Monday, November 20, 2006

Data Dump At the Quarter Pole - Part 1: Even Strength

In academia, (for the physical sciences anyway) there are publications known as data dumps. They're frowned upon because they're basically just a collection of data without any real story to tell or any conclusions of note. They manage to get published once in awhile for a number of reasons. Maybe because of a frenzy around a hot topic, like nanotechnology or biofuels, or because the reviewers and editors are asleep at the wheel. Or maybe just because the authors were shrewd at disguising it. Anyway, this is the intarweb so I'm just going to tell you straight out: This is a data dump. I'm going to give you a couple more too. ;)

The Oilers' story at even strength is pretty simple. They haven't been very good and I'm tempted to say it's the goals against and not the goals for. So far I've got them at 37 GF and 38 GA at the quarter mark. In the Oilers' last twelve quarters, they've only had 3 with more 5V5 GA. Meanwhile they've had just four quarters with more 5V5 GF in that time period - streaks to the finish in 02/03 and 03/04, the 2nd quarter last year, and an almost equivalent +38/-39 3rd quarter back in 2002-2003. Given that the team has a shooting deficit of 78 shots in 20 games and Roloson's .922SV% thus far, it's pretty hard to lay the blame anywhere except with the skaters.

The player breakdown looks like this:

Note: This is just 5V5 with no EN GF or GA. Smyth's obviously been the star of the show and he's on pace for a stellar year. Without looking and just going by memory, I'd say his icetime has been pretty difficult among Oiler forwards as well, so the fact that he's getting results in that context means he's my MVP skater. Other positive notables include:
1) Horcoff who was something like +4/-10 after about 12 games, but has finally come around.
2) Bergeron who's getting butter soft minutes but getting results.
3) Staios has very impressive numbers considering the fact that his blueline partner is 20 yrs old and they aren't being sheltered too much.
4) The fourth liners Thoresen and Winchester who have been outstanding bottom sixers IMO.

The negatives are lowlighted by Lupul's astronomical GA rate and Smith's atrocious EV results thus far. Now I suspect that these two things go hand in hand a little bit - Lupul probably drew some tougher assignments early on while Smith was behind him. The thing that's frightening about Smith though are the awful GF numbers. Basically he's got the worst GF rate number out of anyone playing regular minutes and naturally that goes along with the worst ESP/hr number as well. (Actually Smid trumps him by 0.01, but that's just quibbling.) Stoll and Torres have been pretty underwhelming too and it would be nice if the Hemsky/Sykora pair had a better GD at 5V5 than just +1 or +2, especially with the minutes they're playing.

The rates are here:

Smyth's the man here again given the context. You also can't complain about Sykora's production. I've ragged on him a little bit to Dennis, but you just can't argue much with the points. It seems like he's converting all the chances he was probably ringing off the iron or just plain missing the net with last year. Winchester again looks good in all of these rates. Pisani's an interesting case - I'd imagine he's got a higher event rate than we've seen from him in the past. He did start the year with that knee injury though and he's coming up from a bad start that mirrors Horcoff's since they play together a fair amount.

Alright, that's it. The PP is next.


Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

OUTstanding stuff Cam. Looking forward to the rest of it.

One last note: Given the soft min he's been eating for the last 10 games Lupul has been the worst Oiler thus far and if you compiled these stats before last Thurs games vs the Blues then his suckitude would be off the charts.

11/20/2006 12:21 pm  
Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Expla the abbreves would be apprece. Please.

The PP is next.

I may not sleep tonight. It's like Christmas.

11/20/2006 7:36 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Yeah right Grabia. You'd be the only one. This one went over like a Holocaust joke in the Hofbrauhaus - "We'd rather not think about it thank you very much."

EV - 5 skaters vs. 5 skaters with no empty net (EN) goals for (GF) or against (GA).

GD - Goal differential.

ESP/hr - Even strength points per hour of even strength icetime.

GF/hr - In Table 2 this is 5V5 goals for per hour of even strength icetime.

GA/hr - Again, 5V5 goals against per hour of even strength icetime.

Events/hr - GF+GA per hour of even strength icetime.

MVP - Most Valuable Player. ;)

OK Andy, is that it?

11/20/2006 9:29 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

RQ, can you help me with the Hemsky number? Based on my long hand, his projected number this season is lagging behind (he would finish with 28EV and 36PP this season based on the first 20) his 77 point season a year ago.

But your measure seems to flatter him a little more than last year's numbers (to my eye?) at EVs.

Seems lower event but more effective?

Or am I lost?

11/20/2006 9:49 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

If you're going back 12 quarters, that's a season and a half per-lockout, yeah? I was just wondering which were the three quarters where the Oilers fared worse with GA, and how many of the twelve did they defend signifigantly bettern than this one?

11/20/2006 10:01 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...


It's suppose to say "pre-lockout".

11/20/2006 10:02 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

slipper: It's two pre-lockout years and one post lockout year. (So we're actually talking about 13 quarters I guess)

Two of the quarters that were worse from a GA perspective were in 2002-2003 - both just 39 GA mind you. The other one was 41 GA in the 3rd quarter from last year.

That 03/04 team was pretty phenonmenal at ES. I'm sure the elite teams like the Sens have had a couple of better 5V5 seasons (probably by about 10 GD or so) but I think the +27 GD the Oilers had that year puts them in pretty solid company. The Oilers only had one quarter over 30 GA (35 GA) and they scored 44 GF in that one anyway. That was the stretch drive (the 4th) that is commonly attributed to Nedved rather than plain old desperation.

If Tyler's reading, I'd like to know what the Oilers' EV goaltending was like that year. I'm guessing it was close to league average and they got those results by outshooting and outchancing.

11/20/2006 11:59 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

LT: Um, I think Hemsky was an anomaly last year too. Remember he had the weird lower event rates despite all his minutes with Smyth and Horcoff? Hemsky was EV+40/EV-45 last year by my numbers so that's 85 events. Smyth and Horcoff had 108 and 114 events respectively. While Horcoff and Smyth did have slightly more icetime, that doesn't really explain it. I'm not sure we answered that question all that well - I'll have to back and look at it.

He's on pace for EV+49/EV-41. That's pretty decent although you'd like more given his icetime and opposition. So yes he seems a little better, but the event rates are about the same and the opposition is not the same.

IIRC, Chris Deboersma (sp? Sorry Chris if I butchered that spelling - I'm too lazy to double check it) seems to think that Hemsky's a pretty decent defensive hockey player. This is based on the data of course and certainly not the eye. I'm starting to come around to that idea a little bit actually, albeit very slowly. I find it hard to believe that you can turn the puck over at the offensive blueline that often and manage to keep your GA down. That's a tough one to wrap your head around.

11/21/2006 12:12 am  
Blogger namflashback said...


Intuitively the Hemsky anomaly kind of makes sense; his linemates work a little harder to save him from his turnovers just as they lean on him a little more for puck carrying plays.

Sykora as the "high" forward seems to be doing the majority of saving (although he is responsible for his own own-zone turnovers). He seems to be pretty smart in the neutral zone. Its that Devil's training I would guess.

11/21/2006 12:02 pm  
Blogger Slipper said...

I've come to understand that 03-04 was the banner year at even strength. That was also the season the Oilers were nearly dead last in both powerplay and penalty kill.

I was just wondering if comparing these last five quarters to the ones pre-lockout would be a little deceiving, considering that goal scoring is up league wide. Then I got to thinking that average even strength time is down in that same period, so now I'm just confused.

Just to amuse myself I thought I'd be selctive and remove a couple b2b games that I thought were an aberration, the Ducks/Coyotes. Remove those games and things look a little sweeter since they were outscored 10-2 at ES on that little nightmare. +35 -28 in a 19 game stretch looks pretty nice. If they can just allow fewer shots per game (they're averaging over thirty allowed and are getting outshot by an average of 4 a game) I think this team is in fairly good shape.

11/21/2006 2:37 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

The general order seems reasonable. I think the real issue at this early point is sample size though. If you list off the bad goals, the goalie gaffs, for and against, and removed them from the totals then I'm sure guys like Gator would move up the ladder and Torres would drop a couple of pegs. Or so I would guess.

Open question:
Which are the really bad goals that have happened either way in Oiler games? I can think of quite a few off of the top of my head, but I'll stay out of it. If you have one in memory that is an undisputable "weak goal" then just list it in this thread and we can ask politely if rivers would delete those ones from his algorithm here, and see if the list looks 'fairer' then. Or different at all.

BTW Rivers: Column 1 minus column 3 in your last table gives you Ron Wilson's number. By this metric, the fact that so far Winchester is up in the neighbourhood that Forsberg and Modano live in by April; ... speaks to how well he's played, that he hasn't played against quality, that he's caught some breaks, and that the next defensive zone faceoff vs good opp that he is on the ice for will be his first. How much of each contributing? ... I dunno, I'd say fairly equal amounts of each, maybe the first and last items in a tie for first.

11/21/2006 4:28 pm  
Blogger Lowetide said...

Matt Greene's beauty pass to Tkazcuk was a bad goal.

11/21/2006 5:23 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

Aha. Fantastic point Vic. I had forgotten about the Wilson number and I kind of like it. I'll probably throw that at the end of the electronic diarrhea that will be the PP post.

I agree that sample size is still a factor. Heck nobody here even has 30 events and no one is too far over 300 minutes. Without getting remotely technical, I like to look at the sample size thing in a "back of an envelope" way: Given that a three goal swing for a player playing a regular shift in 20 games is easily realized for any number of reasons, there's probably an error of at least +/-0.6 GD in here right now. If anybody's been particularly unlucky/lucky you could be talking about a lot more.

As for Winchester... Sure, we shouldn't get too crazy about him or Thoresen for the same reasons we don't fawn over Bergeron. However, as has been said on here before - you need those guys to do something with those easy minutes and the results have been there for those three players. Ideally, your best players just need to get a saw-off and you win with depth.

11/21/2006 10:26 pm  
Blogger Dennis-IOF said...

Yeah..well it depends on what kind of a team you have.

I think if you hooked up Playfair or Sutter to a lie detector they'd admit they plan to win by the Iginla line outscoring the other team's top unit, their other three lines staying status quo and of course relying on having the best goaltender in the world.

If you're talking to MacT then he wants the Horc line to saw off and the other three lines to outplay the opp's bottom nine forwards plus Roli's there to keep things real./

11/22/2006 12:54 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home