Saturday, May 27, 2017

NHL Draft: Where Success Equals Failure

At what point in the NHL draft does the probability of success equal the probability of failure? To answer this question we’re going to look at the drafts from 2004 to 2010 and player salaries at age 23, 24, 25. The O22 - U26 is the window between entry level contracts and unrestricted free agency; I call it my draft analytics sweet spot. Success here is defined as a salary over a million dollars post entry level, and failure is 0 NHL GP and less than 30 AHL GP any given season in the same O22 - U26 window. Perhaps the bar for success was set about $300,000 too high, but I’m a fan of the million dollar threshold. Statistics from the 2016/17 season have not yet been included in my database.
 
The reason for choosing the drafts from 2004 to 2010 because we’re only interested in contracts signed under a salary cap, and cut it off at 2010 so we can see a six year window after the players are drafted. In salary based draft analytics you can’t use data from before salary cap because entry level contracts were a game changer. So if you want to look at that post-entry level pre-UFA (O22-U26) window to measure pick value, you’ll get a limited sample size (in this case 7 drafts). I also prefer to use information from more recent drafts to capture more recent trends in drafting, but like “Kid Icarus”, you need to be weary of flying too close to the sun. The more recent the data, the less information you have to determine success rates; but the older the info, the less relevant it becomes to current trends.



The answer to the question “where does success equal failure” is the 28th pick. After that you are more likely to fail than succeed. Below is an illustration of the probabilities of success and failure for all picks in the draft. You can see that the probability of getting a million dollar player drops very quickly in the first round, and starts to level off after the 2nd round. Statistically there is not much difference between a 4th round pick and a 6th round pick. Fitting a logarithmic trend line in Excel to both the success and failure rate data produces a high correlation, though the success line hits Y=0 at the 162th pick. All picks after 162 should have a non zero chance of producing a million dollar player. The blue line is the failure line, which I also refer to in baseball terms as strikeouts (or Ks).


Monday, May 22, 2017

Does NHL Shot Differential Matter?


If you have been following the evolution of the hockey analytics community, you’ll notice we have come to a place where many of these people strongly believe that shot differential is the most important measure of the value of hockey players. Putting grades on trades and other transactions only requires an examination of Corsi and its derivatives. They’ll say things like this was a terrible trade because the player has a bad Relative Corsi Against.

I’m a hockey stats nerd who wants to see the hockey analytics revolution succeed, but I have always been skeptical of “shots at goal plus minus” (aka Corsi) as a meaningful statistic. They call it a “possession” statistic, but it doesn’t actually count how long a team is in possession of the puck, and it assumes that all shots are created equal.

Placing ultimate importance on shot differential assumes that it actually matters which team gets the most total shots with no measure of quality of shooting location. It begs the question, how often does the team that shoots the most shots win the hockey game? A smart hockey brain might say something like 65%. If it were 50%, then the final shot differential would have no impact on the outcome of the game. I looked at a random sample of 1100 NHL games, and the team with the most shots won 50.9% of the games. In the playoffs it drops to 40%.

Hold on a minute, getting more shots in the regular season only increases the probability of winning by 1%? In the playoffs the losing team tends to get the most shots? In the 2016 NHL playoffs the 5 games with the largest shot differentials saw the losing team get the most shots (top being Washington losing with 44 shots to Philly’s 11). If shot differential is so important, why doesn’t it have a more positive effect on wins and loses?

There are possible theories. Such as, many teams play differently when they are leading or trailing on the scoreboard. They may hold an extra forward back to box out the middle and limit shots from best percentage scoring areas. In doing so they would hinder their own team’s shot production by attempting to limit the opponent’s opportunities. This would hurt the Corsi ratings for the players who are winning, while teams playing from behind take more risks and shoot more shots (though not always from higher value locations), thus giving the perception of greater value. It’s a theory.

Corsi is a flawed rating system that rewards quantity of shots over quality of shots. It gives players greater value to pepper the net with shots from everywhere instead of making extra passes to get the puck into a higher percentage scoring location. Goals are a function of quality scoring chances more so than quantity of shots. A shot from the red line has the same Corsi value as a breakaway. I never understood why Corsi is supposed to be a better judge of value than regular old fashioned plus minus. Perhaps the sample size is smaller for goals, but goals data is far more important than shots data. I would much rather know who was on the ice for every goal rather than who was on the ice for every shot.

If normal plus minus does not provide us with enough information, then Corsi supplies us with too much. Perhaps the optimal statistic is waiting untapped in the middle of these two extremes. Quality Scoring Chance Plus Minus. That would require a precise definition of quality scoring chance and people to count them, but would be a superior measure of value. In the proper context shot differential and Corsi can tell a story, but should not be the primary statistic for assigning value. Because if the Florida Panthers think they got a quality asset in Jakub Kindl, this Red Wings fan will tell you, don’t hold your breath…

Friday, March 10, 2017

Does NHL Prospect Improvement Rate Indicate Greater Probability Of Professional Success?

Predicting whether or not a teenager will become an NHL hockey player is not an exact science. There are some critically important intangibles that can be difficult to measure or forecast, typically involving physical growth, work ethic, maturity, development, etc, etc. Are they going to get bigger, stronger, faster, better? How much will they be able to replicate their skill set when they move up to a higher level of competition?

One way talent evaluators like to answer these questions is by looking for "improvements" in its various forms. The theory is that if an amateur player shows improvement year over year he has a better chance of performing at the professional level. To test this theory I looked at a sample of NHL draft picks from 2004 to 2010 who played Canadian junior hockey for at least 2 years after being drafted.

I prefer to measure future value by looking at expected salary and output over the age of 22 to under 26 (I pretend New Year's Eve is on Sept 15). Age 22 is when most prospects finish their Entry Level contract, and Age 26 is most often when players reach unrestricted free agency. Age 23, 24, 25 is the "Draft Analytics Sweet Spot".

The sample of CHL players is then broken off into 2 sub samples; Players who showed at least 10% improvement in points per game both from age 17 to 18 and from 18 to 19. The 2nd sample were Players who had at least a 15% drop in PTS per game either at age 18 or 19. We'll call them the Improvers and Decliners, each group containing over 100 players.

I realize that points alone only measures one aspect of improvement and there are many ways a player can improve that don't show up on a scoresheet (especially with defensemen). However if you are going to do draft analytics, you have a limited number of variables with which to work.

What is the difference between the Improvers and Decliners? One metric to determine value is professional salary. For players on 2 way contracts, this is calculated as their cap hit while in the NHL plus AHL/ECHL (which is just a flat rate of $625 per AHL game and $250 per ECHL game). The results are shown below.


Decliners
Improvers
Average Entry Level Salary
$145,292
$171,433
Average non-Entry Level Salary
$293,683
$480,710
Avg Career Earnings (age 18-25)
$1,323,739
$1,986,852
Expected NHL GP (18-25)
46
82
% Play at least 100 NHL GP (U26)
12.8%
24.7%
0 Career NHL GP (U26)
65.5%
46.3%
Earning Over $1M Salary (O22-U26)
7.6%
12.5%
Never Play NHL AHL or ECHL (U26)
21.7%
8.9%

The average draft position of Improvers and Decliners is roughly the same, and yet those who show improvement in Canadian junior had statistically significant performance at the professional level than those who declined. These same statistics can be easily calculated for other amateur sources of talent, but the CHL is by far the largest source of future players for the National Hockey League. It has the largest sample size.






Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Should NHL 1st Round Picks Go To NCAA?


Many talented young hockey players will decide to enroll in American Colleges and play varsity hockey in the NCAA. Some will be drafted to the NHL while they’re in college, while others will be drafted before they go to college.  Many NCAA players drafted by NHL teams will decide to stay at school for the full-term while others will drop out early to turn pro. It can be a very difficult decision for a young man to make.

For middling players like Ned Braden, it makes more sense to stay in school. The less likely you are to make it in the NHL, the more valuable that diploma is to you. When we’re talking about first round picks, their expected career earnings by age 25 is 10.5 Million Dollars. They have a 54% chance of earning a million dollar (or greater) annual salary by age 23. The faster they can get to their 2nd contract, the higher their career earnings will be.

Take the example of two players picked 5th overall, Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler. Kessel went directly to the NHL and Wheeler went to college and waited 4 years to turn pro. Over the next 8 seasons after being drafted Kessel banked $33.6M in career earnings, but Wheeler over the same span only earned $10.4M. For elite prospects, the Opportunity Cost of getting a College Degree is much higher. If their goal is to maximize career earnings, they should be trying to get out of their entry level contracts as quickly as possible. It’s unlikely that psychology degree is going to make you a multi-millionaire.

For players who don’t get drafted, going to the NCAA is a smart move. There is a greater appetite among NHL General Managers these days for College free agents, certainly more so than for undrafted CHL players (many of whom end up in the CIS). And for the record, the Canadian University hockey league is a graveyard league where careers go to die. Nothing more, nothing less.

If we look at all the first round picks drafted into the NHL who were either playing in or still eligible for the NCAA when drafted (from 2004 to 2011), 98% of them will play at least 1 game of North American professional hockey (NHL, AHL, ECHL). 83% will play at least 1 game in the NCAA. On the 3rd season after being drafted, 34% are still playing NCAA. For all these first round college bound players, 16% play only 1 season of NCAA. 31% play 2 seasons, 24% played 3, 12% play 4 years NCAA.

When 64% of them are leaving college after two years or less (including the ones who played 0), the undeniable conclusion is that the lure of making millions of dollars is drawing the majority out of college before graduation, as it should be. I just wonder about the 1/3 who are staying 3-4 years. To all those first round picks who want to graduate with a Degree, I recommend taking an economics course and pay extra attention when they get to explaining “Opportunity Cost”.

The one instance where it might be beneficial to stay in school and wait it out is if you get drafted by a franchise you don't want to play for. Wait the full term and you can sign with any team you want. I'm looking at all this from the player's perspective.

It's not as advantageous to turn pro early and still get stuck on entry level slide. It's all about getting that countdown started as quickly as possible. It's a judgement call to turn pro at 19, but for sure by 20. It's turning pro at 22 that does the most damage to your bank account.

If we again look at the population of first round picks eligible for or in the NCAA; the players who play 0 or 1 seasons of NCAA hockey average $15M career earnings by age 25. The players who play 3 to 4 seasons of NCAA average $5M career earnings. Some of these guys delaying turning pro until they graduate are costing themselves several million dollars. Was that Bachelor of Arts in History worth the 10 million dollars it cost you?


Monday, January 9, 2017

Best NHL Contracts of 2016

Welcome to my annual NHL Best Contracts list. This was a very difficult list to build compared to the Worst Contracts list because there are no shortage of team friendly contracts to choose from. I tend to avoid contracts with only 1 season left, but in the case of John Tavares made an exception for the former 2 time winner of best contract in hockey (and by best I mean the best bang for your buck from the team perspective). Also, there are no entry level contracts on this list. Since they all come from the same cookie cutter, I only list post entry level deals

My past best contracts lists can be viewed here.

1) Nikita Kucherov, TB, 2 more years @ $4.8M AAV – I’d love to know how Steve Yzerman pulled this one off after Kucherov has established himself in the elite tier of goal scorers. It’s possible that someone in the Tampa front office had naked pictures of him and threatened to release them to the public unless he signed this team friendly contract that locked him in below market value for another 2 years. That’s the only thing that makes any sense.

2) Tyler Seguin, Dal, 2 more years @ $5.7M AAV – Boston Bruin fans might never get over this one. He’s one of the best players in the league who locked in long term below market value. The Stars will probably miss their perfect window to capitalize on the bargain contracts to Benn and Seguin. Once these guys start earning market value, it will be considerably more difficult for Jim Nill to build a championship roster.

3) Roman Josi, Nsh, 3 more years @ $4M AAV – If Josi went UFA tomorrow, he’d probably get north of $7M per season. Nashville has him at a great price for 3 more seasons. I’m sure his agent deeply regrets locking his client in to this much term at such a low price, costing both of them a boatload of money. This might also be one of the most “untradeable” contracts in the league as no team would trade a top defenseman getting paid such a low sum.


4) Max Pacioretty, Mtl, 2 more years @ $4.5M AAV – On the list of contracts that cost a player millions of dollars, this one is up there. Perennial 30 goal scorers tend to cost much more than this, and he’ll be over 30 years old when it expires. Will he seek additional compensation on his next contract because he outperformed his current contract (like an Edwin Encarnacion)? If so Montreal might want to let him walk UFA instead of forking out a max type deal.

5) Wayne Simmonds, Phi, 2 more years @ $4M AAV – Simmonds has been returning terrific value on this deal since it was signed in 2012. It’s another contract that cost a player millions of dollars during his years of peak production that he’s unlikely to recover in his next round of negotiations. His agent timed it poorly such that he’s unlikely ever to get a max pay day.

6) Artem Anisimov, Chi, 4 more years @ $4.5M –  You can probably attribute some of Anisimov’s elite production to the presence of Patrick Kane, but whatever the reason he’s putting up great value for the Blackhawks. It’s a little bit comparable to Chris Kunitz who has put up big numbers playing with Sidney Crosby, but with virtually nobody else. Tough to say if Anisimov could make more money on the open market, since most prospective buyers would be aware of the Kane-Effect.

7) Justin Faulk, Car, 3 more years @ $4.8M AAV – His production is down but he’s still one of the more incredible bargains in the league. He’s no Roman Josi, but still a talented top pairing defenseman who will be getting a big pay raise when this contract expires. In hindsight, he and his agent screwed up and signed too long when a shorter deal would have made more sense. He got the kind of deal that Montreal should have given PK Subban but instead forced him into a low price, low term bridge deal, which cost that franchise a lot of money two years later. Faulk shows how skipping the bridge deal can lead to big savings down the road.

8) John Tavares, NYI, 1 more year @ $5.5M AAV – There is one more year left on one of the most team friendly contracts signed in the salary cap era. Tavares cost himself millions and it’s not like the Islanders used the money they saved to build a winner. Soon he’ll be gone (or so I assume) and the team will have missed a window of elite talent at a bargain price that doesn’t come around very often. Sure that year they almost beat the Penguins in the playoffs felt like a championship, but it wasn’t.

9) Devan Dubnyk, Min, 4 more years @ $4.3M AAV – Leads the NHL in Save Percentage (.941) and Goals Against Average (1.75) and has to be the leading candidate for the Vezina. That level of production under contract for 4 more years is tremendous value. He’s proving this season to be more than just a one hit wonder. Considering his career was all but dead when he arrived in Minnesota, this has been a remarkable story.

10) Eric Staal, Min, 2 more years @ $3.5M AAV –Staal has been doing great in Minnesota, and it begs the question of what other offers he had on the table in the summer time. Did he take less money to move closer to Thunder Bay? Regardless of how the Wild managed to pull this off, they’re getting great value from this signing. The demise of Eric Staal may have been exaggerated by his supporting cast in Carolina rather than skill decline.

11) Nazem Kadri, Tor, 5 more years @ $4.5M AAV – Kadri might have signed his long term contract a year too soon, as he has played well enough to get a Selke trophy nomination.  This is a great contract for the Maple Leafs re-building process. Kadri and has agent must not have thought he was capable of elevating his game to the next level by locking in at this term and price. Had he become UFA this summer, he’d have scored more money than this.

12) Charlie Coyle, Min, 3 more years @ $3.2M AAV – He’s on pace for 27 goals 68 PTS this season at 24 years old.  He’s heading into prime production at a mind numbingly low price. Sure the Wild carry some bad contracts, but they also have some great contracts to offset them. The competitiveness window is still open for this franchise, at least until Ryan Suter starts to break down and they lose defense depth in the expansion draft and maybe wiff on a few of their blue chip prospects.

13) Victor Rask, Car, 5 more years @ $4M AAV – This type of contract can be a huge risk for teams if the player regresses (like Rostislav Olesz or Cody Hodgson), but they can also produce some of the best bargains when players improve. I was critical of this deal when it happened, but the early returns have been great for Carolina. He’s a very versatile player who plays power plays, kills penalties, takes faceoffs, scores goals, and may already be the Hurricanes best player. The people of Quebec are going to love him.

14) Mats Zuccarello, NYR, 3 more years @ $4.5M AAV – The Norwegian Wayne Gretzky. By far the greatest player Norway has ever produced, may have hit his peak last season. His coming out party as a world class player was at the Sochi Olympics, which has carried over into his NHL play. 60 points for $4.5M AAV is fantastic value.


15) Paul Byron, Mtl, 2 more years @ $1.2M AAV – Last year Paul Byron scored 11 goals in Montreal. That was a career high. Halfway through 2016/17 he already has 12 and is on pace for 26. Anytime you can get a 20+ goal scorer for a little over a million dollars, that’s a win. They’ve got him under contract at that price for another 2 seasons. Sure this is probably his career year and he’ll start to regress next season, but he needs to make the list for what he’s done in 2016.


HONORABLE MENTIONS


Cam Atkinson, Clb, 1 more year @ $3.5M AAV 

Adam Henrique, NJ, 2 more years @ $4M AAV

Rickard Rakell, Ana, 5 more years @ $3.9M AAV

Brendan Gallagher, Mtl, 4 more years @ $3.7M AAV 

Alec Martinez, LA, 4 more years @ $4M AAV

Oliver Ekmanlarsson, Ari, 2 more years @ $5.5M AAV  

Dougie Hamilton, Cgy, 4 more years @ $5.75M AAV

Rasmus Ristonlainen, Buf, 5 more years @ $5.4M AAV 

Ryan McDonagh, NYR, 2 more years @ $4.7M AAV  

John Klingberg, Dal, 5 more years @ $4.2M AAV

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Worst NHL Contracts of 2016



Welcome to my annual NHL Worst Contracts List for 2016. It's largely based on performance for the first half of the 2016/17 season. These are not necessarily the worst players in the league, but the worst contracts. Ryan Suter is still a very good player, but next generation of Minnesota Wild fans will be lamenting that contract for years after his retirement.


Generally I try to avoid listing contracts that are only bad because of an injury, unless the contract was already bad prior to the injury. I'm looking at the contracts that were mostly based on poor decision making, or rewarding a player for past performance when he's unlikely to repeat that production going forward.
My past Worst Contracts lists can be viewed here.

*note* The dollar figure "owed" beside a player name is remaining cap hit on the contract.

1) Andrew Ladd, NYI, $33M owed over 6 more years @ $5.5M AAV - He’s on pace to score 26 PTS in 82 GP, the worst PTS per game average of his entire career, at 31 years of age with 6 years left on his contract. This might be the new normal for Ladd, or things are going to plummet even further if and when Tavares leaves town.

2) Zach Parise, Min, $60M owed over 8 more years @ $7.5 AAV – It’s hard to argue against what Minnesota is doing this season, but that’s a whole bunch of money left to be paid to an over 30 forward having his worst statistical season since he was a rookie (not counting the 13 game season of 2010/11). Also there is a massive “cap recapture” penalty coming when Parise retires that will be a gut punch for Wild management.

3) Loui Eriksson, Van, $30M owed over 5 more years @6M AAV – This contract was confusing from day one. It’s a “win now” acquisition for a team that should be focused on re-building. Loui is having the worst PTS per GP season since he was a rookie. After scoring 63 PTS with the Bruins last season, he’s on pace for 36 PTS in 2016/17.

4) Bobby Ryan, Ott, $36M owed over 5 more years at $7.25M AAV – His production has dropped significantly in 2016, below what you’d expect from someone with that price tag (worst points per game since his rookie season). I recall last year a local rink had a giant billboard of Bobby Ryan for Head and Shoulders shampoo “shoulders are meant for greatness, not dandruff.” I found that confusing. If shoulders are meant for greatness, why is Bobby Ryan your spokesman? That billboard has since been taken down.

5) Dustin Brown, LA, $29M owed over 5 more years @ $5.8M AAV – Long gone are the days of 20 goals and 50 PTS for the 32 year old former captain. The last few seasons he’s fallen to a 10 goal 30 point player. He earned this contract for helping the Kings win Stanley Cups in the past, but it’ll be hard for them to win any more while carrying contracts like this.

6) David Clarkson, Clb, $15.7M owed over 3 more years @ $5.2M AAV – Normally I try to exclude contracts that are bad because of injury from this list, but Clarkson was on the list prior to his current injury.  If he never plays hockey again, then Columbus can burn the contract on Long term IR. If he does return from injury, it continues to be a terrible contract.

7) Ryan Suter, Min, $60M owed over 8 more years @ $7.5M AAV – It’s a little awkward putting Suter on this list because he’s still among the league’s best defensemen. Unfortunately there is a day of reckoning coming at some point in the future when he decides to retire. When he does, expect “cap recapture penalty” to be trending among the top Google searches in the state of Minnesota. If he and Parise retire the same year (and they have almost identical contracts), the Wild organization is screwed.

8) Marian Hossa, Chi, $21M owed over 4 more years @ $5.3M AAV – This is the last year of the contract over $1M. Is he coming back next season to play at age 38 for a big pay cut? It’s unlikely, but I haven’t heard anybody talking about a Marian Hossa farewell tour. Granted I’m sure plenty of people are talking about it in Chicago. Chicago can’t really afford this “cap recapture” penalty, although Stan Bowman has proven effective at keeping this team competitive while salary cap compliant.

9) Henrik Zetterberg, Det, $24M owed over 4 more years @ $6M AAV – He is proving to still be a very effective player at age 36. But after next season the “back dive” portion of his contract kicks in and he must decide if he wants to play at age 38, 39, 40 for $3.5M, $1M, $1M. If he retires then Detroit is going to get hit with a significant penalty. Granted the playoff streak should be over by then so it won’t be so big of a deal.

10) Semyon Varlamov, Col, $11.8M owed over 2 more years @$5.9M AAV – When Patrick Roy arrived in Colorado he must have sprinkled some kind of magic fairy dust on this guy, who had a miracle season getting nominated for the Vezina Trophy. He earned himself a nice big new contract that summer, and it looks like he’s gotten worse with each passing day.

11) David Bolland, Ari, $11M owed over 2 more years @ $5.5M AAV – I should just copy and paste the write-up for David Clarkson. Normally I try to exclude contracts that are bad because of injury from this list, but Bolland was also on the list prior to his current injury.  If he never plays hockey again, then Arizona can burn the contract on Long term IR. If he does return from injury, it continues to be a terrible contract.

12) Matt Belesky, Bos, $11.4M owed over 3 more years @ $3.8M AAV – He has lost some time to injury this season, but prior to the injury he was producing very little offense. Boston should have known he was unlikely to repeat his 22 goal season of 2015, but paid him at that level and his production has been gradually declining ever since.

13) Petr Mrazek, Det, owed 1 more year @$4M AAV – If your objective is to tank the season then Mrazek is a fantastic starting goaltender.  A year ago at this time he had among the best save percentage in the NHL, then after his 24th birthday on Feb 14 he has been among the league’s worst goalies, and Detroit keeps playing him.

14) Jussi Jokinen, Fla, owed 1 more year at $4M AAV – He scored 18 goals last season and is currently on pace to score 5. He may have hit that proverbial wall in his career. I’m not sure what kind of analytics Florida’s front office used to forecast his future production and reward him with this contract, but obviously it failed. Also, see David Bolland. 

15) Kevin Bieksa, Ana, owed 1 more year at $4M AAV – It might be time for the 35 year old defenseman to retire. In 2008/09 he scored 43 PTS. This season he is on pace for 7. He has lost a step and at this point provides little more than veteran leadership on a young blueline with a little bit of toughness sprinkled in.


Honourable mentions
 

Anze Kopitar, LA, $70M owed over 7 more years @ $10M AAV -

Jordan Staal, Car, $36M owed over 6 more years @ $6M AAV –

Ryan Nugenthopkins, Edm, $24M owed over 4 more years @ $6M AAV -

Marian Gaborik, LA, $19.6M owed over 4 more years @ $4.9M AAV -

Carl Soderberg, Col, $14.2M owed over 3 more years @ 4.8M AAV -

Sedin Twins, Van, $14M owed over 1 more year.

Craig Smith, Nsh, $12.6M owed over 3 more years @ $4.2M AAV -

Mikkel Boedker, SJ, owed $12M over 3 more years @ $4M AAV -

Mike Smith, Ari,  $11.4M owed over 2 more years @ $5.7M AAV –

Benoit Pouliot, Edm, $8M owed over 2 more years @ $4M AAV -

Eddie Lack, Car,  $2.7M owed over 1 more year -


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

17 Sports Predictions for 2017

Every year I like to go on the record making a number of random sports predictions. Last year I predicted the Chicago Cubs World Series and Cleveland wins a championship.

1) Rhonda Rousey joins WWE

2) Neither CM Punk or GSP win a UFC fight

3) Tim Tebow gets on base in MLB

4) Golden State does not win a championship

5) Cleveland Indians win World Series

6) Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl

7) At least 2 current or former MMA fighters diagnosed with CTE

8) Nail Yakupov goes to either Las Vegas or Russia

9) Detroit Red Wings miss the playoffs

10)  Tiger Woods wins a golf tournament

11) Andre DeGrasse wins a gold at World Championships

12) Carolina Hurricanes relocate to Quebec

13) Sergei Bobrovsky wins either the Vezina or Conn Smythe Trophy or both

14) Neither Toronto or Montreal returns to MLS semi-finals

15) Eugenie Bouchard fires a coach

16) Tom Brady sues the NFL or Roger Goodell or both

17) Roger Goodell replaced as NFL commissioner