Kucherov's contract dispute more complicated than it seems

Jacob Stoller
October 06 2016 04:32AM

Of all the holdouts occurring in training camps right now, one holdout in particular affects not only the state of their team in the present day but well beyond this season alone. Tampa Bay Lightning restricted free agent Nikita Kucherov is a rising star with a nose for the net that has helped the 23 year-old reach 28 and 30 goal seasons in his last two seasons. Without a contract in hand, Kucherov is not participating in the Lightning's training camp as it stands right now. With the Lightning's season opener on October 13th fast approaching, the clock is ticking on a deal to be completed. 

What's the hold up in negotiations? Why haven't the Lightning locked up their top scorer?

It's not as easy as it seems. 

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Watch The Game: A Hockey Podcast debuts!

Watch The Game Podcast
September 29 2016 10:12AM


Do you like hockey? Do you like listening to hockey writers talk about hockey? Are you in search of a new, fresh set of hosts to discuss it on a weekly basis with a guest?

Well then have we got the podcast for you!

Debuting today is a new hockey podcast here on NHLNumbers, known as "Watch The Game." 

Co-hosted by the wonderful Sam Blazer (Associate Editor at WingsNation.com, and managing editor at BuckeyeStateHockey.com, amongst a bunch of other responsibilities), myself, and the occasional appearance by NHLNumbers Editor-In-Chief Cameron Lewis. In the future, we're looking to bring out the best and brightest hockey minds.

For our first episode, we've got Jeff Veillette, managing editor of TheLeafsNation.com and hockey content on the Nation Network as a whole, discussing the World Cup of Hockey.

If you desire, you can listen to it on either of the listening options below.

More listening options will be coming soon for future episodes!

If you've ever got anything of interest you think should be discussed on the podcast, feel free to shoot us a note on twitter @NHLNumbers.

New episode coming next Wednesday!

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Predicting next season top 5v5 scorers using an artificial neural network

Sam Mercier
September 28 2016 03:42PM

Predicting future scoring rates is a hot topic in the analytics community, and with good reason: the ability to score goals literally explains half of the success or failure of a team.

Just a few weeks ago, Travis Yost investigated the statistics that best predict future scoring rates, and showed that the scoring rate and relative Corsi for during the previous season are equally good predictors. Another study to mention comes from Eric Tulsky, who showed that the scoring rate of not only the previous season, but of the other ones before should be considered to predict future scoring rates. Going back more than one season helps distinguish skill from luck and estimate the true offensive quality of a player. 

From what I have seen, most models developed to predict scoring rates are relatively simple and only use one or two statistics for the prediction, the most important one being the scoring rate of that same player the previous season. Yet, as we have previously discussed, hundreds of new statistics have been made available over the last decade to describe the 5v5 performance of NHL forwards. Each of these new statistics can contain a tiny bit of information regarding the offensive quality of a player. If a modeling approach is able to find this information, we will be able to predict with a greater accuracy future scoring rates.

The increasing number of statistics also provides the opportunity to use modeling approaches that go beyond fitting a line or a curve, and it is exactly what we will do here using a modeling approach called an artificial neural network. But first, let’s start with a simple approach.

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Goalies and the Playoffs Part 1: Why are Goalies Better in the Postseason?

Joel Short
September 23 2016 09:16AM

A few years ago, I started looking at the impact of goalie performance on success in the playoffs. 

One of the first things I noticed was that the league average Sv% tends to be significantly higher in the playoffs than in the regular season.  Here are the averages going back to 83-84 (the first year Sv% was recorded):

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Shortening the Bench Isn't Necessary for Team North America

Megan Kim
September 21 2016 09:42AM

After a convincing 4-1 win against Finland to open the tournament, our favorite bunch of scrappy kids ran into a 4-3 loss to the Russians on Monday night. It's true that Russia got a few lucky bounces -- namely, the goal that Matt Murray knocked into his own net and the puck that came off the glass and landed right in front of Nikita Kucherov, who wasted no time burying it. However, that's not to take away from anything Russia did last night.

Russia played well. They especially took over the game in that second period where they scored four goals, and that three-goal lead proved to be too much for the young guns to overcome. 

Even if you're pulling hard for North America -- and many of us are, I'm sure -- it wasn't the sort of loss that left a bad taste in your mouth. The game was fast-paced, chock-full of exciting plays on both sides, and had spectators on the edge of their seats all the way to the final whistle. 

Of course, there's always going to be second-guessing in any loss, and in this particular game, questions from fans and media members seemed to be largely centered on Todd McLellan's decision to shorten his bench after going down 4-1 in the second period. 

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