by PuckStopsHere on 09/17/10 at 02:54 AM ET
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:
Goals Versus Threshold
The first observation of this system is that it preferentially selects goaltenders. Half of the players on this list are goalies. This may show the reality that goaltenders are the most important players in the NHL, but it also shows that it is unsatisfactory to select MVPs by the goals versus threshold system as it will inevitably select a goalie.
Defencemen are most under-represented on the list. Only two defencemen are on the list in Duncan Keith and Mike Green. Defencemen are more important than this. They are hard to select because it is hard to quantify the defensive value of a player and this underestimates most defenceman’s value.
The forwards on this list are essentially chosen for offensive value, because defensive value is hard to quantify.
Some conclusions from this exercise are that Alexander Ovechkin was the most valuable forward in the NHL last season, with Sidney Crosby being a reasonable other choice. I think the choice of Ovechkin is a good one. Ryan Miller is also selected as the best goalie in the league, which also seems accurate. Many might be surprised to see Evgeni Nabokov as second overall in this system. While he had a good season last year, much better than many will admit to now that he is a KHL goalie, I do not think he was this good. His numbers make him look better than he is because of San Jose’s defence which limited the shot quality he faced. Similarly, Tomas Vokoun is underrated because the poor Florida defence allows high shot quality against. I would question the choice of Miller as NHL MVP from this statistic as it is biased to select goaltenders. As far as defencemen, I think it is correct to pick Duncan Keith as the best in the league.
I think the goals versus threshold system is most limited by its lack of ability to quantify defensive play. The over-abundance of goaltenders at the top is another topic for further discussion. Due to the lack of defencemen in the top 20, I think it is worth looking at a top 20 defencemen ranking in the future.
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