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The Contrarian visits Dagobah to tap Yoda for some Fantasy Hockey advice...

Sometimes I feel like Yoda. No I’m not short and green. I’m not dressed in a robe and use a cane. I am not as wise as him nor do I have the Force within me. There are times like today where I feel like him and in particular after reading Ryan Ma’s The Power of Numbers articles (part one, part two).

 

Ryan has put a lot of effort and time writing his two part piece yet there are elements in it where I want to say, as Yoda did to Luke, “you must unlearn what you have learned” or “hear you not what I say?”

 

From part one, “I still observe plenty of poolies on the forums who go by their ‘gut feel’ or other random non-data related justifications (‘skating mechanics’, ‘prior draft lineage’, ‘trust me I watch a lot of their games’ or ‘they're my favorite player’), the interesting thing with that is 300 years ago we would have called that witchcraft, in this day and age we anoint it as ‘justifiable opinion’. He goes on to add, “but what I want to see is tangible substance-based evidence to justify a point rather than someone who is out there just to make noise.”

 

We have all heard of the saying, usually attributed to Mark Twain, that “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”. With respect to Ryan’s point of view I suggest that his statistics are closer to pulling the wool over your eyes than discovering the miracle formula for hockey pool success.

 


Three key factors


Time on ice. Ryan states that one of the key statistical indicators for the point production of a player is time on ice. Basically, if a player plays a lot then he will get more points. It intuitively sounds good but maybe that is because the player gets points so his coach plays him a lot or maybe there isn’t anyone else to play so that player gets more ice time.

 

Where the stat fails is in understanding how the player earns more ice time. If we give Wayne Gretzky 25 minutes of ice time each game we would predict that he would get two or three points (heck maybe even 5 points when he was in his prime), but if we give Scott Gomez the same 25 minutes what should we expect from him? In recent years Gomez would be hard-pressed to get even one point.

 

To this same point, Gretzky playing on his version of the Edmonton Oilers would do very well but if he were on a team like the Calgary Flames this year he would not do as well. The quality of the player’s teammates is a factor that is ignored.

 

Shots on goal. The second factor is the number of shots on goal and while players earn points through assists, the assists don’t happen until there is a goal scored. So if a player shoots more they are likely to get more points or as Gretzky says, “you miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.” So even with an older Gomez if he takes more shots eventually something will happen and he will get more points. The expectation of shooting more means that the player will have to have the puck in reasonable scoring situations more times too. The quality of their opportunity to score is important. Shooting 100 times from the slot is better than 100 times from the opponents blue line, which is better than shooting from the center line.

 

This also goes back to the quality of their teammates. If they have poor line mates then generating those increased chances is harder to do, especially in the prime scoring areas.

 

Power-play time on ice (as a percentage of the team’s power play time). This is also intuitively obvious. If a player gets more power play time (situations where they have an advantage to score) then they are more likely to get more points. See my comments in the Time on ice segment.

 

Ryan measures these stats and then finds that the numbers mostly fit into place. There are outliers and in his words, “highly talented rookies who are handcuffed, pass-first players ([Joe Thornton]) and veterans who are being ‘managed’ (Selanne, [Iginla], and Alfredsson)”. There are many more categories though, guys like last year’s Mikhail Grabovski who was managed to third or fourth line duty, players who get more ice time because there is no one else around worth to giving it too, players who play against the top lines of other teams and similarly those who play when their team is shorthanded.

Looking at the various graphs, there are a lot of markers that are above and below the line, plus the markers are denser when the point totals are lower. It becomes sparser when the players are supposed to score more. (Suggestion, I would have points always be on the same axis for all the graphs) (Editor's note: Ryan Ma addressed this point and others in the comments below)

 

In part two, Ryan writes, “I will be the first to accept the fact that when looking at numbers, you are looking at it from a ‘summative’ perspective (it’s already happened) and that there’s absolutely no certainty that the situation will necessarily change for the future.” This is supposed to be the Power of Numbers yet it is caveated to shreds and it is because he knows that past performance does not guarantee future results. Please see my past article called “Beene Counters” specifically the section called “The Past and Forecasting the Future” where I talk about the Gambler’s Fallacy in particular.

 

To me it looks like Ryan has now fallen into the Gambler’s Fallacy when he states, “What I would argue is that, numbers tend to ‘normalize’ to some degree, and the ones that I’ve identified are, in my opinion, due for some form of correction. I won’t guarantee 100% correctness, but I’d be pretty happy with three out of every four”. This is where we have to make a distinction between statistics and information.

 

If we are simply saying that a player will normalize to the prediction, because he had too good a start or too terrible a start, then that is not information. That is as much a ‘gut feel’, or shall I re-term it to ‘brain dead thought’ that seems logical but is not.

I will highlight two of his predictions, Dustin Brown and Reilly Smith.

 

With Brown, Ryan feels that he will get a bump in production because of his past career stats. That is fine but it is in every sense a “gut feel” prediction using stats to mask that it is a gut call. What I would rather like to hear is one of two things, either “Dustin Brown has a poor start because he was playing injured but he is now healthy and I expect him to improve in points to be on pace closer to his career averages” or “Dustin Brown has been playing hurt and continues to do so. While it is commendable it is not likely that he will see an increase in his current scoring production. If you want to trade for him, expect better numbers next year, not this year.” This is an opinion based on information. (I’m saying that Brown is still hurt and his numbers won’t improve).

 

Reilly Smith is defined as a sell by Ryan. He goes a little bit beyond the stats and argues that the Bruins have enough depth to limit Reilly’s opportunity to continue with his first half pace. What I wish to point out in this case is the general assumptions made by Ma, “Smith was largely considered a ‘throw in’ for the Tyler Seguin/Loui Erkisson deal between the Stars and the Bruins”. It is this assumption that really drives Ryan’s opinion that Smith’s point production will go downward.

 

The Bleacher Report had an article written about him called “What Is Reilly Smith’s Ceiling with the Boston Bruins?” The author, Steve Silverman, gets a quote from Miami (Ohio) assistant coach Nick Petraglia, “Boston knew what they were getting when they included him in the Seguin deal.” He also gets a comment from Claude Julien, “He’s been a real good player for us. He’s a young player that’s probably not been overlooked but kind of been in the shadow for a long time and he’s emerged with us here.”

 

In an article by DJ Bean, of WEEI 93.7 FM, called “Who is Reilly Smith? Not a throw-in, for one”, he asks Boston Bruin GM Peter Chiarelli about Smith being a throw in and his response was “Oh, no. Absolutely not.” The article continues to talk about how the Bruins have been keeping an eye on him for many years.

 

Both articles write about his development and the time it took to make it to the pros and of his start with the Bruins. So if he’s earned 34 points in 47 games, which is second best on the team, then why would his production necessarily drop? Eriksson is still dealing with injury issues. Iginla is still being ‘managed’ by the coach. Lucic and Bergeron are a few points away but even if they surpass Smith’s numbers that does not mean that Smith cannot continue his pace, just that the other guys are doing better. Their points don’t have to be at Smith’s expense.

 

Chiarelli, however, does say, “Half a season does not a player make”. Meaning, he is still a kid and he cannot take everything for granted. He has got to continue to work hard. Which, certainly looks like he is doing.

 

This is what I mean about the difference between statistics and information.

Normally I’d normalize but today I feel like being different.

 

 


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Comments (20)add comment

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
absent author Demetrios still hasn't joined the discussion - that's disappointing. I think all columnists should take the time to check whether there are comments. Especially in a column theme as his, which focuses on others' work and provide a different viewpoint, or just tries to pick them apart. If there are questions, you should be around to answer them and justify your points.
January 24, 2014
Votes: +0

Finnbar said:

jokerit72
... I still think the author's concerns are valid... just dividing one number by another number to make a list, then looking for outliers.... that's not real analysis. It's more like trial and error. Arithmetic vs calculus.

However, it is not substantially different from what EVERYONE else is doing. Even the fanciest advanced stats seem to have their basis in some arbitrary starting point. The most logical, most impressive valuation methods (see bWAR or VORP in baseball, or GVT over at hockey prospectus) are taking a lot of things into account. But how much they weight each factor, and which ones to include or leave out, are decisions that are frequently arrived at via trial and error, even if they are confirmed by "proper" statistical analysis after the fact. It has been fun to follow the evolution of 'advanced stats' over the last 20-30 years.

So it's hard to get too upset about what Ryan's been doing. It may not seem sophisticated (it's not), but it is just another way to filter the raw data that we can take or leave at our own discretion (just like an infomercial!!!)

At the end of the day, all I care about is this: how do we value players for fantasy sports? Relative to each other, relative to the big picture, and in the context of whatever league we are playing in. Get me there and I'm happy... we can always improve our methods as we go!
January 22, 2014
Votes: +0

DCortez said:

DCortez
... Demetrios is probably busy working on his next slam article. Having a difference of opinion and offering counter viewpoints is good but when he gives less statistical research than his target does it falls flat. These are the worst articles on the site and all come off abrasive and condescending. I come to this site to read articles with actual content to them not to read an article where someone is playing the heel.
January 22, 2014
Votes: +2

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
good discussion Good discussion you two - shame Demetrios has still not taken the opportunity to join yet. I hope he does, because if not, he loses a lot of credibility if he doesn't take the time to consider what his readers have to say. Maybe he's busy, so hopefully he'll join the conversation soon.
January 22, 2014
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Finn 2 Looking at the results is nothing more than a pat on the back for myself. I'll 100% agree with that statement. I honestly think of myself as one of those infomercials that bombard you with results so you'll buy into my product (except I don't make any money off you, so I'm left scratching my head as to why I'm making this sales pitch all the time, haha?) I guess for me, using the results as justification for my theories is my way of saying believe/trust in my theories. Look at my results because it confirms my theories. Throughout my years here at Dobber, I've posted some pretty good results, so I think I do know what I'm talking about. I guess I'm just using the results to justify that "I know what I'm talking about, and not just some snake oil salesman." I'd like to think that my "hit rate" is due more than the process than just dumb luck and is more scientific than instinctual.

Can I look at bigger and better processes in the future, of course I will. I'm a fan of fantasy hockey, I live and breathe it and probably analyze too much of it to be honest. I just think I've found a "better" process in terms of identifying trends than a few others out there.
January 21, 2014
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Finn I'm generally pretty good at taking constructive criticism, but the key point for me is that you need to earn my opinion. I'm all for people stating their opinion. Heck I'm trying to do the exact same thing, by writing these articles I'm trying to earn your opinion. Where I take issue, is people criticizing something, but offering nothing in return as to why they think differently.

It's exactly what I wrote in my article, anyone can come out and state that apples are the best fruit in the world. Anyone can come out and state that bananas are the best fruit in the world. But if you want to convince me of either argument, I'd appreciate some justification as to why? I'd even take it further and ask for tangible evidence as to why you formulated that opinion. (Once again it's the blue brain aspect that I'm so locked in.)

I agree/disagree with you to certain points about "locked into the few things at the cost of the big picture". I mean the "big picture" in my columns is to look at who's going to tally the most points and who's going to benefit your team moving forward. That's the big picture in it's entirety and really the "little things" that I'm doing really is pointing towards moving towards the "big picture" (or at least I think it does). My argument is the use of numbers to get you there...

I've had a few conversations with number54 (who brought up the covariance point), He's well versed in stats to a much higher degree than me and we have looked into finetuning my data for the future. So that is something in the books. I love to use stats to "justify" my theory, but I'll be the first to admit, that I'm not the strongest person in the world in that aspect, I know the basics and apply the basics...

"correlation is not causation" 100% agree, but what I would argue is that if the data fits 80% of the model, do we really need to look at the little things to justify the "cause". Before Newton hypothesized the theory of gravity, everyone knew it was there, they just didn't know what caused it... Now that we know what causes it, does it matter? an apple still drops 100% of the time towards the center of the Earth? Do I need to know that an object falls at a rate of 9.81M/sec unless it is offset by drag or buoyant forces. Or do I just care that the apple falls...

The game of hockey is so complicated that I don't think there can be any single stat used as a "secret" formula. In my experience, trudging through a lot of these stats, the 3 biggest ones that affect point production has been TOI, PP TOI and SOG. I haven't found anything nearly as strong as those ones. Fenwick, Corsi, Off Zone Start, Off Zone TOI I can definitely see merit in those stats, and probably even see a justification into why they would contribute to point production, but I couldn't find a strong correlation as TOI, PPTOI and SOG. It might be something that numbers, Lil_Rob and I can look into during the off-season. I would definitely be interested.

Yeah I made the Crosby statement to counter his point of Gretz. "Player Quality" has been a long debate in fantasy hockey. The major problem with that is, it's darn near impossible to quantify and mostly based on "opinions", which as mentioned before, extremely difficult to prove/disprove with tangible evidence. I just can't buy into any arguments with the justification of "you don't know anything because you don't watch any of their games... or the flip side, I know better than you because I watch a lot of their games" none of those arguments hold any water. IMO, coaches will "normalize" player quality and justify it with ice-time. I mean you wouldn't put the less skilled players in a prime scoring situation if they weren't meant for the job. So "player quality" is indirectly quantified through ice-time. That's the only way that I can see how you can, on the surface, quantify "player quality".

January 21, 2014
Votes: +0

Finnbar said:

jokerit72
mild myopia Ryan,

I think the point this author is trying to make is that statistics need to be used correctly in order to be valid, with which you would surely agree. (though the article started chasing its tail and lost me a bit in the second part smilies/smiley.gif

Frequently when reading your articles, I too get the sense that you are getting 'locked in' on just a few things at the cost of the big picture.
And I have noticed that your tone gets quite defensive (shrill, even) when someone disagrees with your conclusion or methodology. For someone who appears to pride himself on thinking logically, that is a surprise.

We are all looking for the 'secret formula' and you have spent WAY more time in the lab than pretty much any of us casual fantasy players. That's laudable just on its own.
I have learned a lot from reading your articles.



Here are some things you may want to bear in mind (just my opinion, and also based on years of research and analysis.):

Correlation is not causation, esp. when the number seems inflated. A commenter's point about covariance on one of your recent articles is worth following up on.

Your outputs can only be as good as your inputs. TOI or even PPTOI is not all created equal. SOG vary widely in quality. Is there a way to cross-breed other fancy stats (zone starts, Fenwick etc.) with these basic numbers?

'Player quality' from a coach's viewpoint is pretty hard to quantify. Saying that "Crosby plays 20 mpg because he's Crosby" is a form of truism that would seem beneath you. That's not far from having a conclusion as your starting point and setting out to prove it, which is just bad science.

It's great to want to be a 'numbers guy.' I have yet to see convincing proof that you are choosing or generating the right numbers. Though that may be unfair.... I have yet to see proof that ANYONE, including myself, is using the right numbers. Hockey stats analysis has come along way but is still very much in its childhood. Crowing about anything seems like hubris and not analysis.

The philosopher's stone may or may not be out there, but let's all be humble enough to see the big picture. Some players' seasons seem easy to predict, and some seem to come out of nowhere. Looking back and grading oneself by the simple number of accurate predictions is a fool's errand. Those are results! They are frequently random! Analyze the process... if it is flawed in some way, then improve it. If it looks good, continue to analyze it. Guess what? It will always need improvement. smilies/smiley.gif I always got a chuckle out of Dobber crowing about his uncanny accuracy: "80% of all players were within +/- 5 points of my predictions for them" or whatever it was... yeah thanks, my 10-year-old son was able to do that too.


My apologies for the absence of more specific examples. I have not been reading dobberhockey much this season, and don't have time right now to scan through all your articles.
But keep it coming. I do find your thoughts illuminating for many reasons. Your instincts seem to be terrific. Don't settle for flawed inputs to what may well be a valid system of analysis.



Demetrios,

I am quite curious to see what you would recommend Ryan does, rather than what he has been doing.. It's easy to pick things apart. Hard to find the right direction to go. Your points are valid, but Ryan has given us all a lot more to think about than just this.
January 21, 2014
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Horror Thanks for the positive comments!

It's just how I operate. If you've read anything on the "coloured brain", those who know me would definitely fit in me the "blue" category... I'm as blue as blue can be. Which is why you'll see such a methodical approach to my analysis.

There's always room for "opinionated" thoughts, as long as there's a strong justification attached as to the reasoning behind the opinion. My justification has always been through the numbers and although they aren't always a 100% fit model, they do "fit" 75% of the data. So I guess it's whether you want to "buy into" my theories, or whether you believe in others.

The best that I can do is sell my case and present my point of view to do enough of a job to convince the audience.

I just don't see Dem's argument being any stronger than mine.
January 21, 2014
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
mojave Sorry, I'll be back at work after my "summer holiday" so I won't be around as much as I was during the last few weeks. It's one of the main reasons why I was able to do those 2 pieces for Dobber...

Sucks to have to "grow up" and get on with "real life"

haha, but a few more pieces like this and it'll force me to back into the game!

January 21, 2014
Votes: +0

horrorfan said:

horrorfan
I'm with Ryan After reading this piece I was waiting for Ryan to respond. I've always found Ryan's pieces to be methodical and well written, with facts to back up his analyses.

Demetrios, I look forward to hearing your rebuttal.
January 21, 2014
Votes: -1

mojavedesert said:

mojavedesert
More Ryan Ma Ma's articles have always been well thought out and prepared and supported by superb analysis and written excellently . More Ryan Ma articles please.
January 20, 2014
Votes: -1

Kofax said:

Kofax
... I have to agree with Ryan. I started reading this article trying to figure out what you were arguing, but every point you raise seems to be common sense that I would apply to a player after looking at Ryan's statistical analysis. Specifically, I would use the data to pick out players who appear to have had a slow start, and then I would try to look at why they might have had that slow start, and then I would look at reasons as to why they should bounce back in the second half. That seems pretty intuitive. It's what data do you look at to determine who these players might be, and that's what Ryan provided.
January 20, 2014
Votes: +1

UKflames said:

UKflames
Where's my popcorn? This is an interesting debate, let's see where it goes.
January 20, 2014
Votes: +2

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Brain Dead Thought/Gambler's Fallacy? Also wouldn't your line of thinking be more "brain dead thought"/"Gambler's fallacy" than mine?

If you flipped a coin 5 times, and it landed heads 5 times. A "thinking mind" would be able to see through that and say shouldn't the data "normalize" and next flip be back to 50/50? Isn't that what you mean by your gambler's fallacy theory?

In your scenario you're telling me to do just that(which I already am, looking at the law of averages and given his TOI/SOG/PPTOI numbers should regress back towards say a 0.5 point-per-game pace), but then you go and argue that Smith who's had a hot start to the season, should continue to produce at that rate "just because" things aren't going to change.

That's telling me that it's landed head 5 times, so the next 5 times should be heads again... because why should things change?

Your approach is a lot more Brain Dead Thought/Gambler's Fallacy than mine...
January 19, 2014
Votes: +4

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Smith A lot of those article of course were taken "at the time" when Smith was absolutely lighting it up. Would it do any justice if the media and coaching staff, came out and said yeah he was a "throw in". Imagine the damage to the psyche for Smith's confidence if that came out. It would be career destroying... So the Bruins staff said, what they needed to say...

Once again I'm not a Bruins insider so I have no idea whether or not he was a "targeted" option for the Bruins at the time of the trade and they are absolutely telling the truth or they're bending it a little to cash in on the benefits. But I'm sorry if you ask me honestly, the main piece coming back for Tyler Seguin was Loui Eriksson. They didn't make the trade for Smith, they made it to get a "consistent" Eriksson back in return. They weren't after Smith and had Eriksson as a "throw in".

Look at the numbers, Eriksson 16:12, 39.6 PP% and 1.7 SOG/G compared to Smith's 14:39, 34.6% of PP% and 1.7 SOG/G... and you're trying to make the claim that it was the other way around?

"but there’s also got to be a limit to a role player’s point production when they garner fairly low power-play time (33.smilies/cool.gif, a low SOG average (1.7) and limited overall ice-time (14:14). Smith does have talent, but I just don’t see him outscoring Jarome Iginla, Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron for an entire season. "

This is my justification for him dipping in the 2nd half. If you look at the 3 key indicators, they're all fairly low given his rate of point production. It just can't be justified that he'd post 0.8 point-per-game numbers, given his current responsibilities. I wouldn't give him the same 50/50 probability of recording a point in each and every game as someone who would get 60% PPTOI, 3 SOG/G and averages 20 mins a game... That also doesn't take into account that he has a 18.1 Sh% which ranks top-10 in the league and is comparable to Pavelski, St.Louis, Grabovski and Kunitz...

In my experience with fantasy hockey, I don't see very many 65-point producers who displays the numbers that Smith has posted in the first half.

I'm sorry but if you call that "information" and your justification of Smith being able to maintain a similar 2nd half pace as he has posted in the first half is because he did so in the first half and why should things change? That holds as much water to me as MT319's skating mechanics and "mental toughness" argument, which got me so "worked up" a few years back...
January 19, 2014
Votes: +4

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Brown As for drawing random conclusions, that's completely and utterly stupid!

I'm not an insider with the NHL nor do I claim to be, I'm just a fan of the game. So why would I spew crap and draw conclusions on a player regarding why they are successful or underachieving in which I have no connection to.

Why would I go and speculate that Brown had an injury in the first half, which is the reason why he was underperforming? I don't know Brown, I don't know why he is underachieving or whether or not he was carrying an injury. All I can do is look at tangible evidence that is in front of me and draw conclusions from them.

This is what I wrote,

Brown is in a very similar situation. The three indicators show that he’s underachieving by a fair margin. His SOG (2.8 per game) is still up there, and while he doesn’t see top unit PP time anymore (39.2 percent), and his TOI has dropped to below 17 minutes per game, you would still expect something more than just a 0.33 point-per-game pace. He was a career 0.61 point-per-game producer prior to this season, so I don’t expect him to operate at half that clip for the duration of an entire season. The Kings are very deep offensively, but Brown should still see a boost in the second stanza.

From that passage, what part of that was "gut feel" beside my 2 cent opinionated last sentence? It was all fact related, he shoots a lot, he had his PP TOI cut compared to last year, that he plays 17 mins a game, and played to a 0.33 point-per-game pace in the first half? How is that at all gut feel? I'm drawing the conclusion that if you follow the data, given his SOG/TOI/PPTOI numbers, he should be operating at better than a 0.33 point per game pace. It should be closer towards 0.5 for each and every game moving forward.

I don't know what your definition of "information" is, but you aren't going to get any of that speculation from me...
January 19, 2014
Votes: +4

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Beene Counters I read your original column and once again am left with ok so you think stats are bad and someone shouldn't 100% be entrusted in them, but what is your offering of a "better" alternative?

As for your "flipping" a coin example, that's completely irrelevant when comparing it to "real life" examples. First of all fantasy hockey isn't a coin with just 2 outcomes. There are a multitude of factors that play into scoring and production. Heck a puck bouncing off netting and landing in a net and 4 refs missing it, indicates just how complicated the game of hockey really is. Or a puck landing in a goalies pants and the goalie inadvertently sliding into his own net is another example.

But if you really want to compare it to a coin flip, I'll play ball.

So you flip a coin 5 times, and it lands head 5 times. The 6th time, speaking from a probability point of view, will have the same 50/50 chance of landing heads/tails, but we're also not looking at it from just 1 flip. If I'm going to extend this "experiment" and all of the odds are 50/50 the rest of the way, you would naturally think that the data will "normalize" back towards 50/50, right? So it's irrelevant that the first 5 flips were heads, you would think that the next 95, it would lean back towards the 50/50...

According to the data, a player who garners 16-18 mins a game has a pretty high probability of tallying around a 0.6 point-per-game pace. (R^2 or something around 80%) So what I'm arguing is that the data will naturally "normalize" because of the percentages. If every single game from here on out he has a say a 50% chance of tallying a point-per-game, you would think that over the course of the remaining games, that the numbers will fall into place. I'm not looking at it from just 1 game (coin flip) perspective, I'm looking at it from 35-40 games/coin flips, so you would think if things remain status quo and a player continues to average 16-18 mins a game, they really should fall into the data set right?

So when you call me out for "brain dead thought", I'll call BS. This is a more logical approach than anything else. If a player has a 50% chance of recording point every game, then wouldn't you think he'll continue to have those odds for each and every game moving forward? Why would I think differently?
January 19, 2014
Votes: +5

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Graphs Yeah I played around for a few hours and excel wouldn't let me put points on the same axis for some strange reason, something about data size only allowed to be 255 or something... Or else I would have done that.
January 19, 2014
Votes: +3

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Time on Ice One of the arguments that you raised is "player quality". My argument would be that the NHL coaches themselves will "normalize" this data. All NHL coaches want to win, heck that's probably the key criteria as to what they are judged on in terms of success. They naturally will adjust their time on ice to accommodate for "player quality". The reason why Scott Gomez doesn't play 25 mins a game is because he doesn't deserve 25 minutes a game. Crosby plays 22 mins a game, because he's Sidney Crosby! Getzlaf plays 20 mins a game because he's Getzlaf, Ward gets 16 mins a game because he's Ward...

"Player quality" and Time on Ice go hand in hand and is a bit of an "unwritten relationship". Coaches will naturally separate players in terms of player quality through ice-time.

I don't see how addressing "player quality" would make any argument stronger? In addition to that argument, how do you judge "player quality". Besides "I watch them play a lot and when you watch them you can just tell", what is your basis of determining who is a "quality" player as opposed to who isn't a "quality" player? Everyone's definition of "quality" is different, so how do you weed out what's relevant and what's not?

It's simple fact, if you're not on the ice playing, you're not going to produce, I haven't see someone sitting on a bench collect points lately...

Time on Ice is a big key indicator for success...

If you chart players based on point-per-game producers, 65-point producers, 50-point producers, 30-point producers, there is a clear definitive line in terms of TOI. In order to get into the "elite" level, they're playing upwards of 20+ mins a game and it slowly declines as the point production follows. Now of course, as mentioned in my original column, this model doesn't "fit all", as Hossa and Duchene being the odd ones out in the top-30, but there is a general trend into scoring.

The more they play the more points they tally, you can argue "player quality" plays a much bigger role than I give it credit for. What I'm arguing is that "player quality" is already accounted for in terms of ice-time given and it is rendered a moot point if they don't see the ice. A perfect example is Jaden Schwartz, prior to the Backes/Steen injuries he was chugging along at around a 0.6 point-per-game pace, then suddenly he becomes a a point-per-game + player when both of those guys are out of the line up. I wouldn't argue that it was "player quality" that accounted for the boost in production. I mean he suddenly didn't just took some pills and boom his "player quality attribute" just increased. It was the extra TOI and responsibility given that accounted for his boost in production. You could also even argue Filppula, Hudler, Seguin as similar scenarios.

At the NHL level, I would probably even argue that TOI has much more to do with production than "player quality" in terms of production.
January 19, 2014
Votes: +4

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Point? There are a few points that you have written that could be up for discussion, but there are some points which are made that has me thinking what is your point?

You do knock my approach to using stats and label it as pulling "wool over your eyes", my question is what is your approach then? After reading your column, I'm still wondering besides shallowly critiquing my approach, you haven't offered anything better? Or anything tangible to show me what is a better way of fantasy hockey analysis? Looking at the data from the first quarter of the season, my predictions were proven correct in 75% of the cases pointing back up into the right direction.
January 19, 2014
Votes: +7
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