Is there an equivalent of a "Moneyball" for the NHL?
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04-26-2009, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Originally Posted by
I agree that hockey isn't as easily statistically modeled as baseball but I don't think that the fundamental argument of Moneyball is in stats. Rather, the book is about finding undervalued assets.
If you look at the method used by Billy Beane in Moneyball, you'll see that most teams have adapted similar methods with great success and now it's all over the league so the strategy is no longer as effective. If you look at the Oakland A's roster this year though, you'll find that they have a lot of players with proven track records (Giambi, Garciappara, Chavez) but have been discounted by other teams because of their injury histories so the philosophy is still the same, just the method is different. That said, the A's are in last place in their division so maybe that method isn't very effective.
I think hockey is more comparable to football in that a player's effectiveness is somewhat dependent on the type of system they play in. Teams like the Colts and Patriots always seem to find impact players despite picking late in the draft while perennial losers like the Lions have a decade worth of busts despite picking in the top 10 almost every year.
I would say the Red Sox are the best example of Moneyball with money to spend. They look for the same things the A's do, except that they can pay for them if they have higher prices.
The problem isn't that the A's philosophy doesn't work, it's that the assets they seek have become valuable on the marketplace and have moved beyond their price range. Plus, it is nearly impossible for Billy Beane to make a trade anymore because if he calls asking for a player, the other team is going to up its asking price automatically.
I don't think it's so much system in the case of the football teams. The Colts start with the best QB in the game, and work from there. Manning makes so many players better because he can thread a needle. The Patriots are similar in that they start with Tom Brady, who was a real good college QB. He didn't "meet" the metrics for a high draft pick, he can just play football. Both teams have struggled when good players have been hurt.
I would liken the Denver Broncos under Mike Shanahan more towards what you were saying. Because of their cut blocking schemes, they can put basically anyone back there and have a 1,000 yard rusher.
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