Friday, July 11, 2008

Major Stats

One problem that I thought I would have with the NHL is its relative paucity of statistics. Baseball is particularly rich, and football is just so complicated, there is an incredible amount to be measured. But in the NHL, we usually get little more than goals, assists, points, PIM, and +/- for skaters, then GAA and save percentage for goalies. The truth is, there's a lot more out there, and the NHL actually does an impressive job keeping those statistics. They just don't keep them in a very user friendly manner.

They call them "RTSS Stats," and they include things like hits and blocked shots and other little bits of minutia that, you know, seem pretty important. Also, the NHL keeps a remarkable amount of depth for splits - power plays, home and away, etc. There's a lot to chew on out there, but the first step is figuring out a way to make sense of it.

There are several major links I want to establish. The first of these is points. As in, two for wins, one for shootout/OT losses. What stats are the most strongly correlated with points - this seems to be the most obvious interest, and with an 82 game season, the correlation should be significant - not just lucky.

Secondly, there's the issue of the playoffs. The NHL is notable for shocking upsets from #8 seeds while President's Trophy winners flame out early. I want to see if there's something out there that grabs playoff wins better or worse.

Finally, there's consistency. Generally speaking, what stats really persist from year to year, and which ones are just a result of a few lucky bounces, some good linemates, or a hot streak. I'm particularly interested in goalies in this regard - are they a fabrication of defensive systems, or are they truly standouts on their own.

I've started scratching the surface here, and let's see what we've got.

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