Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Future Hall Of Famer Mike Modano Retires

Today Mike Modano announced his retirement after 1499 regular season games played.  As is my policy, I am writing a career retrospective on him as I consider him a future Hockey Hall of Fame player.  Here was the post I made when I first considered him a Hall of Famer.

Modano was born on June 7th, 1970 in Livonia, Michigan.  He first gathered the attention of hockey scouts as a 15 year old playing in the Michigan National Hockey League (MNHL) for Detroit Compuware.  He scored 131 points in 69 games and was a local hockey star.  Modano chose to come to Canada to play in the CHL.  He went to Saskatchewan to play for the Prince Albert Raiders.  He scored 62 points as a 16 year old rookie in the WHL and was actively recruited by several US colleges.  Modano turned down at least three scholarship offers to remain in Prince Albert.  In his second WHL season, Modano scored 127 points and starred for the US in the World Junior Championships with five points in seven games.

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Kings Alienating Doughty Long Term

A restricted free agent has very little leverage in most cases.  If they cannot file for salary arbitration there is little that they can do except accept their current team’s contract offer or wait.  In principle another team could give them an offer sheet but this is a difficult task.  There is no point giving a player an offer sheet if his current team will immediately match it, so you must offer a significant sized contract.  Usually it is hard to be in a situation where a team has the money on hand and salary cap space to make such an offer where the player’s current team does not.

The top player in the NHL who finds himself in this situation is Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings.  Doughty is a 21 year old defenceman who has already had a Norris Trophy nomination.  The Kings hold his rights until he has played seven seasons in the NHL.  This will happen when Doughty is 25 years old and probably has not played the best years of his career yet.

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Dallas Stars Bankruptcy

While the NHL press releases often give the impression that things have never been better financially for the league, there are actually a lot of franchises in financial trouble ( Tom Benjamin has a good list).  One of the more serious problems is the Dallas Stars. 

The Dallas Stars moved from Minnesota for the 1993/94 season.  Tom Hicks bought the team for the 1995/96 season and they were an NHL success.  They were one of the top teams in the league and won the 1999 Stanley Cup.  They were incorrectly seen as a big market team that was dominating the league in one incorrect justification for the 2004 lockout.  The reality is Dallas is a pretty big market but they hardly qualify as one of the biggest markets in baseball (with the Texas Rangers), how could they be a big hockey market?  If Dallas had not had on ice success, it was quite likely they would have problems with the franchise.

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The 2011 Vezina Race And Point Shares

The 2011 Vezina Trophy race was not particularly close.  Tim Thomas won by a reasonably significant margin.  If we look at the voting results we see that Thomas won handily with Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo gathering nominations.  Cam Ward finished well back in seventh place.  He had one second place and one third place vote.

The goalie point shares system as developed by Justin Kubatko of hockey-reference.com paints a different story.  The top 20 seasons all time by goalie point shares lists Cam Ward 13th all time and leaves out Tim Thomas (he places 21st all time).  This is a different view.  Is it valid?

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Dominik Hasek By Point Shares

I have been looking at goaltender point shares lately.  This is a system devised by Justin Kubatko of hockey-reference.com to try to give credit for team wins to individual players on the team.  I find the offensive portion somewhat successful because offensive stats are not too difficult to isolate.  The defensive and goaltending portions are not as good.  Defence is harder to evaluate on the individual level.  This system estimates how many goals a team prevented when compared to a replacement level team and then shares those goals out via ice time and position.  Although it should be clear that some players on some teams are more important to defence than others of the same position, this is not something this system can assess.  As a result, goaltending and defensive point shares are too dependent upon games played and not upon goaltending and defensive success.  The best players will be underrated and have some of their shares given to lesser players on their team, who are thus overrated.

One prominent example of this is Dominik Hasek and I will look at him today.

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Top 20 Seasons By Goaltending Point Shares

Yesterday I listed the top 20 careers by goaltending point shares.  This is a system developed by Justin Kubatko at hockey-reference.com.  I argue that the goaltender point shares are somewhat flawed because of the way defensive point shares are given out.  Each team’s marginal goals against is calculated.  This is a theoretical construct that represents the number of goals prevented by the team above that of a replacement level defence.  This is shared to each player in different amounts depending upon the player’s position.  Goaltenders get the largest share.  They get this share regardless of if it is a goaltending effort or a defensive effort preventing goals.  As a result, goaltender point shares track very closely with games played for goalies. 

The two key examples I gave are Sean Burke who places 13th in goalie point shares and 12th in goaltender games played.  I argue this is too high.  Burke was a good goalie who played a long time, but he was never a truly top goalie.  This system overrates him.  Dominik Hasek was probably the best goalie in NHL history.  He is 20th in career games played because he didn’t start his career at a young age due to his being stuck in communist Czechoslovakia.  He ranks 9th in goalie point shares.  I argue this is not high enough.

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Top 20 Careers By Goaltending Point Shares

Today I continue my look at Justin Kubatko’s point share system.  I will look at the top careers by goaltending point shares.  I have already listed the top seasons by offensive point shares and the top seasons by defensive point shares.  This is the final piece and the only piece that evaluates goaltending.

The point share system is an attempt to give credit to individual team wins to individual players.  The goaltending portion attempts to give a share of the calculated goals prevented by the team to a goalie.  It is at best an approximate measure.  This ranking will attempt to measure how approximate it is.

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Calculating Goaltender Point Shares

In my recent discussion of the point share system as developed by Justin Kubatko of hockey-reference.com, I have discussed the offensive portion and the defensive portion.  The part missing is the goaltender’s portion, so I will discuss that today.

The point share system attempts to credit the points teams gather from wins and (regulation) ties to individual players similar to the win shares system Bill James has developed in baseball.  This system is necessarily somewhat approximate as ideal statistics have not been recorded throughout the history of the NHL and because their interpretation to provide individual player value is not fully understood.

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Top 20 Seasons By Defensive Point Shares

I have been looking into the point shares method that has been developed by Justin Kubatko at hockey-reference.com.  It is an attempt to credit team wins to the individual players on the team.  Most recently I have been looking at the defensive portion of the system.  I listed the top 20 careers by defensive point shares.  It tends to select defencemen on good teams who get top +/- ratings.  This isn’t necessarily the best group of defensive players.  After all it is possible to get a very good +/- rating as a strong offensive defenceman who plays average level defence.  This will be made clearer by looking at the 20 best seasons by defensive point shares.

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Larry Murphy By Point Shares

Lately I have been looking at defensive portion of the point share system.  This system was developed by Justin Kubatko at hockey-reference.com.  It is an attempt to credit the points that teams get for winning games to individual players.  The defensive part of the system is somewhat problematic.  It is very hard to statistically show good defensive play.  This system attempts to calculate the number of goals a team prevents when compared to a team of replacement level players and credit them to all the players on the ice based upon their positions.  It then adds or subtracts a portion based upon the +/- rating of the player involved. 

Using this method I have listed the top 20 careers using the defensive portion of point shares.  It is a list of 20 defencemen who had lengthy careers.  The problem is they are not necessarily defensive defencemen.  A case in point is Larry Murphy who ranks seventh all time.

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com

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