The NHL draft is underway. The first round went yesterday and the remainder is going to occur today. It is always hard to make authoritative comments on the draft. Many players are players I have never seen. Of the few players I have seen, I have rarely seen them play very much. Even if I had seen them play a lot, I would probably get it wrong quite often as history shows the scouts do when you look at past drafts.
This draft had the false hype of Edmonton’s choice between Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin at first overall. I think that Edmonton had decided upon Hall well before the draft, but the decision was not announced publicly, so there was a story created around it. It would have been a bit of a shocker if they did pick Seguin.
A few days ago future Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer announced his retirement and I am only now getting around to writing his career retrospective.
Scott Niedermayer was born on August 31st, 1973 in Edmonton, Alberta. As a very young kid, his family moved to the Kootenay region of eastern British Columbia and he grew up playing hockey in the minor hockey system there. In 1989 he started his junior career when he joined the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. There he quickly blossomed into a star. By 1991, he was named to the WHL West First All Star Team and named Canadian Major Junior scholastic player of the year for a season where he scored 82 points in 57 games from defence. He also played on the gold medal winning Canadian team at the World Junior Championships. This was good enough to make him the third overall pick in the 1991 draft by the New Jersey Devils. This was the infamous draft pick that Toronto traded for Tom Kurvers, thus eliminating them from the Eric Lindros sweepstakes (Lindros was the consensus first overall pick that season).
Yesterday was the NHL Awards presentations, so I want to take some time and comment on who won. Here is how I would have voted if i had an award ballot. My voting does not mesh exactly with the NHL voting since I listed only three nominees for the awards and in most cases the NHL awards have five votes. Here are my comments made when the award nominees were announced.
As for actual results, here are the voting results for most awards. Missing from the list is the Masterton. In the past, I have never been able to find Masterton voting (I do not think the NHL releases it), but nevertheless if you know a source for it please let me know in the comments. Here are voting results for the first and second all star teams.
The 2010 Hall of Fame inductions were announced yesterday. In are Dino Ciccarelli, Angela James, Cammi Granato, Jimmy Devellano and Daryl (Doc) Seaman. The story most are talking about is who isn’t getting inducted this year. Available players this year included Joe Nieuwendyk, Eric Lindros, Doug Gilmour, Adam Oates, Dave Andreychuk and Pavel Bure. Although it is expected that most of these players will be inducted someday, none are inducted this year. Also passed over was builder Pat Burns. Burns is a three-time coach of the year and likely dying of cancer. Sentimentally, people would like to see him get inducted while he is still alive. Although, other coaches with similar or better records such as Fred Shero have not been able to find spots in the Hall. I see burns as a person who is a serious candidate because of cancer and that isn’t a good reason for induction.
So far this summer I have tallied some important sabermetric statistics. I have listed the top 20 and worst 20 adjusted +/- ratings when adjusted as a rate stat and the top 20 adjusted as a counting stat . To complete this +/- analysis, I will list the worst 20 players with the rate stat adjustment.
Here is this list (as calculated by Gabe Desjardins of Behind the Net) :
I think that Christian Ehrhoff had the biggest improvement in his defensive game in the 2009/10 season when compared to the 2008/09 season. This is not to be confused with Drew Doughty who is a defenseman that was the most improved player in the league. A significant part of Doughty’s improvement was his jump from 29 to 57 points (an offensive improvement), while Ehrhoff was up from 42 to 44 points with a big jump defensively.
Ehrhoff’s defensive improvement can be seen by looking at adjusted +/- ratings. In 2008/09 he was eighth worst in the league. This season he was fourth best. That is a tremendous leap. It is uncommon for a player to improve on that level and the improvement is defensive.
I have already posted the players with the top 20 adjusted +/- ratings as a counting stat and as a rate stat. It is time to look at the flip side of these numbers and see who is failing in the role and putting up a bad adjusted +/-. Today, I will post the counting stat list.
Here it is:
When we look at the top 20 adjusted +/- ratings as a rate stat, we see a surprising player at number one. He is Mark Fistric of the Dallas Stars. This situation is not unlike the top 20 adjusted as a counting stat where Jeff Schultz leads.
Jeff Schultz leading is much more easily explainable as a good season than Mark Fistric. In part, this is because of the adjustment method. When a statistic is treated as a rate stat, you tend to select players who played well for a shorter period of time than players who played a significant role on their team and played well. Essentially, you get the top per game scorers in the league instead of the scoring leaders, who are in the Art Ross race.
There are few periods in the year when teams can make significant roster moves. This is largely because the salary cap removes a lot of team’s possible flexibility. In order to make a move it must make sense in terms of the players involved, the contracts involved and the salary cap. That is a lot of variables that must be considered. The one time when significant moves are often necessary is the off-season, when teams have expiring contracts. This allows them the flexibility to make changes for next year.
The first team to make significant moves this off-season is the St Louis Blues. Yesterday they acquired goaltender Jaroslav Halak from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for prospects Lars Eller and Ian Schultz and then acquired TJ Hensick from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for prospect Julian Talbot. The first trade is obviously the bigger one and could pay huge dividends for the Blues next season and into the future.
A few days ago, I listed the top 20 adjusted +/- ratings calculated as a counting stat. I went on to write about Jeff Schultz of the Washington Capitals leading the league and the interpretation of that fact. I was asked the intelligent question by a commenter called GoPens about why these results show some discrepancies with what he had seen using +/- as a rate stat. The rate stat adjustment looks at +/- calculated per minute of play, while the counting stat adjustment looks at the total numbers accomplished in the entire season. Both are useful. The rate stat adjustment is better at finding seldom used players who are doing quite well and the counting stat adjustment is better at finding the top performances in the league. It is essentially the difference between goals scored and goals per game. I would argue that the counting stat is often more useful, in the same way that it is more useful to have a fifty goal scorer on your team than a guy who scored at a 50 goal pace but only played 10 games.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
Why am I blogging? I want to.
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