Why Devante Smith-Pelly Remains Unsig...

Devante Smith-Pelly turned 22 in June and is coming off a season in which he led his AHL team with 27 goals, got a late season call up to the Anaheim Ducks, and capped it off by leading the team with 5 goals in 12 playoff games.   So why is Smith-Pelly still sitting at home without a contract for the 2014-15 season?   As a restricte [...]

What We’d Tell The Leafs

The list could easily have 100 items, but since the Toronto Star doesn’t give us 20 pages of space we started with 5:   The “summer of hockey analytics” continued on Tuesday, when the Leafs reportedly hired three shiny new additions to their analytics team. In light of the hirings the Star asked the Department of Hockey Analytics w [...]

Ian Cooper on Hockey Today (Sirius XM...


Spotlight on Radim Vrbata

The free agent sweepstakes kick off in less than two weeks, and already pundits are guessing which players will find new homes and which will re-up with their existing teams.   Among available forwards, there are some big names: Thomas Vanek, Marian Gaborik, Paul Stastny and Jarome Iginla, to name a few.   Each comes with some quest [...]

Free Agent Bargains Part II: Benoit ...

Originally published June 26, 2014 Last week we pointed out that a team looking for a steal in the free agent market should snap up Radim Vrbata if they could get him for anything like his 2013-14 salary of $3,000,000. Benoit Pouliot might be an even better buy. At first glance, Pouliot’s numbers are solid but unexceptional. Over the past thr [...]

Drafting by Position: The difficulty ...

At last week’s 2014 Entry Draft, Aaron Ekblad became the first defenseman to go first overall since Erik Johnson in 2006. Since the NHL began its draft in 1963, only 13 defensemen have been picked first overall. The first was Barry Gibbs in 1966 (and no, he did not later go on to found The Bee Gees). Then in the mid-‘90s defensemen became mor [...]

Who’s The Playoff MVP?

Picking the Conn Smythe winner doesn’t exactly require a crystal ball. 25 of the last 30 winners have been the Cup winner’s goalie or top scorer. Almost by definition, then, fancy stats don’t play much (any) role in the selection.   But if they did, who should win this year?   Let’s start with the assumption that the Conn Smythe win [...]

More on the Kings and Rangers

In this week’s column in the Toronto Star (http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/2014/06/05/stanley_cup_jonathan_quick_has_been_awful_in_nhl_playoffs_for_la_kings_analytics_show.html), we focused on the goaltending matchup between Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist in this year’s final.   The chart below (to access it, copy the link into [...]

Defense Wins Championships (well . . ...

Below is this week’s article for the Toronto Star, and at the bottom is a link to the pertinent regression results.  I think the article more or less speaks for itself, but I did want to add a couple of additional thoughts. First, even though the data set included all Finals and Semi-finals since 1980, it’s still a relatively smal [...]

The Star: Possession is 3/4 of the pl...

One of the central battlegrounds between the fancy-stat set and hockey traditionalists is “puck possession.”  Most practitioners of hockey analytics believe that puck possession – as measured indirectly by stats that look at shot attempt differential – are powerful predictors of performance.  The traditionalists tend to focus more on such thi [...]