NHLNumbers Predictive Power Rankings

Derek Zona
February 23 2013 10:51AM

Patrice Bergeron
Is this the leader of the best team in the league?
Photo by Michael Miller via Wikimedia Commons

Power rankings are no fun for any writer or editor.  No matter the amount of effort or honesty involved in creating the rankings and slotting the teams, oversights happen and someone in every fanbase except the team ranked first overall will feel slighted and react like a toddler.

So we've set out to eliminate the effort by building a power rankings model based on underlying statistics and their predicative ability.  Our rankings aren't based solely on the current NHL standings, though points earned are a portion of the model, they are based on a number of underlying metrics so the rankings are constantly in flux. 

We're still tweaking the model, so we're not quite ready to unveil it, but consider this NHLNumbers' current best effort at predicting the standings and playoff pairings at the end of the season.  One item of note - 38% of the game is luck, and we don't attempt to predict or model that 38%, and we don't plan to.

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Zone entries and the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

Eric T.
February 20 2013 11:18AM

Dump and carry-ins
Image courtesy Shaun Kreider, Kreider Designs

NHL Numbers previously published a couple of articles on zone entry tracking. We first looked at the results in Flyers games from 2011-12, observing that shot differential at 5-on-5 appears to be largely determined by neutral zone play, and that retaining possession as a team enters the offensive zone is particularly important, generating more than twice as much offense as a dump-and-chase play.

We then called for volunteers to join the project and have had a number of people contribute. We have expanded our database to include a full season of data from the Wild, a half-season of data from the Sabres, a half-season of data from the Capitals, and over 100 assorted games from other teams in 2011-12. This has allowed us to further generalize and strengthen our conclusions for a paper that will be presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

You can read that paper here.

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PDO numbers by NHL team - Feb 18

Cam Charron
February 18 2013 07:26AM

PDO doesn't stand for anything, but that doesn't mean we can't learn anything from adding up the overall shooting and save percentages for a team at even strength. A layman's explanation for 'PDO' and why we use it can be found here over at the Backhand Shelf. Basically, if a team is playing with a PDO number way higher than 1.000, they're producing above their expected output. If a team is playing with a PDO number below 1.000, they're producing below their expected output. Over the course of a long season, the number will generally correct itself.

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Best of the Nation: 2.17.13

Jonathan Willis
February 17 2013 11:15AM

After the jump: the single-biggest story in the NHL last week, a mess of trades, injuries, and trade rumours, how bloggers are once again undermining Western society, and Graphic Comments. Also - and this is important - the Winnipeg Jets' all-time greatest moustaches.

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The Friends with Numbers Podcast, Episode 5: "This Podcast Isn't On iTunes, Yet. We Apologize!"

Dimitri Filipovic
February 14 2013 10:25AM

Hey, you lovebirds. We can't think of anything more perfect than for you and your loved to spend Valentine's Day listening to two bros discuss #fancystats. Trust us. In this week's episode, we take a look at the curious cases of the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens, and try to figure out which teams are due for better/worse luck in the coming weeks.

We would love to hear from you, the listener, for suggestions on future topics of discussion. Rather than us just being in our own little world, we'd like to make this as interactive a show as possible. Feel free to tweet at either Dimitri or Cam.

Click Past the Jump to Listen to the Podcast.

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