Wednesday Webhits: The Frost King’s Links Of The Week

This week we’ve got a great example of goalie analysis, the difference in salary a player can expect depending on whether he is a restricted or unrestricted free agent, what might explain the difference in predictability and parity between the NHL and other sports (namely, the NBA), and a nice profile of the Capitals.

One of the great things about the internet is that different people can make advancements in a field (like hockey analysis) that work together, build off each other, and provide new ideas and techniques that everyone can utilize. It’s a very cool phenomenon.

Price / Halak – The Stats – December 2009

Chris Boyle compares Montreal Canadiens goalies Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak with some really great, in-depth analysis. He breaks down the quality of the goals each allowed into good, bad, and suspect. There are graphics for where in the net goals where scored, including some breakdowns of the circumstances of some of the goals (who, from where, type of shot, etc). There’s a look at save percentage on shots from various distances. Just fantastic work, all around.

How much do UFAs and RFAs cost per win?

Hawerchuk looks at the players signed last off-season and their projections for this season to get an idea of the going rate of a win.

For unrestricted free agents it was $2.23 M per projected win, and for restricted free agents it was $1.33 M per projected win.

The 40% discount rate jibes well with my intuition, since in Major League Baseball a player in his three arbitration years will get about an 60%-40%-20% discount off of full market value in successive years. That averages out to the same 40%.

I had been using $3 M per win as the going rate on the free agent market, so it’s good to have that figure updated.

The curious effect of a narrative angle

Countering: “Generally, what sets the NHL apart from the far more predictable (and parity-free) NBA is the curious effect that team play and chemistry, coaching and camaraderie can have on results.”

With: “The more opportunities you give to the better team, the more likely skill will win out.

In the other post that I’ve linked, he did some math and concluded that, to have the same reliability in terms of knowing the strength of a given team, you’d need a 32 game schedule in the NBA, a 28 game schedule in the NFL, an 82 game schedule in the NHL and a 162 game schedule in MLB. This, I think, gives rise to an alternate theory to “team play, chemistry, coaching and camaraderie” – we (or those of us who care about basketball) know a lot more about an NBA team from the preceding season’s results than we do about an NHL team… I’m inclined to think that “team play and chemistry, coaching and camaraderie” is a euphemism for variance.”

And throws in an example from Tom Tango: “Suppose, for example, that a tennis match lasted only one set. That is, a set is a match. Would Federer win 88% (or whatever it is) of his matches? No, of course not. If he’s winning 88% of his matches because he’s winning 65% (or whatever it is) of his sets, then having a one-set match means he’d only win 65% of the time. Similarly, if you had 7-game or 9-game matches (spread say over two days) then he’d win 95% or 99% of his matches. He’d look unbeatable (except for when he plays Nadal).”

Yup. Intangibles are what you reference when you don’t have something else to reference to make your point. The NBA isn’t more predictable because of chemistry – it’s more predictable because of the inherent structure of the sport.

Team Profile – Washington Capitals

“While a compelling narrative could be made for the New Jersey Devils, a quick look at the divisional standings shouts hosannas to the Buffalo Sabres, I continue to hold on to the belief that the Washington Capitals are the strongest team in this year’s Eastern Conference…

Green has ten goals (4 on the power play) and 31 assists. Looking at the advanced numbers, he is currently 2nd in the league (behind only Duncan Keith of the ‘Hawks) in Tom Awad’s Goals-Versus-Threshold (GVT) statistic, comparing a player’s contributions to what would be expected from a non-prospect from the AHL at +11.8. His adjusted +/- is currently +8.2. One thing worth keeping in mind, however, is his Quality of Competition score, as tracked by At 0.021, he is only 5th among Washington blue-liners, suggesting that Boudreau may be shielding him from the best their opponents have to offer, and leaving the heavy defensive lifting to Tom Poti, big Shaone Morrisonn and bigger Jeff Schultz. With a relative +/- of 11.4 (2nd on the team), 23-year-old Schultz, a former 1st rounder may be an unsung hero on the Washington blue-line. Among regular D-men, Schultz also leads the Caps in blocked shots per 60 minutes at 5.6 and has the highest Corsi Rating (measuring the difference in shots on goal for and against while a given player is on the ice), at 7.1 among Capital defenders…

Ovechkin plays with All-World line-mates, generally teaming up with compatriot Alex Semin on the other wing, sandwiching Nicklas Backstrom, possibly the most overshadowed player in the game today…

this depth, in the forward lines as well as the back-line, and the solid goaltending provided by Varlamov, will propel the Washington Capitals to the top of the Eastern Conference in May and to the Stanley Cup Finals.”


Japers’ Rink

I also wanted to congratulate to Japers’ Rink on being ranked the top NHL Blog. I look forward to doing so in person next week.

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