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.
When I listed top 20 forwards by defensive goals versus threshold, one player who is conspicuous by his absence from the list is Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks. Kesler has been a nominee for the Selke Trophy in each of the last two seasons. He is considered one of the top defensive forwards in the NHL. Why didn’t the goals versus threshold system find him?
Ryan Kesler scored 75 points with the Vancouver Canucks last year. That made him their third highest scorer (behind the Sedins), but his +/- rating (which is an important number in the defensive portion of the goals versus threshold system) was only a +1. This was tenth highest among the Vancouver Canuck forwards and well behind team leaders Daniel Sedin and Christian Ehrhoff, who were +36’s.
When I posted the top 20 forwards by defensive goals versus threshold, I got a list of players who played a lot of minutes on top defensive teams and posted top +/- ratings. Although this is a plausible first guess at who the top defensive forwards in the NHL are, the list had some problems. Players made it who are not great defensive players and other top defensive forwards are missing. One of the more surprising players on the list is Antoine Vermette of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is surprising because Columbus is not a top defensive team. Their 259 goals allowed is fifth worst in the NHL. He is the only representative of any of the ten worst defensive teams in the league. How does a player like Vermette make it so high on this list?
In my recent sabermetrics and hockey posts, I have been looking at Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold system. I have listed the top 20 players by the offensive , the goalie and the defensive portions of the system. I am still trying to come to grips with the defensive part of the system and I think a good method to do so is to look at the top 20 forwards by this system.
Here they are:
As we watch the Ilya Kovalchuk affair we are seeing that Gary Bettman has tremendous power over the NHL. Multiple NHL players signed high money front-loaded contracts which had them playing well beyond the age where most players retire. Gary Bettman and the NHL accepted them. This became a problem in Gary Bettman’s eyes with the Ilya Kovalchuk contract. In this case Gary Bettman served as the district attorney in deciding which contracts to fight. He used his power to select an arbitrator in Richard Bloch, who was strongly likely to rubberstamp the NHL position. Essentially it made Bettman the judge and jury.
Bettman’s choosing of drawing a line with the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk and not on the previous contracts is a very questionable act.
Seeing that the Chicago Blackhawks were pushed very tightly against the salary cap, the San Jose Sharks signed Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four year $14 million offer sheet. It was clear that if Chicago was to match the offer, some other key player on the 2010 Stanley Cup champions would have to be let go. The obvious choice was Chicago goaltender Antti Niemi. Niemi was a restricted free agent who was going to salary arbitration. It was clear that the Blackhawks would not be able to afford the kind of salary he would receive. Niemi got a $2.75 million arbitration award, which Chicago walked away from and signed Marty Turco. San Jose has turned around and signed Antti Niemi to a one year $2 million contract.
Lately, I have been looking at the sabermetrics and hockey problem of valuing players above replacement players. I am looking at the solution of Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold. I have explained the offensive, goaltending and defensive portions of this system. I have listed the top 20 players by the offensive portion and the top 20 players by the goalie’s portion. Today I list the top 20 by the defensive portion of goals versus threshold.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
Why am I blogging? I want to.
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