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Adjusted stats - how valuable?

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11-07-2012, 05:20 PM
  #226
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Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
Got to disagree with you there: Howe and Richard played when talent was distilled down to six teams. One can make a valid point about how players from Europe increased the talent pool, but you have to qualify that with the fact that that talent has been spread over five times as many teams which pretty much makes it a wash.
The competition for rankings and awards is dependent primarily on the total NHL talent pool (in particular the top end of that pool), not the average amount of talent per team. If you condensed today's NHL to 6 teams, it wouldn't change the competition for rankings and awards much. However, those players who were good enough to "make the cut" (and these are the types we usually discuss) would have a much greater chance at winning a Cup each season. Either way, there's a much larger NHL talent pool over the past 2-3 decades than there was in Howe/Richard's O6 days.

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11-07-2012, 05:27 PM
  #227
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
The competition for rankings and awards is dependent primarily on the total NHL talent pool (in particular the top end of that pool), not the average amount of talent per team. If you condensed today's NHL to 6 teams, it wouldn't change the competition for rankings and awards much. However, those players who were good enough to "make the cut" (and these are the types we usually discuss) would have a much greater chance at winning a Cup each season. Either way, there's a much larger NHL talent pool over the past 2-3 decades than there was in Howe/Richard's O6 days.
Are we ranking players by how many cups they won? Because I certainly don't. One COULD make a case for that with goaltenders but even then I don't put that much stock in it. Teams win cups. I don't put that much stock in awards either, other than maybe Selkes as there really isn't any good measurement that I've seen for defensive play.

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11-07-2012, 05:27 PM
  #228
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Originally Posted by habsfanatics View Post
The defenders usually substitute you don't agree with "you don't understand". I understand fine, I also understand that when discussing the top 1% certain things don't apply.
When someone demonstrates an apparent lack of understanding of the basic concepts of adjusted stats, it's much more difficult to take their opinion seriously.

Also, some critics of adjusted stats appear more interested in maintaining their (and others') lack of understanding and/or in derailing the discussion toward confusing, unproductive tangents.

However, there are legitimate criticisms of adjusted stats when trying to compare the quality the production of different players in different seasons. I believe more progress can be made in identifying the most important complicating factors, studying them, and properly quantifying them in a way that allows for further adjustment in a fair manner.

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11-07-2012, 05:39 PM
  #229
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
The competition for rankings and awards is dependent primarily on the total NHL talent pool (in particular the top end of that pool), not the average amount of talent per team. If you condensed today's NHL to 6 teams, it wouldn't change the competition for rankings and awards much. However, those players who were good enough to "make the cut" (and these are the types we usually discuss) would have a much greater chance at winning a Cup each season. Either way, there's a much larger NHL talent pool over the past 2-3 decades than there was in Howe/Richard's O6 days.
But having a talent pool 2-3 times the size doesn't mean there are going to be 2-3 times as many Howe/Richards in the league either.
It only means there's a better CHANCE we could.

Just like today. I have no issue with the statement that the NHL has a bigger talent base and that the average player today is more talented than the average player 25 years ago.
That still doesn't mean the most talented players today are better than the most talented players from then.
It just means there's a better chance of there being another Gretzky or Lemieux, or that there will be a lot more players equal to Yzerman or Sakic but that obviously hasn't happened yet so it's not about the %'s or size of the pool.


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11-07-2012, 05:47 PM
  #230
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
When someone demonstrates an apparent lack of understanding of the basic concepts of adjusted stats, it's much more difficult to take their opinion seriously.
Just like when someone demonstrates an apparent lack of understanding of the basic concepts of common sense.
Someone who understands AS's and blindly values them above everything is just as bad as someone who doesn't understand AS's and blindly puts raw stats or the eye test above everything else.

Again! It's not about Adjusted stats vs everything else.
It should be Adjusted Stats plus everything else.

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11-07-2012, 06:09 PM
  #231
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Originally Posted by Taco MacArthur View Post
It's not fair to paint all people with the same brush here (as in "the defenders"...).

Particularly when there are a fair number of detractors who will say "I don't care what your numbers say, I know what I saw and I'm not changing my mind." That's a pretty quick conversation ender.
You're right and it certainly doesn't help further the discussion. No harm was meant. It was just a case of me lacking a better term. I certainly didn't mean to put down those who have put time and effort into this and do some excellent work, I didn't mean for it to come off that way.

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11-07-2012, 06:18 PM
  #232
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Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
Are we ranking players by how many cups they won? Because I certainly don't. One COULD make a case for that with goaltenders but even then I don't put that much stock in it. Teams win cups. I don't put that much stock in awards either, other than maybe Selkes as there really isn't any good measurement that I've seen for defensive play.
I think cup counting does happen a bit too much as well. Some players with similar careers get elevated based on leadership, cups ect. Personally, I find the posters here generally make the distinction. Most consider Bourque top 2-5dman despite not winning a cup until his days with Colorado, likewise, not many even consider Chris Osgood worthy of the hall of fame.

I don't like holding one player responsible for team success, but it could be considered for all time rankings of similar players and used as a tilting point for relatively equal players.

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11-07-2012, 06:18 PM
  #233
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Originally Posted by habsfanatics View Post
You're right and it certainly doesn't help further the discussion. No harm was meant. It was just a case of me lacking a better term. I certainly didn't mean to put down those who have put time and effort into this and do some excellent work, I didn't mean for it to come off that way.
Not a big deal (and I understand). Thanks!

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11-07-2012, 06:23 PM
  #234
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
But having a talent pool 2-3 times the size doesn't mean there are going to be 2-3 times as many Howe/Richards in the league either.
It only means there's a better CHANCE we could.

Just like today. I have no issue with the statement that the NHL has a bigger talent base and that the average player today is more talented than the average player 25 years ago.
That still doesn't mean the most talented players today are better than the most talented players from then.
It just means there's a better chance of there being another Gretzky or Lemieux, or that there will be a lot more players equal to Yzerman or Sakic but that obviously hasn't happened yet so it's not about the %'s or size of the pool.
I agree with this, but I tend to think that the creativity of the newer players with the focus on team defense and systems isn't as strong as it has been in the past. With the current preaching of system and focus on not making a mistake to win games, I don't think it's a reach to say there may never be someone as talented as Orr, Gretzky or Lemieux ever again.

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11-07-2012, 06:23 PM
  #235
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
But having a talent pool 2-3 times the size doesn't mean there are going to be 2-3 times as many Howe/Richards in the league either.
It only means there's a better CHANCE we could.

Just like today. I have no issue with the statement that the NHL has a bigger talent base and that the average player today is more talented than the average player 25 years ago.
That still doesn't mean the most talented players today are better than the most talented players from then.
Yes, you are correct, it's a matter of probability. If the talent pool is 4x as large as 60 years ago, then if you took the best 2 players from 60 years ago, the odds are there would be ~8 in a more recent season. Maybe there would only be 3 or 4 of that quality... and maybe there would be a dozen or 20 of that quality. However, what is quite improbable is that there would be the same or fewer of that quality with 4x the talent pool.

I think a lot of it has to do with the "aura" surrounding some of the earliest stars of the post-WWII NHL, playing on stacked teams which were consistently Cup contenders (by nature of the much smaller league), who could dominate a much smaller talent pool. The smaller league also limits ice time & PP time to a much smaller group of forwards, which basically means only the top 30 or so forwards had any real chance at high rankings and awards in those O6 seasons.

Think about this: Randomly cut the NHL's talent to 1/4 of its present level. Then condense the remaining 1/4 to 6 teams. The top players remaining would have a much easier time dominating the remaining competition.

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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
It just means there's a better chance of there being another Gretzky or Lemieux, or that there will be a lot more players equal to Yzerman or Sakic but that obviously hasn't happened yet so it's not about the %'s or size of the pool.
Players like Gretzky and Lemieux are going to appear very infrequently and seemingly randomly, because there are so few (if any) other players of that quality. I don't think Sakic or Yzerman are that unique as far as peak/prime adjusted production. There are other players who were in the same range of career adjusted production as well. It's the combination of peak/prime and career that sets them apart, but there will certainly be more players at/above their level IMO. Besides Jagr, who was at a higher level, the closest to matching both their peak/prime and career adjusted production is probably Selanne. He's still (hopefully) still playing and didn't start to play in the NHL until he was 22, so I'd say he's about the equivalent of Sakic & Yzerman in terms of peak/prime and career production (but most would rank them significantly above Selanne based on playoffs, defense, leadership, etc.). The other player with similar peak/prime production who could end up with similar career adjusted numbers is Thornton (who also shares a relatively mediocre playoff record with Selanne), but he'll have to play several more seasons to do so.

Sakic and Yzerman didn't end their careers that long ago, so we must give it time to see who will emerge as the next at their level. It will probably be whichever of Malkin, Crosby and Ovechkin can sustain a long, productive career, as the other contemporary equivalents of Sakic & Yzerman (Lindros, Forsberg) were not able to do so. The difference between Sakic & Yzerman and some other great forwards has more to do with longevity, team success and perceived intangibles than their objective peak/prime production being significantly superior to their potential rivals.

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11-07-2012, 07:00 PM
  #236
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
Players like Gretzky and Lemieux are going to appear very infrequently and seemingly randomly, because there are so few (if any) other players of that quality. I don't think Sakic or Yzerman are that unique as far as peak/prime adjusted production. There are other players who were in the same range of career adjusted production as well. It's the combination of peak/prime and career that sets them apart, but there will certainly be more players at/above their level IMO. Besides Jagr, who was at a higher level, the closest to matching both their peak/prime and career adjusted production is probably Selanne. He's still (hopefully) still playing and didn't start to play in the NHL until he was 22, so I'd say he's about the equivalent of Sakic & Yzerman in terms of peak/prime and career production (but most would rank them significantly above Selanne based on playoffs, defense, leadership, etc.). The other player with similar peak/prime production who could end up with similar career adjusted numbers is Thornton (who also shares a relatively mediocre playoff record with Selanne), but he'll have to play several more seasons to do so.

Sakic and Yzerman didn't end their careers that long ago, so we must give it time to see who will emerge as the next at their level. It will probably be whichever of Malkin, Crosby and Ovechkin can sustain a long, productive career, as the other contemporary equivalents of Sakic & Yzerman (Lindros, Forsberg) were not able to do so. The difference between Sakic & Yzerman and some other great forwards has more to do with longevity, team success and perceived intangibles than their objective peak/prime production being significantly superior to their potential rivals.
Maybe I wasn't clear.
I wasn't saying that there wouldn't be any players like Yzerman or Sakic.
What I was saying is that a doubling or tripling of the talent base does not mean it would double or triple the amount of Yzerman/Sakic level players.

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11-08-2012, 12:18 AM
  #237
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Originally Posted by habsfanatics View Post
I agree with this, but I tend to think that the creativity of the newer players with the focus on team defense and systems isn't as strong as it has been in the past. With the current preaching of system and focus on not making a mistake to win games, I don't think it's a reach to say there may never be someone as talented as Orr, Gretzky or Lemieux ever again.
The creativity of players has not diminished as the league has become more defensively oriented. They are just not as easily able to show their talent or creativity as they are afforded less time and space by the well-executed systems of today coupled with the narrowing of the gap between upper and lower end players. It has nothing to do with the elite players being trained to be more risk-averse, instead it is that they often simply don't have room to make any play other than what the defense gives them. This is why it is becoming harder for truly elite players to stand out.

For example, women's soccer often appears to be more free flowing and offensive than the men's game so at times it can look like the women are more skilled. This is not because women soccer players are more talented, it is because the gulf between the defensive abilties between men's and women's soccer is much, much greater than the offensive one. This is obviously not the same as the different eras in hockey, but definitely has some similarities to the changes between the high-scoring 80s and the lower scoring NHL of the past decade and a half.

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11-08-2012, 01:24 AM
  #238
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Originally Posted by bambamcam4ever View Post
The creativity of players has not diminished as the league has become more defensively oriented. They are just not as easily able to show their talent or creativity as they are afforded less time and space by the well-executed systems of today coupled with the narrowing of the gap between upper and lower end players. It has nothing to do with the elite players being trained to be more risk-averse, instead it is that they often simply don't have room to make any play other than what the defense gives them. This is why it is becoming harder for truly elite players to stand out.
Agreed. I just don't see Gretzky (or anyone else)today winning scoring titles by nearly the margins that he did in the 80s. There's just too much competition and the narrowing (compression) of the gap between the top and marginal players. However, I can envision the best players of the past 20 years playing in the 80s and scoring 150+ points in their peak seasons, when defenses were thin, disorganized and relied on goalies laden with small, heavy pads stood up and motioned at the puck with their legs (okay, I exaggerate slightly ).

Does Malkin have more offensive and defensive skill than your typical top 3 player from years gone by? Not significantly so IMO. Does the average lower line player today have more offensive and defensive skill than in the 70s or 80s? Definitely. What's he going to use that additional skill for? He's going to score more himself and/or help prevent top liners from scoring as much as they otherwise would. The former raises the league gpg without helping the top line player... the latter hurts the top line player. How does this combination suggest that lower line players are going to be hurt more than top line players in terms of adjusted points in an environment with compressed talent (talent pool which increases faster than league size)? It doesn't, it suggests the opposite. Compressed talent tends to lower scoring and diluted talent tends to increase scoring. I believe the compressed talent has led to the scoring decreases and has also made it more difficult for top players to stand out (e.g. in adjusted points) as well.

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11-08-2012, 12:04 PM
  #239
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
Agreed. I just don't see Gretzky (or anyone else)today winning scoring titles by nearly the margins that he did in the 80s. There's just too much competition and the narrowing (compression) of the gap between the top and marginal players. However, I can envision the best players of the past 20 years playing in the 80s and scoring 150+ points in their peak seasons, when defenses were thin, disorganized and relied on goalies laden with small, heavy pads stood up and motioned at the puck with their legs (okay, I exaggerate slightly ).

Does Malkin have more offensive and defensive skill than your typical top 3 player from years gone by? Not significantly so IMO. Does the average lower line player today have more offensive and defensive skill than in the 70s or 80s? Definitely. What's he going to use that additional skill for? He's going to score more himself and/or help prevent top liners from scoring as much as they otherwise would. The former raises the league gpg without helping the top line player... the latter hurts the top line player. How does this combination suggest that lower line players are going to be hurt more than top line players in terms of adjusted points in an environment with compressed talent (talent pool which increases faster than league size)? It doesn't, it suggests the opposite. Compressed talent tends to lower scoring and diluted talent tends to increase scoring. I believe the compressed talent has led to the scoring decreases and has also made it more difficult for top players to stand out (e.g. in adjusted points) as well.
I wonder, though, just how "compressed" the talent really is. The talent pool has grown with the influx of European players but the league has grown in size right along with it. It seems to me that expansion in the 90s for all intents and purposes has mitigated the effects of the growing talent pool so that while there are more top players now courtesy of the larger talent pool they are spread across more teams resulting in that the proportion of top talent players versus lesser talent players per team has remained effectively the same.

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11-08-2012, 01:16 PM
  #240
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I wonder, though, just how "compressed" the talent really is. The talent pool has grown with the influx of European players but the league has grown in size right along with it. It seems to me that expansion in the 90s for all intents and purposes has mitigated the effects of the growing talent pool so that while there are more top players now courtesy of the larger talent pool they are spread across more teams resulting in that the proportion of top talent players versus lesser talent players per team has remained effectively the same.
Yes, it's difficult to say. Perhaps it's a wash, but I tend to believe there has been some compression of talent over the last ~35 years. Here is my general view (educated guess) as to how the NHL talent per team has changed since WWII:

before/during WWII- a relatively low population with often > 6 teams, which is then further diluted by WWII

late 40s to mid-50s- some players return from war, population increases, and talent per team roughly matches previous levels

mid-50s to early 60s- increase in roster size offsets continued population growth, so talent per team is diluted then makes it way back to roughly previous levels

60s- population increases further, and in the last few years before expansion, the talent really becomes compressed

late 60s to mid-70s- population increases further still, but massive and repeated expansion, as well as the WHA, serve to substantially dilute the talent per team

late 70s to mid-80s- NHL stops expanding, contract by one team, then absorbs WHA, while population continues to increase, all of which negate much of the previous dilution since expansion

mid-late 80s- Europeans trickle in further, and US becomes a significant source of talent again, which combined with lack of expansion further compresses talent

90s to present- hockey-age population seems to peak, while there is large influx of Euros/Russians... much of this is offset by expansion

Perhaps the overall talent per team is similar to the mid-late 80s, but I still tend to believe that there is more talent per team at the top. There were 21 teams then and 30 teams now, so the new talent would have to be ~30% of the current NHL for it to be roughly the same. The overall representation of US/Euro players probably hovers around that 30% mark, while the increase in their representation at the top has done so as well. Of course it varies by year and position. For instance, in the mid-late 90s, the top tiers of scoring forwards saw an increase of more than 30 percentage points, while expansion was still being completed (so the benchmark would be < 30%). Meanwhile, goalie representation was much less than 30% during that time. Since the lockout, top forwards have dipped under the 30% mark, while goalies have easily surpassed that level.

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11-08-2012, 01:17 PM
  #241
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
Agreed. I just don't see Gretzky (or anyone else)today winning scoring titles by nearly the margins that he did in the 80s. There's just too much competition and the narrowing (compression) of the gap between the top and marginal players. However, I can envision the best players of the past 20 years playing in the 80s and scoring 150+ points in their peak seasons, when defenses were thin, disorganized and relied on goalies laden with small, heavy pads stood up and motioned at the puck with their legs (okay, I exaggerate slightly ).

Does Malkin have more offensive and defensive skill than your typical top 3 player from years gone by? Not significantly so IMO. Does the average lower line player today have more offensive and defensive skill than in the 70s or 80s? Definitely. What's he going to use that additional skill for? He's going to score more himself and/or help prevent top liners from scoring as much as they otherwise would. The former raises the league gpg without helping the top line player... the latter hurts the top line player. How does this combination suggest that lower line players are going to be hurt more than top line players in terms of adjusted points in an environment with compressed talent (talent pool which increases faster than league size)? It doesn't, it suggests the opposite. Compressed talent tends to lower scoring and diluted talent tends to increase scoring. I believe the compressed talent has led to the scoring decreases and has also made it more difficult for top players to stand out (e.g. in adjusted points) as well.
See, this is where common sense takes over.
First of all, you're not taking a modern player back to the 80's with modern training or modern equipment.
Second, a 36 year old Mario, once recovered from Cancer, with a bad back can still be so far above everyone else in the middle of the DPE.
Third, Gretzky, as a former shadow of himself at 36-37, also with a bad back is still about a 100 point player and in the top 5 of league scoring.
Fourth, I was there when Yzerman scored 155 and It was an almost magical season for him. I'm sorry but the only person I have seen today capable of reproducing that magic is Sidney Crosby now and Jagr of the mid 90's-early 2000's.
And of course fifth, because Jagr(who is no Gretzky or Lemieux) wasn't winning scoring titles by ridiculous margins or by only playing 3/4's of the season only about a decade or so ago right


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11-08-2012, 01:37 PM
  #242
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
Yes, it's difficult to say. Perhaps it's a wash, but I tend to believe there has been some compression of talent over the last ~35 years. Here is my general view (educated guess) as to how the NHL talent per team has changed since WWII:

before/during WWII- a relatively low population with often > 6 teams, which is then further diluted by WWII

late 40s to mid-50s- some players return from war, population increases, and talent per team roughly matches previous levels

mid-50s to early 60s- increase in roster size offsets continued population growth, so talent per team is diluted then makes it way back to roughly previous levels

60s- population increases further, and in the last few years before expansion, the talent really becomes compressed

late 60s to mid-70s- population increases further still, but massive and repeated expansion, as well as the WHA, serve to substantially dilute the talent per team

late 70s to mid-80s- NHL stops expanding, contract by one team, then absorbs WHA, while population continues to increase, all of which negate much of the previous dilution since expansion

mid-late 80s- Europeans trickle in further, and US becomes a significant source of talent again, which combined with lack of expansion further compresses talent

90s to present- hockey-age population seems to peak, while there is large influx of Euros/Russians... much of this is offset by expansion

Perhaps the overall talent per team is similar to the mid-late 80s, but I still tend to believe that there is more talent per team at the top. There were 21 teams then and 30 teams now, so the new talent would have to be ~30% of the current NHL for it to be roughly the same. The overall representation of US/Euro players probably hovers around that 30% mark, while the increase in their representation at the top has done so as well. Of course it varies by year and position. For instance, in the mid-late 90s, the top tiers of scoring forwards saw an increase of more than 30 percentage points, while expansion was still being completed (so the benchmark would be < 30%). Meanwhile, goalie representation was much less than 30% during that time. Since the lockout, top forwards have dipped under the 30% mark, while goalies have easily surpassed that level.
Ok, that sounds reasonable. Any chance of a study being done on it? I'd seriously like to read through it if one gets done.

As an aside, in an appendage to his book "The Game", Ken Dryden posted numbers regarding how many kids are playing lower-level hockey (ie the talent pool the pros draw from) as of 2003:

Canada: 532,000
United States: 425,000
Sweden: 63,000
Czech Republic: 50,000
Finland: 45,000
Russia: 40,000

Now Dryden doesn't provide a footnote for his source for the data, but taking it at face value, is there any way that it can be shown just how much the talent pool has grown in proportion to how much the NHL has expanded?

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11-08-2012, 02:14 PM
  #243
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Ok, that sounds reasonable. Any chance of a study being done on it? I'd seriously like to read through it if one gets done.

As an aside, in an appendage to his book "The Game", Ken Dryden posted numbers regarding how many kids are playing lower-level hockey (ie the talent pool the pros draw from) as of 2003:

Canada: 532,000
United States: 425,000
Sweden: 63,000
Czech Republic: 50,000
Finland: 45,000
Russia: 40,000

Now Dryden doesn't provide a footnote for his source for the data, but taking it at face value, is there any way that it can be shown just how much the talent pool has grown in proportion to how much the NHL has expanded?
I think those numbers are relevant to the talent pool, thanks for that info. One complication is that in countries like Russia and Czech Rep. participation may (at least at some time) have been limited to the most promising players in comparison to countries like the US and Canada.

Here is a relatively simple study I did:

Estimating NHL Available Talent Pool Over Time

I could have fleshed out the details more, but the basic assumption is that by using the Canadian % representation in the NHL and the Canadian hockey-age population, we can infer the effective non-Canadian hockey-age population that is available from the non-Canadian % representation. I used goalies and top tier scorers, because it's more likely that they are fully represented in the NHL (i.e. there may be less incentive for more marginal talents and/or their potential NHL teams to create an NHL opportunity for those players... and may be less scouting/info to properly evaluate and justify such an opportunity). A simplified example (there were other assumptions) would be that if there were 3 million male Canadians of hockey-age and Canada had 60% representation in the NHL, then the non-Canadian representation of 40% could be inferred to have derived from an effective non-Canadian population of ~2 million hockey-age males.

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11-08-2012, 02:19 PM
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I think those numbers are relevant to the talent pool, thanks for that info. One complication is that in countries like Russia and Czech Rep. participation may (at least at some time) have been limited to the most promising players in comparison to countries like the US and Canada.

Here is a relatively simple study I did:

Estimating NHL Available Talent Pool Over Time

I could have fleshed out the details more, but the basic assumption is that by using the Canadian % representation in the NHL and the Canadian hockey-age population, we can infer the effective non-Canadian hockey-age population that is available from the non-Canadian % representation. I used goalies and top tier scorers, because it's more likely that they are fully represented in the NHL (i.e. there may be less incentive for more marginal talents and/or their potential NHL teams to create an NHL opportunity for those players... and may be less scouting/info to properly evaluate and justify such an opportunity). A simplified example (there were other assumptions) would be that if there were 3 million male Canadians of hockey-age and Canada had 60% representation in the NHL, then the non-Canadian representation of 40% could be inferred to have derived from an effective non-Canadian population of ~2 million hockey-age males.
Excellent. I'm going to study that thread right now thank you.

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11-08-2012, 02:29 PM
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See, this is where common sense takes over.
First of all, you're not taking a modern player back to the 80's with modern training or modern equipment.
I didn't mean that at all. Perhaps the average or 4th line player hasn't substantially improved since the 80s, maybe it's an illusion, it's difficult to say. I may have been hasty in agreeing with that conclusion.

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Second, a 36 year old Mario, once recovered from Cancer, with a bad back can still be so far above everyone else in the middle of the DPE.
Better than everyone but Jagr... for a half season... after resting for 3.5 seasons. That's incredible, but not entirely surprising, given how far above almost every other player Lemieux was.

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Third, Gretzky, as a former shadow of himself at 36-37, also with a bad back is still about a 100 point player and in the top 5 of league scoring.
Again, Gretzky had a large gap between him and almost every other player, so he could decline substantially and still be among the best. If it wasn't for the European players, his decline would have appeared to be even less in comparison to his contemporaries.

I'm sort of missing the point of the fact that Gretzky (and at times, Lemieux) could still be very productive later in their careers... what does this suggest to you?

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Fourth, I was there when Yzerman scored 155 and It was an almost magical season for him. I'm sorry but the only person I have seen today capable of reproducing that magic is Sidney Crosby now and Jagr of the mid 90's-early 2000's.
That certainly was a magical season. However, when I speak of "peak" production, I generally mean 3-5 seasons, which is enough to establish a peak level IMO.


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And of course fifth, because Jagr (who is no Gretzky or Lemieux) wasn't winning scoring titles by ridiculous margins or by only playing 3/4's of the season only about a decade or so ago right
It's only slowly dawned on many people in recent years just how good Jagr has been. It's a tough act to follow Gretzky and Lemieux, and to play in Lemieux's shadow for a while as well. I think it was almost presumed that another player would come along and dominate the league like Jagr... but it hasn't happened (yet). It should be remembered that Jagr's peak/prime (and ofc career) adjusted even strength production was on a similar level as Lemieux's (better actually, although Lemieux might have the edge on a per-game basis). After Gretzky & Lemieux, the only player with close to Jagr's peak/prime adjusted point production is Espo, who played with Orr in a very diluted league (which deceptively lowered the league gpg). If Gretzky and Lemieux were gods, then Jagr was a demi-god, while Sakic & Yzerman are more "the best mortals can hope to attain."

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11-08-2012, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
I think those numbers are relevant to the talent pool, thanks for that info. One complication is that in countries like Russia and Czech Rep. participation may (at least at some time) have been limited to the most promising players in comparison to countries like the US and Canada.

Here is a relatively simple study I did:

Estimating NHL Available Talent Pool Over Time

I could have fleshed out the details more, but the basic assumption is that by using the Canadian % representation in the NHL and the Canadian hockey-age population, we can infer the effective non-Canadian hockey-age population that is available from the non-Canadian % representation. I used goalies and top tier scorers, because it's more likely that they are fully represented in the NHL (i.e. there may be less incentive for more marginal talents and/or their potential NHL teams to create an NHL opportunity for those players... and may be less scouting/info to properly evaluate and justify such an opportunity). A simplified example (there were other assumptions) would be that if there were 3 million male Canadians of hockey-age and Canada had 60% representation in the NHL, then the non-Canadian representation of 40% could be inferred to have derived from an effective non-Canadian population of ~2 million hockey-age males.
A fascinating study that certainly deserves expanding on. I don't have the mathematics background break down the actual processes involved so I immediately go to summations to see what it shows.

Definitely an area I'd like to see explored further.

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11-08-2012, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
I didn't mean that at all. Perhaps the average or 4th line player hasn't substantially improved since the 80s, maybe it's an illusion, it's difficult to say. I may have been hasty in agreeing with that conclusion.



Better than everyone but Jagr... for a half season... after resting for 3.5 seasons. That's incredible, but not entirely surprising, given how far above almost every other player Lemieux was.



Again, Gretzky had a large gap between him and almost every other player, so he could decline substantially and still be among the best. If it wasn't for the European players, his decline would have appeared to be even less in comparison to his contemporaries.

I'm sort of missing the point of the fact that Gretzky (and at times, Lemieux) could still be very productive later in their careers... what does this suggest to you?



That certainly was a magical season. However, when I speak of "peak" production, I generally mean 3-5 seasons, which is enough to establish a peak level IMO.




It's only slowly dawned on many people in recent years just how good Jagr has been. It's a tough act to follow Gretzky and Lemieux, and to play in Lemieux's shadow for a while as well. I think it was almost presumed that another player would come along and dominate the league like Jagr... but it hasn't happened (yet). It should be remembered that Jagr's peak/prime (and ofc career) adjusted even strength production was on a similar level as Lemieux's (better actually, although Lemieux might have the edge on a per-game basis). After Gretzky & Lemieux, the only player with close to Jagr's peak/prime adjusted point production is Espo, who played with Orr in a very diluted league (which deceptively lowered the league gpg). If Gretzky and Lemieux were gods, then Jagr was a demi-god, while Sakic & Yzerman are more "the best mortals can hope to attain."
See...this is the kinda stuff I'm talking about.
You are still using Adjusted Stats as the only basis for the majority of your conclusions and arguments here. After everything that's been said in this thread, that is just R I D I C U L O U S!!!

You said that you believe the best players of the last 20 years could attain 150+ points in the 80's. I got news for ya, Stevie only did that 23 years ago and no one outside of #99, #66 or #68 had come close to that since. Not only that but I have not seen a player outside of those 3 and recently Crosby for half a season come close to matching the level of play Stevie attained in '89. I'm not talking about his points, I'm talking about the level of play he was on that season.

You said that Gretzky couldn't win scoring races by the margins he did in the 80's...AGAIN, Jagr is no Gretzky and Jagr was winning scoring races by ridiculous margins and that's only in the last decade.
Is Gretzky going to win a scoring race by 70 points? Prolly not but is Gretzky going to win scoring races by 40-50%? I'd bet my house on it!

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11-08-2012, 03:04 PM
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A fascinating study that certainly deserves expanding on. I don't have the mathematics background break down the actual processes involved so I immediately go to summations to see what it shows.

Definitely an area I'd like to see explored further.
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. It definitely can be improved upon and expanded, but I wanted to see the first step taken and show how we can use the available data to make some educated estimates for different periods. One can't say "there should be exactly 3.97 players of minimum quality Q for every 1 player of such quality Y years ago." However, one can say "there were probably 3-5x as many such players as Y years ago." That's the goal as I see it, to obtain the best estimate possible through reasoned math, not declare an exact number as gospel.

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11-08-2012, 03:15 PM
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You said that you believe the best players of the last 20 years could attain 150+ points in the 80's. I got news for ya, Stevie only did that 23 years ago and no one outside of #99, #66 or #68 had come close to that since.
If Bernie Nicholls could score ~150 points, then I'm pretty sure some others since could have done that in the 80s as well. Adjusted stats would suggest these players could have done it (and not just one season):

Definitely- Jagr
Probably- Sakic, Forsberg, Selanne, Lindros, Thornton, Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby...
Maybe- Bure, Kariya, etc.

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Not only that but I have not seen a player outside of those 3 and recently Crosby for half a season come close to matching the level of play Stevie attained in '89. I'm not talking about his points, I'm talking about the level of play he was on that season.
You may be right, but now you're talking about a much more subjective measure that is very difficult to (and so I won't) argue.

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You said that Gretzky couldn't win scoring races by the margins he did in the 80's...AGAIN, Jagr is no Gretzky and Jagr was winning scoring races by ridiculous margins and that's only in the last decade.
Is Gretzky going to win a scoring race by 70 points? Prolly not but is Gretzky going to win scoring races by 40-50%? I'd bet my house on it!
The margins went from completely ridiculous (Gretzky... and Lemieux when healthy) to substantial (Jagr) to close (more recent years). This is partly a function of the ability of those great players, and partly a function of the increased competition towards the top in the past two decades IMO. Adjusted stats would say ~40% (of the runner-up's total) is about right. I'd go with that number, at least until further proper relevant study is done.

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11-08-2012, 03:25 PM
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If Bernie Nicholls could score ~150 points, then I'm pretty sure some others since could have done that in the 80s as well. Adjusted stats would suggest these players could have done it (and not just one season):
Wow really? Still only using AS's to base your conclusions on eh? Whatever dude.
I mean forget the fact that Bossy couldn't do it or that incredibly talented European's like Stastny or Nilsson couldn't do it either.
Yeah, Adjusted Stats says it's possible so it must be.

But yeah, you're right, there are plenty of top players in the last 20 years that could of topped 150 points...IF they were playing with Gretzky

I would absolutely LOVE to hear the arguments or what adjusted stats says for how these top players would break 150 points playing with Gerrard Gallant and Paul MacLean???


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