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04-24-2014, 09:02 PM
Cheesehead Pred
jwhouk's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Wisconsin
Country: United States
Posts: 5,049
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Something bothered me enough that I decided to do some research. I recently (re)purchased Strat Hockey for Windows, along with a copy of the 2011-12 NHL season. (The abbreviated 2013 season came with the game.)

I did some playing around with the rosters, under the assumption that the loss of Suter was the main reason why the Preds declined so much in 2013. After playing three "baseline" seasons - no changes, just the rosters as presented in SOMH - I played three scenarios to see what would happen in terms of the Preds' performance:

1. Suter stays, Weber goes off to Philly.
2. Both leave (and the del Zotto trade happens a year earlier).
3. Both stay.

Now, for one, each of the three simulations had a quirk in that one of the three seasons was better than the actual Preds did (in all but the Both Leave scenario, the SOM Preds won 20 over 48 games at least once). I suspect that this may have been cases where the shootout went the Preds' way more often than it actually did in '13.

What the eye-opener was in all this was this: in all four simulation groups, the team performed worse than as-is if Suter stayed. That's in both the Weber leaves and Both Stay scenarios.

So I suspect it was something else besides just Suter that caused us to go into a tailspin. Thus begun phase two of the research project: comparing the 2012 Preds to the 2013 squad on a more direct basis.

Perusing, the Preds had 22 players who played in both seasons, 15 that played in 2012 only (including, of course, Suter) and 12 in 2013 only. Using their Points Shares method of measuring player performance, the 22 returnees had a combined 82.6 point share in 2012, and a 36.5 PS in 2013 - which translates to 62.4 over an 82-game season. That translates to a 20.2 point difference between two seasons.

Suter's Point Share for 2012 was 9.2, so you would think that his was a major reason for the drop in the standings. However, just taking away Suter's 9.2 from the team total in 2012 puts them 23.1 points ahead of the 2013 squad's (adjusted) totals.

When I did a line-up of our carry-over players, the two most obvious reasons for our demise in 2013 came rising to the top: Martin Erat's huge drop-off in 2013 and Pekka's injury cost us a total of 8.8 point shares between the two. Sergei "I Give Up" Kostitsyn cost us 4 more points. Hornqvist and his injury issues cost us another 4 points - and there's 16.8 points that went down the drain over two years.

That wasn't it, though. Four players failed to help take up the slack between the four listed above and Suter's loss: Bobby Butler, Rich "I am not Tootoo" Clune, Taylor Beck, and Chris Mason. Mason was a 1.4 point difference over Lindback; Clune was 0.6 points worse than Tootoo; a full season of Bobby Butler was a tenth of a point worse than a partial season of Andrei Kostitsyn; and Beck wasn't even close to taking over Radulov's role.

I contend that Suter's absence from the lineup wouldn't have meant much if the big four hadn't decided to take huge drops in performance over the shortened season - and the four "replacements" had proven to be at least adequate compared to the skates they were filling.

I may, if I get some time and energy, do a simulation of 2013 based on the four key players' 2012 stats, to try to confirm my suspicions that it wasn't (just) Suter.

Anyways: TL,DR version - Suter wasn't why we sucked in 2013. That was more on Rinne and Horny being injured, and Erat and SK74 not caring.

UPDATE: I played three additional simulated seasons using Erat, Rinne, Kostitsyn and Hornqvist's 2012 stats. Guess what - all three seasons the Preds made the playoffs.

Last edited by jwhouk: 04-24-2014 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Updated (3 additional season replays)
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