hockey so one of the challenges we face as the site continues to grow is finding unique ways to provide interesting but helpful content to empower fantasy players to make better decisions when building their rosters. 

One approach to this problem is focusing on the context in which an individual player operates. No one is going to be able to pin down how well a player will perform perfectly, but with a holistic approach we can establish reasonable expectations for player performance based on the situations (context) in which they will operate.

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Trade Chains - Craig Simpson's Legacy In Pittsburgh

Derek Zona
October 12 2012 11:45AM

Alexei Kovalev
...begat Kovalev who begat...
Photo by Michael Miller, via Wikimedia Commons


This is the first installment of Trade Chains, a series which will take look at the legacy of trades throughout NHL history, but unlike Matthew 1:2, we'll spare you the begat. This is a numbers site, so we'll go with charts instead.

In 1984-85, the Pittsburgh Penguins were made up of Mario Lemieux and a series of players Mario Lemieux used as bumpers to deflect shots into the net.  While Lemieux's rookie season was brilliant, it wasn't nearly enough to get the Pens out of the Patrick Division basement.  They were the second-worst team in the league, and unlike the previous year, they didn't purposefully tank to get there. 

The Penguins had the second overall pick in the 1985 draft and while they wanted the top-ranked player and ideal #2 center Craig Simpson, an 18-year old with two seasons of NCAA hockey under his belt, the Toronto Maple Leafs held the top pick.  With the Leafs intent on taking Simpson, the Pens were likely to get a defenseman, either 2nd-ranked Dana Murzyn or 3rd-ranked Wendel Clark.  But as luck would have it, Maple Leafs General Manager Gerry McNamara alienated Simpson's parents, leading Simpson to tell the Leafs to look elsewhere at #1.  When the Leafs went for the truculent Clark, the Pens leapt at the chance to take Simpson, or as Pens' GM Eddie Johnston called him, the "impressive kid."

But Simpson wasn't the NHL scorer he was projected to be as he scored just 105 points in his first 169 games, leading the Penguins to trade him to him on November 24th 1987, along with Dave Hannan, Moe Mantha and Chris Joseph to Edmonton for all-world defenseman Paul Coffey and Dave Hunter.  That trade would spawn eleven more trades and that trade lives on in Pittsburgh today.

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Individual Point Percentage for 2011-12

Scott Reynolds
October 12 2012 09:38AM

Photo: Michael Miller/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

The 2012-13 season was to have begun yesterday. It didn’t. That’s mostly extremely annoying, but one of the silver linings is an ability for me and get around to doing some things that we had perhaps intended to finish earlier. One of those things for me is calculating the individual point percentages for the 2011-12 regular season.

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The value of a good starting goalie: a market calculation

Eric T.
October 11 2012 08:11AM

Mike Smith
Raise your hand if you saw this one coming
Photo by Mathew Cerasoli from the United States via Wikimedia Commons

A few days ago, a commenter had this to say:

Teams are allocating more $$ to goaltending than ever before. I'm fairly certain the only way teams have below $4M allocated to goaltending in the future will be if a goalie is on an ELC.

In 08/09, 3 teams had $7+M allocated to goaltending. Next season, 11 teams will have that amount. That's a significant increase in 4 years. In 12/13, there will be approx 15+ teams with $7+M allocated to goaltending. Why? Cause GMs are placing more importance on it, therefore placing more $$ on it. We saw in the last 2 summers that teams have to give goalies big contracts to retain them.

Let's use that as a jumping off point to talk about goalie contracts. I disagree with the claim that teams are spending more on goaltending, but perhaps more importantly, I will question a common assertion in the statistical community that teams should skimp on spending for goalies.

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NHL 2012-13 Preview Series

Jonathan Willis
October 10 2012 10:39AM

Over the past two months, the writers at NHL Numbers have been putting together a comprehensive set of 2012-13 team previews. After the jump, the entire list.

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