NHL’s draft lottery seems to help fight tanking

The season is approaching the three quarter mark, and two races are in full flight: the race to secure a playoff seed, and the race to secure a high draft pick. For fans of those teams clearly out of the former, losses are cheered perhaps more than wins as tanking is seen as the best […]

Dishonour for Connor: How the Lottery Has Affected Tanking

This week’s article in The Star looked at the effect that the draft lottery has had on the incentive for a team to intentionally try to be bad in order to get the top pick in the draft. The draft was instituted in 1963 as a way of sorting out how to bring amateur players […]

Sabres have best shot at Connor McDavid, analytics suggest

Now that we’re officially more than halfway into the season we’re starting to get a clearer picture of which teams are contenders and which are pretenders. However, there is still a lot of hockey left to play, and there will be a fair bit of movement up and down the standings. So what should we […]

Forecasting the Second Half

This week’s article in The Star looked at what information was most useful for predicting how teams will perform in the second half of the season. In a previous article, I considered how a team’s performance in several variables after 25 games was predictive of making the playoffs. Here, the prediction was not a simple […]

Depth: Seldom Defined, Possibly Overrated

Arguably the greatest contribution of hockey’s analytics revolution is its ability to subject longstanding articles of faith to cold hard logic.   Articles of faith have their appeal. Because if you say something often enough without thinking about it much, it eventually feels true.   Occasionally, even those who traffic in pure reason fall into […]

The Power of Puck Luck

“Puck luck” is real. And it’s powerful. In early December, when Calgary was riding a white hot 17-7-1 start, we wrote an article explaining that its success was nothing but smoke and mirrors. We pointed out that puck luck was duping just about everybody from Toronto to Timbuktu into believing that the Flames were an […]

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 […]