Last week, we discussed the calculating of catch-all statistics. Considering this was dense and not immediately helpful, I decided that I would pair it with a second article that was mostly statistical candy. I will use the statistics to rank the Devils on an NHL scale. For the explanation of what how these statistics are calculated, I refer you to Part I of this series. As in that one, Point Shares were made at Hockey Reference by Justin Kubatko, and GVT by Tom Awad at Hockey Prospectus. Data was retrieved from Robert Vollmans excel sheet found at Hockey Abstract.
PS = Point Shares, GVT = Goals Versus Threshold, *Rk = Players NHL Rank of preceding statistic
*Rankings are out of 887 qualified skaters and color coded, Green is good, Red is not, Yellow is meh.
|First Name||Last Name||Pos||OPS||Rk||DPS||Rk||PS||Rk||OGVT||Rk||DGVT||Rk||GVT||Rk|
While it is probably not overwhelmingly newsworthy to most fans, the Devils did not have a big showing in the offensive statistical categories. for OGVT, no Devil was in the top 50, and only one (Jagr) was in the top 100. Something to note for the future is that a new Devil did come in at 93 on that list. PS was slightly kinder to rankings, but still not a good showing. In both, the only players to appear in the top 150 were Jagr, Elias, Zidlicky, and Henrique. Gelinas was in the 160s in both rankings though and gets an honorable mention.
This is an encouraging sign to those looking for statistics that support real-life observation. It's difficult to argue against the fact that those were the 5 most important offensive players. Cammalleri will likely join their ranks as well and we will then have 4 forwards and 2 defenders likely to finish in the top 150.
This is where things get a little more interesting. The Devils are strong defensively, but according to GVT they are one of the deepest defensive teams in the league. With 10 players finishing in the top 150 in DGVT, only the Kings can boast a more prolific defensive squad (12 players). Furthermore, there were some individual standouts. Andy Greene had the highest DGVT in the league. While that is probably overestimating his defensive skills, it is nice to see that his new contract seems to have been totally justified. But more impressive were the forwards. Zajac, who finished behind only Selke Runner-up Anze Kopitar in DGVT, led a group of Devils forwards that takes up 5 of the top 15 defensive forwards rankings in the league. Below is a list, in descending ranking order of the Devils who finished in the top 150.
Greene, Zajac, Henrique, Zubrus, Volchenkov, Jagr, Fayne, Elias, Zidlicky, Salvador
The Point-Shares system somewhat brings us back down to earth. Only Greene, Zid, and Fayne finished in the top 100 in DPS. Greene slipped from his throne but landed on the 9th best spot which is tough to complain about. However, as mentioned last week, forwards perform more poorly in this metric so if we eliminate the defenders, the Devils forwards show very well again. Led by Jagr who finished 3rd in the NHL in DPS, Devils forwards accounted for 4 of the top 40 spots among defensive forwards (Jagr, Zajac, Henrique, Zubrus). The full list of Devil's players in the top 150 of DPS is as follows: Greene, Zidlicky, Fayne, Jagr, Volchenkov, Gelinas, Zajac, Merrill.
Advanced statistics on the whole seem to agree on out top skaters. Both have Jagr, Greene, and Zid as out top 3 skaters and all were inside the top 100 in the NHL. Henrique and Elias were next and they were within the top 150 (Cammalleri would be in this group too). Zajac and Gelinas are then both in the top 200 as well to round out our best players.
I mentioned THoR last week and in interest of full disclosure according to statsportconsulting, the Devils within the top 250 are as follows: Jagr (3rd in NHL), Greene (91st), Gelinas (95th), Zid (133rd), Ryder (135th), Henrique (194th).
Using the color coding we can find some other interesting things about the team. Theres a group of guys that got red in almost everything. That group consists of a bunch of players that played 35 games or less and then Carter and Bernier. This is interesting because many people, including myself and Alex in his article about who should be kept, thought Gionta was the weak link. His DGVT separates him from the other two because he had a top 200 DGVT score. While it could be debated whether or not that was deserved, these statistics don't leave a lot of gray area as to who the weak link actually was. I'm not going to mention any names but Steve Bernier was in the bottom 50 players in the NHL in both overall stats. Granted, so was Tedenby, but Bernier played about 800 more minutes than him. The one player suspisciously absent from that list is Reid Boucher. He played 23 games but he managed a middle-range GVT and was above league average offensively despite his low GP and minutes.
Enough about the bad. Devils that are in the dark green for everything are: Jagr, Greene, Zid, Henrique, and Zajac. If you allow for yellows too, that expans to include, Elias, Gelinas, Ryder, and Merrill. Those are players that were not liabilities in any aspect of their game. That being said, Ryder is not getting paid to be the 269th most productive offensive forward in the NHL. Let's skip the transition and move right to the conclusions.
Encouraging to see...
Gelinas was extremely productive despite being a rookie who spent some time down in Albany during the year. He needs to continue his production and be a pillar for the Devils moving forward.
Boucher was already an average offensive producer despite being thrown into the fire. Also he was not a significant liability on defense which was a pleasant surprise. Expect him to be a top 300 (top 2 lines) offensive producer next season and an average defensive one.
Cammalleri is a top 3 forward on our team by these measures. We paid him like a top liner so its good that statistically that signing has some merit. Havlat finished in the top third of the NHL in most statistics as well so his contract is a bargain.
Interesting to see ...
Greene is an elite defender according to advanced statistics. Devils fans knew he was underrated, but if you believe these statistics then we may not have believed he was underrated enough.
Henrique was our best forward not named Jaromir Jagr. Elias had DPS of 1.5 which lands him outside the top 250, and Zajac had an OGVT of 3 which put him just inside the top 250, and neither of them were in the top 250 of THoR. Henrique was in the top 200 in every stat including THoR.
Jagr was objectively amazing last season finishing 3rd in the highly-predictive THoR statistic, finishing in the top 100 of every stat, and top 50 of the total GVT and PS stats.
How much do you think these stats reflect reality? Do you think they make you think about things you wouldn't have otherwise? What do you think this means for next year? What else would you like to see done with catch-all statistics? Do you hate catch-all statistics and want me to stop writing about them completely? Leave comments below.