How many points can an NHL team get over a season because of luck?

Sam Mercier
August 31 2016 03:49PM

Luck is part of our everyday life. When you go to the store and there is no beer left of your favorite brand, you feel unlucky. When you go to the mall and out of the blue meet Maria Sharapova, you feel lucky (I can confirm that one).

As we also know, luck is also omnipresent in hockey. Injuries are probably one the biggest luck factors involved in the success or failure of NHL teams, and man-games lost has become a popular statistic to explain the W-L-OTL columns at the end of the season.

In recent years, shooting and save percentages have also been showed to be somewhat related to luck, given that a high difference with the average is generally not sustainable season-over-season. A new advanced statistic, PDO, has been developed from these considerations and is now a key statistic to consider when evaluating a player. Goalposts, the difficulty of the schedule and questionable decisions by the referees are other factors that are lumped in this luck factor.

So, we know that luck is part of hockey. However, what we don’t know is, how big a part is it? For instance, can we quantify how many points obtained during a season can be attributed to luck? It turns out that we can get a pretty good idea using what we call time-series models.

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Projecting Auston Matthews' Scoring total in 2016-17

August 31 2016 10:04AM

There's now less than a month until NHL training camps open up and, and the first exhibition games will start getting played in late September.  That means Auston Matthews's debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs is getting pretty near.  While Auston's time spent playing in the World Cup may delay his first game with the Leafs by a week or so, it won't be long until Leafs fans finally get to see him don the blue and white. 

Expectations for the recent 1st overall pick are sky high, but Mike Babcock has tried to keep expectations in check by saying that Matthews will start the season on the third line.  Any player's production is going to be affected by their ice time, so just how many points the Leafs prized rookie can score is going to depend if (or, let's be honest, when) Matthews starts moving up the lineup.

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The Road to 2026: Vancouver's 2010 Legacy

Ryan Pike
August 30 2016 01:00PM

We're into the second part of our trip down Olympic memory lane. Last time, we looked at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Those games saw a scrappy little oil town host the world and get a few pieces of sporting infrastructure out of the whole process (along with a nice sense of community).

The 1988 Olympics made money (in terms of their operations), and the reports of corruption were rather minor. Now, there are two common explanations for this:

  • Hey, the corruption and chaos of Russia and Brazil were unique to the business and political cultures of those countries.
  • Hey, the IOC only got really corrupt in recent years.

So to test whether it's the place (the host country) or the time (recent versus past) that impacts the feasibility, profitability and tolerability of an Olympics, let's head to a place very near and dear to us – Vancouver, who hosted the 2010 Olympics.

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3 Players the Canucks Should Consider Offering PTO's

J.D. Burke
August 30 2016 11:00AM

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Sergei Belski: USA Today Sports

You can tell hockey season is just around the corner when the professional tryouts start rolling in. That's usually one of the first signs that summer is almost at a close.

For Canucks fans, though, it's often an off-season ritual their favourite team's notably absent from more often than not. In fact, the last PTOs the Canucks offered were to a geriatric Owen Nolan and Todd Fedoruk back in 2010-11. It's been a while, really.

To their credit, the Canucks haven't had the need to. They've been mostly competitive, or at least expected to be, for all but the last two-three years and didn't have many holes they could plug with a veteran tryout. That or they've tried to keep as many openings for young players as possible.

While you could certainly make the case that the Canucks are in a similar position to the two I broached for years past, their publicly stated need for help in the middle of their lineup indicates they're still looking for a helping hand. I've a few suggestions in mind, on the other side of the jump.

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December Dilemmas

Jonathan Willis
August 30 2016 07:00AM

Peter Chiarelli3

One of the questions I’m often asked is why it is so important for NHL teams to address all of their important positional issues in the summer. After all, the reasoning goes, is there really much harm in checking out the players on the roster for a month or two and then fixing things up if necessary then?

Although superficially plausible, this is a dangerous way to run an NHL team.

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