Did the Leafs' emphasis on fighting help them make the playoffs?

Cam Charron
April 21 2013 04:34PM

I'm hearing it everywhere this season, well, mostly on Coach's Corner and on the comment section of my website. "The Leafs are winning because they're tougher and fighting more."

In fact, the New York Rangers lost their fighter Brandon Prust in the offseason. They've gone from 1st in the league in fighting majors to 24th (through Saturday, according to HockeyFights.net) and have gone from Presidents' Trophy contenders to bubble team.

Prust went from New York to Montreal in the offseason. Montreal went from 22nd in fighting majors last season to seventh, and have since gone from a lottery team to a team competing for the title in the tough Northeast Division with the likes of the Boston Bruins! The other team in that division, Toronto, lead the league in fights and are going to make the playoffs for the first time in nine years!

Clearly, fighting means something right?

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PDO numbers by NHL team - Apr 15

Cam Charron
April 15 2013 05:39AM

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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2013 NHL Mock Draft - Florida Gets Jones, MacKinnon To The Avs

Derek Zona
April 14 2013 07:26AM

Nathan MacKinnon
MacKinnon, Duchene, Landeskog - the young Avs will be impressive.
Photo by MR_53 via Flickr Photostream

The top of the draft order is beginning to take shape.  The Southeast Division (which will no longer exist after the draft) is set to snag 3 of the top 5 picks and three Canadian teams might be drafting in the top 10.

The mock draft uses the NHLNumbers Predictive Model and the NHL Numbers Consensus Top 100 List for the picks.  The sources for the consensus list are Bob McKenzie, Future Considerations, ISS, Ryan Kennedy, Craig Button, Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, and The Scouting Report.  Their rankings are weight by their accuracy in ranking previous drafts: Bob McKenzie's rankings carry the most weight as he's the most accurate prognosticator in the group.

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NHLNumbers Predictive Power Rankings, 4-14-13

Derek Zona
April 14 2013 06:56AM

Michael Grabner
Photo by Robert Kowal via Wikimedia Commons

The season winds down and only a few playoff positions are still open.  We're still churning through our 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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2013 NHL Draft Consensus - Seth Jones Rules, Valeri Nichushkin On The Rise

Derek Zona
April 13 2013 09:42AM

NHL Draft aerial shot
Photo by: Bri Weldon, via Wikipedia Commons

Barring a very late surprise run up these rankings, the players at the top of these rankings have broken up into a couple of very clear stratifications.  Seth Jones is a clear #1 at this point, with 6 of the 7 1st-place rankings among our sources.  Then the next two on the list - Halifax teammates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin are well ahead of the rest of the pack.  And mirroring that same gap, Aleksander Barkov and Valeri Nichushkin are now well clear at #4 and #5. 

Nichushkin, the big (6'4 198) Russian winger is the biggest mover in the top 18 this month, up two spots to #5.  He's had a marvelous KHL playoffs as his Traktor Chelyabinsk team has advanced to the Gagarin Cup Finals against Dynamo Moscow.  But Nichushkin will not see the end of the series - he's been at the centre of a national controversy, and will leave to play with the national team after game 4.

The sources for the consensus list are Bob McKenzie, Future Considerations, ISS, Ryan Kennedy, Craig Button, Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, and The Scouting Report.  Their rankings are weight by their accuracy in ranking previous drafts: Bob McKenzie's rankings carry the most weight as he's the most accurate prognosticator in the group.

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