Shot Attempts Are Valuable Information

This week’s article in The Star looked at the predictive value of information embodied in a team’s points and in their possession metrics. In particular it showed that these two stats contained different kinds of information, so that when used together, predictive power is increased. I should begin by mentioning that the first draft of […]

Maple Leafs Likely to Miss Playoffs, Hockey Analytics Suggest

At this time of year team records can be deceiving. Every year some teams get off to fast starts but then collapse, and others start slow but work their way into playoff position by season’s end. Last year saw the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes come storming out of the gate to get 34 points in […]

Why do most of the media refuse to get it? (Calgary vs. Edmonton)

By IJay Palansky NHL teams have finally bought into hockey analytics, so why is it that most of the media remains oblivious? As just one shining example, Sportsnet recently ran an article headlined “Flames and Oilers Heading In Opposite Directions.” That headline was pretty much the only thing the article got right, and even that […]

Has NHL salary cap created competitive balance?

Not too long ago – before the salary cap -- teams were unconstrained in the amount of money they could spend to attract hockey’s top talents. Not surprisingly, the difference between what large market teams spent and small market teams spent was large, and it showed on the ice. (Although spending more was certainly no […]

Leveling the Playing Field: A Look at Parity in the NHL

This week’s column in The Star looked at parity in the NHL. Parity refers to the extent to which teams are equal in terms of talent and ability. The specific form of parity that was addressed concerned the extent to which teams are evenly matched in a given season. (Sports economists also look at measures […]

Bergeron Is A Monster

The best forwards in the NHL last season were Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Patrice Bergeron. And not necessarily in that order.  There isn’t much disagreement as to the first two, but most hockey fans wouldn’t put Bergeron in the same class.   They’d be wrong.   In almost every aspect of the game – […]

If Bozak Were Better He'd Get Demoted For Sure

In Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk the Toronto Maple Leafs have arguably the most potent pair of first line wingers in the NHL. Last year the two finished 6th and 16th in the league in goals, with a total of 67 between them.   Imagine the damage they could do if they had a […]

Experimenting With Unbiased Analytics

Anyone who has taken Statistics 101 understands the importance of randomness in generating a useful data set, and you don’t need a PhD in game theory to acknowledge the wisdom of conceding a battle or two to win a war.   Putting these basic ideas into practice isn’t always easy.   In my first job […]

Top NHL players really do improve in contract year, statistics show

By Phil Curry and Mark Drummond With a new NHL season around the corner, we’re bound to hear commentators talking about which players have contracts coming up next season and whether they’ll “step up their play” in order to get that big payday. But does this actually happen? Martin LaPointe is the poster boy for […]

Cashing in Big: A Look at Contract Year Effects

This week’s column in The Star was based on research done by Mark Drummond. Mark just graduated from the University of Waterloo as an economics major, and one of his graduation requirements was the writing of an undergraduate thesis. I was fortunate enough to act as supervisor to this project. Mark chose to examine the […]