Number Chains - June 9, 2012

Robert Vollman
June 09 2012 08:41AM

This new, regular feature on NHLNumbers will share interesting stats-related posts from around the web every week.
 

Player Usage Charts are here!
 

2011-12 NHL Player Usage Charts for every NHL team, accompanied by expert insights from a field of 20+ analysts, are now available for download here
 

Obviously we believe very strongly in the usefulness of these charts. We've already used Player Usage Charts repeatedly on NHL Numbers, like when Josh Lile looked at the Dallas Stars, or when I looked at last year's rookies, or the league's top defensive pairings for example, and very rarely does an article go by without at least some mention of one of its core components (Offensive Zone Starts, Quality of Competition or Relative Corsi).  In fact, we might be giving away our secret by providing these ground breaking statistics in such an understandable fashion - we might have to soon rely solely on Wanye's wit for our readership.

Others have picked up on Player Usage Charts since it was unveiled June 1st, including:

Several of us contributed to this project, including me, Kent Wilson, Jonathan Willis, Eric Tulsky, Corey Sznajder and Josh Lile, and we almost all use them on a regular basis, so we're quite proud to have unveiled this last Friday. So download the PDF, print it off, grab a cold one, sift through it this week-end, and let us know what you think.

Also unveiled this week was this year's look at zone entries over at Broad Street Hockey. The fine folks over there, including Eric T and Geoff Detweiler, examine every single Philadelphia Flyer zone entry and then conduct some fascinating analysis on the consequences of various strategies. Truly ground-breaking stuff here.
Part 1
Part 2

While on the topic of how teams act differently depending on the score and the impact that it can have, the imcomparable Tyler Dellow over at MC79 hockey looked at the most dangerous lead in hockey.
 

"The really funny thing about this is that playing conservatively seems to have little in the way of benefits for the team leading. If you calculate the points on the basis of regulation win being worth two points and a regulation tie being worth 1.5, you would expect the teams leading by one to average 1.66 points. Actual average points collected by teams leading by one heading into the third: 1.67. The real beneficiaries are the teams trailing by one heading into the third period. Their expected points per game is 0.56. They actually averaged 0.64 points per game."



Finally, Brodeur is a Fraud took a look at Darryl Sutter's effect on goalies
 

"Throughout his career, Sutter's goaltenders have routinely been above average. Sutter-led teams have only posted a below-average save percentage in two out of his dozen seasons as an NHL coach, and in every one of the remaining ten his team was at least .006 above the league benchmark in save rate"



We'll end this week with a cheap plug of my own work over at Hockey Abstract where I've collected lots of raw statistical data, including Player Usage Charts, for every single pending Unrestricted Free Agent. Download a copy and figure out who should go where.

 

 

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Does Size Matter in the NHL Draft?

Corey S.
June 08 2012 01:57PM

photo by Hockeybroad, via Wikimedia Commons

 As we get closer to the NHL Draft, you will see even more bloggers and media pundits continue to breakdown prospects and determine which player is the right fit for each team. They will look at stats, game tape and video packages to get the full lowdown on the players they are targeting, but asset that seems to be valued more than others is how big a player is at draft time.

Size and “big body presence” are things that are praised by a lot of hockey observers, especially around draft time. The idea is that it will take more effort to keep the puck away from bigger forwards and that they can provide room for their linemates by adding a physical edge. Being concerned about size makes sense when looking at defensemen because they are expected to be involved physically if they play big minutes. What about forwards, though?

There have been bigger forwards such as Rick Nash, Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk who have gone on to be top-tier players in the NHL, but just how big of a factor is size if you plan on drafting a forward? Let’s say that you are an NHL general manager and your first round pick comes down to two forwards with similar numbers. One player is 5-10 and 190 lbs. and the other is 6-3 210 lbs. but has slightly worse numbers than the first forward. Which player should you take and how much of a role should size play in your decision?

To see how big of a role size plays in success at the NHL level, I looked at every forward drafted in the top 100 since the 2000 Draft and examined how successful they were based on their point-per-game total.

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Crapped-On Goaltenders, Part Deux

Ben Wendorf
June 08 2012 09:12AM

You might remember a little while ago I took a look at goaltenders who had a bit heavier burden in terms of team quality and situations than other goaltenders.  Even though this had little bearing on the goaltender's performance numbers (namely, even-strength save percentage), it does call attention to the varying difficulties at the position.  Rather than just isolating this study in the most recent season, I decided to expand the research to all seasons in the Desjardins Era (beginning in 2007-08 to the present).  Focusing on single seasons this time, let's have a look at some of the toughest (and easiest) team situations in NHL goaltending the past five seasons.

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Fixing the NHL’s wonky hit statistics

Jonathan Willis
June 06 2012 08:44AM

Taking the NHL’s official real time statistics at face value, we come across some astonishing things. For instance, the Chicago Blackhawks are more than 50% more physical on the road than at home. Perhaps they’re showing off for the home fans, but a more likely explanation is that the home scorer is more generous counting hits than road scorers are (this seems especially plausible given that home scorers dramatically over count both giveaways and takeaways for the home side as well).

How do we make the data usable?

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Burying Nino Niederreiter

Josh L.
June 05 2012 12:00PM

 

 

The internet can be a cruel place. Nino Niederreiter had a bad season. In fact, it was historically unproductive. A quick Google search is probably all you need to see to realize how down casual observers are on Nino.

The second suggested search is "nino niederreiter bust". The former top ten pick played ten minutes a night on a bad team for 55 games and notched one solitary goal to go with exactly zero assists. It's early to call him a bust. As bad as his season was there is still plenty of reason for optimism going forward. Just how bad was his season though?

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