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Players At Their Peak

from Daniel Schwartz of CBC,

National Hockey League forwards reach their peak scoring performance at age 28 and defencemen peak at age 29, while goaltenders show little change in performance based on age, says a new study that crunched the numbers.

Those are the key findings of a study by the UBC business school that looked at the data from the 14 regular seasons between 1997-98 and 2011-12.

For co-author James Brander, the bottom line of their study is that "the key to winning is having good, young players."

The study will be published in the June issue of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. Brander's co-authors are Edward Egan and Louisa Yeung. They analyzed peak performance in a number of ways, but the statistics they relied on were regular season points scored and plus-minus for skaters and save percentage for goalies.

Brander's team also found that forwards:

Improve more quickly than they decline and typically begin "a significant decline in their early 30s."
Perform within 90 per cent of their peak from 24 to 32 years old.
25 is their most common age, with 24-27 very similar.

Defencemen, the co-authors report:

Improve and decline more slowly than forwards and do so very symmetrically.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink



Player entropy seems to be a tangible phenomenon lately-look at Crosby and Franzen for excellent examples. Both seemed like great deals when they were younger/playing great, but now only a few years later they are both seriously banged up, both with major brain damage/concussions. Are the players themselves viable into their thirties? and what does that say about the league, safety, sportsmanship etc?

Posted by Bay Area Wings fan on 05/17/14 at 11:08 AM ET


All right, let’s slow down a bit here.  Crosby had 104 points this season.  Just because he only had one goal in the playoffs doesn’t mean he’s on som significant decline.  And yes, Franzen is as streaky as the come, but his points per game this year is among his best ever.

I’m not sure what either of them is an “excellent example” of except maybe for fan bias.

Posted by Garth on 05/17/14 at 11:29 AM ET


Neither of them seem the same as they were in 08-09 and maybe the multiple concussions/face crushings has something to do with it. Ovi had a ton of points this season to.

Posted by Bay Area Wings fan on 05/18/14 at 03:01 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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