Wednesday, August 17, 2016

10 New Statistics For The NHL

As we enter the modern age of hockey statistics analytics, we need to start tracking more detailed stats. The list of stats they track seems to grow every year, so here is my list of statistics I'd like to see. They may have already started counting some of these, and if so, great! The more things we count in hockey, the happier I'll be.

1) Passes: Okay NHL, it is 2016. Let's start counting passes for individual players with complete V incomplete. If we really care about "possession statistics" we should be counting passes. Logistically it's difficult to do because there are so many passes over the course of a hockey game, but we have the technology.

2) Shot Assists: Why not give out a maximum of 1 Shot Assist for every shot on goal? It would add a substantial amount of information to our "playmaker statistics". If we tracked shot assists and pass completion %, it would help us better identify the league's best playmakers.

3) Quality Scoring Chance Plus Minus: Instead of using Corsi (shots at net plus minus) as a defining measure value where all shots are created equal, it would be optimal to restrict it to shots on net from the highest percentage scoring locations. I don't currently know if anyone has thought of this idea before, but if not can we name it after me?

4) Face-off Assists: When a center wins a face-off because a teammate won the ensuing puck battle thus gaining possession, give the guy an assist. This could be classified as a possession statistic and would be valuable for teams seeking to improve their face-off win %.

5) Intercepted Passes: Both offensively and defensively, but I'm most curious to know which NHL players intercept the most passes. Interceptions is a big stat in the NFL that they could have in the NHL (though they happen with far greater frequency in hockey). This would also be a possession statistic

6) Hits Creating Turnovers: Why not give the NHL's heavy hitters their own possession statistic? If a hit creates a turnover, count it. The best kind of hit is the one that forces a change of puck possession and it would be great to know who in the NHL does this the most.

7) Forced Turnovers: For me the biggest problem with turnover stats is that they only count giveaways and takeaways when they should be counting every defensive play that forces a change of possession. They can come in different categories (takeaways, from hits, intercepted passes, etc) but all sum into a comprehensive Forced Turnover statistic. For each defensive forced turnover there is an offensive turnover that must also be counted.

8) Shot Coordinates: Turn the hockey rink into a Cartesian plane with an X and Y axis and let us know the X, Y coordinates of every shot on net. This will give us much better understanding of the quality of shot attempts. I'm sure this is already done somewhere; I just don't know where to find it.

9) Primary Assist: This one will have to be subjective, but only give out 1 Primary Assist for the one player who touched the puck in the sequence leading to a goal, deserving the most credit for the goal. The last player to touch the puck isn't always the guy who made the more difficult pass.

10) Extra Assists: We can stop at two assists for the purposes of Points, but you can still count all the other players who touched the puck in the sequence and put them in their own category. Technically they assisted on the goal and may have made a more difficult pass than the next guy. Why not let us know?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Danny Dekeyser Contract Comparables

On July 26, 2016 the Detroit Red Wings signed restricted Free Agent defenseman Danny Dekeyser to a 6 year $30M contract. On the surface it is a lot of money to give to a defenseman with limited offensive upside, but Ken Holland ultimately had no choice. At age 26 Dekeyser was perilously close to unrestricted free agency and was likely comfortable hitting the UFA market to find his long term home run if the Wings wouldn't pay.

The defense is easily the greatest weakness of a Red Wings team that’s been fighting it out the last few seasons to squeeze into playoffs to preserve their impressive post-season streak. Dekeyser has been a very valuable contributor on a team that lacks a true work horse to play against the opponent’s best players, thrusting him into a top pairing role early in his young career. He played the most minutes of any Wings player in the playoffs.

Ken Holland was in a difficult situation with a player close to UFA status. Looking at the age 26 contract comparables below, Dekeyser is getting Seabrook/Byfuglien money (in the $5M AAV range), and more money than recently comparable deals by Vlasic and Muzzin (in the $4M AAV range). He’s not better than any of those guys, which does make his contract look like an over-payment. It is too much money, but he’s too much better than anyone in Grand Rapids to lose him.

For better or worse, he has become their number 1 defenseman. That's not very promising is you are a Wings fan looking into the future. Nobody in the system is anywhere near good enough to be a legit top defenseman. It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall during the negotiations, because Dekeyser's agent hit a grand slam home run.

 Brent Seabrook
 Dustin Byfuglien
 Keith Ballard
 Marc-Edouard Vlasic
 Nick Schultz
 Jake Muzzin
 Mike Green
 Dan Girardi
 Paul Martin
 Jakub Kindl
 Carl Gunnarsson
 Christian Ehrhoff