August 10 2016 12:43PM
Readers of this post will probably be aware of the passing project headed by Ryan Stimson (@RK_Stimp). The idea behind the project is to track the passes that lead to a shot in NHL games. Volunteers track the players making the passes, the player taking the shot, the zone locations of the passes, the shot types and pass types for each shot in a given game. With this granularity of data, we can then begin to piece together which types of passing sequences are more likely to lead to goals than others. Ryan has already done some amazing work in this area over at Hockey Graphs. Reading those articles before proceeding with this piece will give a better idea of the context in which this piece is written. His first piece on playing behind the net can be found here and his second piece on neutral zone play can be found here.
August 10 2016 12:00PM
For all intents and purposes, the Flames roster for 2017-18 is set. The club has come a long way since the inception of the rebuild back in 2012, but there's still a lot of room to grow. The young core seems to be set and the team is moving forward with a fresh, younger coaching staff.
Calgary is exiting the lower expectations of the early rebuild phase and is entering its window for contention. While no one expects the Flames to suddenly jump up to the top of Western Conference this year, the club should be making clear, demonstrable strides given their cap situation and growing maturity (and resultant expense) of their younger assets.
The Flames are still a work in progress. Here are the four major questions facing them this year as they strive to break out of the Western Conference basement: the RW, the defense, the "other" kids and, the new coaching staff.
August 08 2016 03:00PM
Arguably the most basic question in hockey analytics will probably always remain the same: can we use (a given stat) to predict how well (a team/player/lineup) will perform the future? As such, predicting the Stanley Cup champion is a yearly exercise many of us try to do, often testing out a number of hypotheses by mixing in different variables.
The purpose of this article is not so much to figure out which teams could have been expected to have done well, but which ones should not have. As such, I calculated each teams' goal and shot differentials (the raw data can be found here).
August 08 2016 12:00PM
When the Flames drafted Sean Monahan sixth overall in 2013, it signalled a new era in Calgary. Not only was it right at the start of the rebuild: it was the seemingly the first time in ages the Flames actually had someone who could actually be, at least one day, considered a first line centre.
Two years into his career, and that's where Monahan was playing. But while before, the team was devoid of centres - including having to ask wingers to play down the middle - today, it's the least worrying position.
The top three centres on the Flames are Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and Sam Bennett - with Bennett's potential still to be defined as he enters just his second season. With Monahan firmly cementing himself in the top two at the position - and with a new contract coming up, presumably at some point - let's talk about him.
August 07 2016 04:52PM
Milan Lucic is an excellent NHL player in the here-and-now. I’d be very surprised if he isn’t a big help to the Edmonton Oilers next season, and given how he plays the game I’d be flat-out shocked if Oilers fans don’t embrace him.
I was curious though as to how players who scored the way he has the last three season have tended to age. Lucic’s new deal is seven years long, and it would be good to have an idea as to how that kind of commitment typically turns out.