Yesterday, I listed top 20 defencemen by goals versus threshold, a statistic developed by Tom Awad in an attempt to quantify how much better a given player is than a replacement level player. It is an approximate method that is particularly tough to use to rank defensive play, because defensive hockey is hard to quantify. This makes defencemen an interesting group to look at in this statistic system, as a significant portion of their value is hard to accurately rate.
To get an idea how it works I want to look at the case study of Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes. Yandle ranks eleventh among defencemen with 12.0 goals versus threshold. This seems quite high for a defenceman of his stature. Yandle is not generally seen as one of the best defencemen in hockey, he has never appeared in an All Star Game and he did not receive any Norris Trophy votes. Yandle was the 23rd highest scoring defenceman in the season with 41 points. Thus he climbs a significant amount versus higher scoring defencemen in this ranking system, yet he is not among the top 20 players by defensive goals versus threshold. It is interesting to look at how he got such a high ranking in this system and whether or not it is warranted.
Lately, I have been looking at the sabermetrics and hockey problem of calculating player values above a replacement level player. The most commonly accepted solution to this problem is Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold. I have written several posts explaining this system, listing top players according to it and discussing some of the more interesting results it produces. I recently listed the top 20 players by the goals versus threshold system. One of its shortcomings is that it underrated defencemen and defensive play. In the top 20 last season, only two defencemen are ranked. They are Duncan Keith, who is 13th and Mike Green, who is 15th. They are the top two scoring defencemen last season, so it is no surprise they would be the top rated defencemen in a system that underrates defence.
I thought it would be informative to list the top 20 defencemen in the goals versus threshold system, in order to get a better idea of which defencemen it selects. Here is the list:
Yesterday, I wrote a post listing the top 20 players in the 2009/10 regular season by goals versus threshold. One of the most obvious conclusions upon looking at the list is that half of the top 20 players (ten of them) are goaltenders. Considering that teams dress 20 players per game and only two of them are goalies (and usually only one plays in any given game) this is a high number. Is this number reasonable?
The main reason this conclusion looks reasonable is that the top goaltenders lead the league in minutes played. They play 60 minutes a game and often play in 60, 70 or even more games in a season. They are clearly important to their team when they are on the ice. A goaltender can steal a game with a great performance or give it away with a poor performance. I had a good conversation about this in comments of the previous post with a commenter called Bossy Rules.
Recently I have written several sabermetrics and hockey posts about Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system. I have explained the offensive, defensive, goaltending and shootout portions of the system. I have also listed the top players in each of these portions of the system and discussed some of the more sabermetrically interesting player cases.
Although not mentioned in Tom Awad’s writings on the puck prospectus system, when the results are tabulated by Gabe Desjardins at behind the net, he includes a defensive portion for goalies which I reject.
Here are the top 20 players in 2009/10 by goals versus threshold neglecting goaltenders defensive portions. It is merely the sume of the totals from the earlier described portions:
I have written several sabermetrics and hockey posts about Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system. I have discussed the offensive, defensive, goaltending and shootout portions of the system. There is one more part to the system as it is calculated by Gabe Desjardins at behind the net, which is not described by Tom Awad. This extra piece is the defensive component of goaltenders.
The news has come out today that the NHL is punishing the New Jersey Devils for their first contract with Ilya Kovalchuk. This was a 17 year contract with a $6 million per year salary cap hit. It was strongly front-loaded and had several low cost years added onto the end of it to keep the average contract value and hence salary cap hit down. The NHL challenged the contract and an arbitrator threw it out. Eventually, New Jersey signed Ilya Kovalchuk to a second contract. This was a 15 year contract with a $6.67 million salary cap hit that was front-loaded, but not as badly as the original one. The NHL took a while to approve the contract and forced the NHLPA to accept a CBA modification to prevent similar contracts in the future in exchange for its passage.
To paraphrase former US presidential candidate John Edwards, there are two NHLs. In one NHL, big market teams make millions and millions of dollars a year. These teams drive the NHL’s revenues and have no problem paying salaries that are as close to the salary cap as possible. These are the teams that hire full-time capologists to try to find loopholes in the NHL’s salary cap that they can use to their advantage. The other NHL is a growing group of teams that are dependent upon revenue sharing to stay afloat. These are teams that routinely lose money and often struggle to have payroll that meets the NHL salary floor.
One team that finds itself in the poor group this season is the St Louis Blues. An investment group led by Dave Checketts (former Madison Square Gardens president) bought the Blues in 2006. This investment group was backed by TowerBrook Capital Partners, who held as much as 75% of the club ownership.
Yesterday, I posted the top 20 scorers by shootout goals versus threshold. In order to complete looking at shootouts in the goals versus threshold system, I will look at goaltender success in this system. Tom Awad developed the goals versus threshold system in an attempt to measure how much value a player has above a replacement player.
Here are the top twenty goalies by shutout goals versus threshold in the 2009/10 season:
My sabermetrics and hockey post today is a look at the 20 best players (goalies will be ranked separately in an upcoming post) in the NHL last season by shootout goals versus threshold. Since shootouts are reasonably clear statistically, i.e. the player with the most goals on the least shots will be the top player, this portion of Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system it quite reliable. The only question is if the goals valuations are correct.
Here are the top 20 players by shootout goals versus threshold:
The next piece of Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold is to look at shootout performance. Shootouts play enough of a role in the NHL standings that this is an adjustment to the value of players is often big enough to make a significant difference in their rankings. This system is one of the few that properly attempts to measure it.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
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