Philosophy of hockey Sabremetrics: Can hockey accurately be measured?
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10-14-2012, 04:32 PM
Join Date: May 2012
I find the statistical analysis of hockey fascinating. I think we're at a rudimentary level of understanding at this point. Corsi is IMO the best overall stat we have right now, it works very logically. Shots directed at the net are a good measure of puck possession, if you're directing the puck on net you have possession of the puck. Stats like PDO are a good way of looking into seasons that seem a little out of the ordinary, it also corresponds roughly with perceived quality of players, stars generally have a PDO of slightly above 1000, and less talented guys will regress closer to 1000 or slightly under. I also really like the Quality of Competition metric, it's useful when comparing players on the same team. As a Canadiens fan, it makes Subban's progression even more impressive, he faced very tough competition last year (although some would pin it on Gorges, I think both players contribute to that pairing's effectiveness pretty equally).
They're not be all and end all measurements either, but they provide a good rough outline of players. For example, Gomez's Corsi stats are still quite high, and it would be silly to assume that he should displace other forwards just on the basis of his Corsi numbers. It's a lot like the way we measure economics, it's impossible to completely quantify, but that doesn't mean it doesn't provide a good outlook and a way to measure a team or player's effectiveness. I think there has to be a middle ground, some guys almost exclusively look at advanced stats, and some guys completely throw them out. Most of the advanced metrics have a very logical background, but they can't quantify anything.
Hockey's a very fluid game, and it's not possible to entirely quantify it, but I really feel like we're just scratching the surface of this kind of analysis. The turning point will be when NHL teams start devoting resources to "moneypuck" staff. I think eventually there will be a stathead employed in every team's front office, and the possibilities are incredible. It's going to be cool to watch the field develop in the next few years.
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