Is there an equivalent of a "Moneyball" for the NHL?
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11-28-2012, 05:10 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Originally Posted by
I saw the movie Moneyball recently (fantastic movie if you haven't seen it) and I found it extremely interesting. It took a tremendous amount of ingenuity to rethink how construct a team and I wondered how this concept would be applied to hockey and if there already sabremetrics applied to it? In the movie, the talk about instead of buying wins, they should be buying runs. I would think that in hockey terms you would be buying goals? Few questions I guess would be:
How many goals would it take a reach the post season?
How many goals against could be allowed to reach the post season?
What actual statistics are the best indicators of producing goals?
I'm not much of a math person so forgive me. However I would have to think that puck possession would have the most positive correlation.
Indeed, hence the existence of possession stats such as Fenwick.
Fenwick is measured as the number of shots on goal and missed shots taken by a team, divided by the total number of shots on goal and missed shots taken (by both teams). A 100% Fenwick means that the other team didn't get any shots (implying that you pretty much had complete puck possession), and a 0% Fenwick means your team didn't get any shots. Pretty much all NHL teams have Fenwicks between 40% and 60%.
The idea is that increased puck possession leads to quality scoring chances, quality scoring chances lead to goals, goals lead to wins, and wins lead to championships.
Behindthenet is a great statistics website which tracks Fenwick and other "advanced" stats.
Stats probably aren't as useful in hockey as they are in baseball due to the fluid nature of the game (instead of the one person at a time, one pitch at a time in baseball). However, it isn't coincidence that since Behindthenet began tracking Fenwick in 2007, the top two teams in that stat were the 2008 Red Wings and 2010 Blackhawks.
The main weakness of Fenwick is that it doesn't measure the impact of goalies, who have the ability to neutralize great offences, and the impact of great defencemen who can limit the quality of opponent shots. Fenwick will therefore underestimate the performance of teams with great goalies and great defences, and overestimate the performance of teams with crap goalies and D. (for instance, the Bruins were a 50% Fenwick team in 2011, and the Predators were 2nd-last in Fenwick in 2012. Both these teams were much better than their Fenwick indicates.)
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