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12-13-2012, 11:49 AM
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Throwing this out there - adjusted playoff stats

This is just a bit of an idea dump since we now have a place that qualifies as a wall for me to throw stuff at to see if it sticks.

For years I’ve been intrigued by the idea of an “adjusted playoff scoring” metric. I think pnep did one but I have no idea about the methodology behind it. Plus, like many adjusted systems, it still appears to result in a disproportionately high number of modern players in the career leaders.

The obvious thing that needs to be accounted for in adjusted playoff scoring is the league scoring level. That much is not debatable. But from there, there are many other issues:

- Other issues that are accounted for in regular season adjustments, like roster size and assists per goal,
- Competition level issues (strong teams always get to pile in the goals on weak teams for the first round or even two, the opposite for bubble teams)
- Team issues (being on a strong team for a long time will inflate one’s totals to an even more amplified degree than in the regular season, due to the above point)
- The number of series it takes to win the cup,
- The number of games you need to win, to win those series,
- The percentage of teams that make the playoffs

To create a season-by-season adjusted playoff point total for each player would be a complete mess, and I don’t even know how you account for the last point properly (using a downward adjustment for 80s teams and an upward adjustment for modern teams, yes, but how?) – so that concept is being thrown out, at least by me.

However, I think it’s possible to develop a reasonably reliable shorthand for career playoff points that can treat all eras equally and account for most of the above. The first thing that comes to mind is, all the above factors apply equally to all players whose careers occurred at the same time as eachother. So simply create a standard for adjustment based on the career playoff point totals of all players with birthdates within a certain range. The standard could be something as simple as the career total of the “xth” highest scorer in that range, with x being the average number of teams in the NHL when the players in the range were 20-35.

Example: Player A, born in 1930, had 100 playoff points. His “range” of years, then, is 1928-1932. He was 20-35 in the 1950-1965 seasons. The average number of teams in the NHL from 1950-1965 seasons was, of course, 6. So x = 6. The 6th-highest playoff scorer from the 1928-1932 range of birthdates had 80 career playoff points. Therefore, player A had 1.25 times as many points as the xth player.

From there we’d just need a constant to normalize from – perhaps 100? – and could say “player A has 125 adjusted playoff points.”

One flaw I thought of right away was that you’re bound to find a couple of weak spots in the birthdate ranges, particularly in earlier years when there were just not as many NHL players to smooth out the yearly ebbs and flows. For example, from 1920 – 1930 birthdates, you might find that the five year ranges have an “xth” highest playoff scorer of 80, 82, 68, 78, 79, 81, 83, 85, 84, 80. That 68 really stands out as a low number, indisating that for whatever reason that 1920-1924 range of birthdates in particular didn’t produce a player with a lot of playoff points (1922 itself could probably be blamed) and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be “smoothed out” to fit what appears to be a slow upward rise that could be substantiated with decades more data.

Anyway, I’ve had this thought in my brain for like 6 years now, and I’m just dusting it off now. What do you think? It basically takes something very complex and makes it simple, but does it make it TOO simple?

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