Thursday Mashup: Analytics, Analytics… Nothing but Analytics

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Kyle Dubas
Vukets, Cynthia wrote: Kyle Dubas speaks to the press at the Essar Centre after signing on as the new GM for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Dubas is the youngest-ever GM in OHL history. Jim Egan photos.

A little morning listening courtesy TSN1050‘s Blue Lunch — Hockey Abstract’s Rob Vollman joined the show to discuss the summer of analytics and the Leafs‘ recent hires. One of the field’s true pioneers, Vollman is a well spoken guy who does a great job breaking down the powers and limitations of the current state of hockey analytics in this segment. Take a listen:

Interesting excerpts:

  • What would you as an analytics guy say to a coach like Randy Carlyle when trying to fix the “possession game?”
    Vollman: I don’t often talk to coaches. It’s two very separate things, what they do and what I do. There’s not a lot of overlap between us. But if I am going to have a conversation with a coach, I’m probably going to sit down and take out a Player Usage Chart. It’s a simple mechanism that shows whether the players are being used in the offensive or the defensive zone, whether they are playing against the top lines or the depth lines, and how the team does possession wise in each of those situations. The two of us would look it over and we’d sort of look at how he’s using those players, and maybe if there’s a more effective deployment of those players. But even that is a little bit of a stretch. I really doubt that if I showed Randy Carlyle a player usage chart, that he’d really be shocked with anything he saw.
  • Is there anything left to prove in terms of the value of Corsi and Fenwick and if they lead to actual results? Do we need to see more of a sample size before we see “proof?”
    Vollman: I don’t think so, but I see where you’re going. You want to top short with saying something like possession is the ‘be all end all,’ that it’s the only thing that matters. There’s goaltending, there’s special teams, there’s shooting; there’s all sorts of other things.  There is no one element of the game which is the magic bullet. But people have always known that possession is key. You don’t need a copy of Hockey Abstract to know that. I think what’s new is that we now have a way of recording possession or counting possession which is something we didn’t have 10 years ago. It’s more showing that our statistics and our numbers actually do match possession; improving possession will improve the numbers, and when the numbers go up it typically means possession has improved. In terms of establishing the value of possession, we’ve known that for a long time.
  • How advantageous could this information be in terms of developing a game plan for opponents?
    Vollman: I tend to look at hockey as sort of 6 subgames, and those subgames are — the ability to bring the puck out of the zone, the ability to enter the opponent’s zone, the ability to translate that possession into a shot, and then of course the ability to prevent those three things. Players excel in different ways, and in different combinations in those six subgames. I think the real value here is taking a look at how the players perform in each of those six subgames, and then using that information to map lines against the opponent and key in on the right players and in the right situations.

Lots of good stuff in that segment. Give it a listen.

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  • mcloki

    Congrats to Bernier on becoming a new Dad.

  • BigTO

    -Keon Micro vs macro. He’s saying with the current state of analytics there isn’t a tonne of day to day applications yet. But they’re capable of providing the “sober second thought” and contributing to more informed decision making in the FO.
    I think Vollman might have understated it a little, though. A coach should certainly be aware of these type of numbers when analyzing their systems and performance in  those six “sub games” he speaks of.

  • phaneufoundlander

    mcloki  congrats indeed, nothing is more special than the birth of a child.

  • MaxwellHowe

    His contract is almost exactly the same as Morgan Rielly’s contract.  I assume there’s little wiggle room for ELCs.  Both contracts permit the player to almost double his salary with performance bonuses – I believe it was Rielly’s performance bonus that led the Leafs to be over the cap last season.

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks !

  • MaxwellHowe

    The Leafs numbers on prevention are likely atrocious – all around the lineup.  But Carlyle bears a good share of the blame for that.

  • Mind Bomb

    CanuckUKinToronto Thing is the Veteran savy would play a part in possession. The guys you mentioned are still learning the Pro game. As there expirience goes up so to will their possession numbers. I would be more concerned IF Dion, Lupul, Clarkson had bad numbers

  • B_Leaf

    Mind Bomb

    Mornin

  • Mind Bomb

    B_Leaf Mind Bomb Getting Close now my Friend, I can almost smell the fresh Ice in the morning :)

  • B_Leaf

    It was an interesting read going through the nhl.com link above to the Leafs prospect list. I was a little surprised with the rankings…no Granberg.

  • B_Leaf

    Mind Bomb B_Leaf

    NHL season should start in September, around the 15th, preseason Sept 3

  • MaxwellHowe

    Yeah, that discredits the rankings.  I was thinking that maybe the one NHL game Granberg played disqualfied him, but Leivo is on the list.  And both Loov and Nilsson are on the list, tho clearly Granberg is ahead of them on the depth chart.

  • Mind Bomb

    B_Leaf Mind Bomb Drop the Puck !

  • B_Leaf

    MaxwellHowe

    I was surprised to see Loov ahead of Leivo. No disrespect to Loov, but I view Leivo as a pretty solid prospect. I probably have Leivo as high as number two on that list.

  • B_Leaf

    MaxwellHowe

    Also based on Hughes comments it sounds like our Sweedish invasion on D has some bite to their game.

  • Mind Bomb

    B_Leaf MaxwellHowe And they say our drafting Sucks, * They* need to let go, its in the past, we are rocking out the players, already having graduated Kadri, and Rielly

  • MaxwellHowe

    Swedish defencemen can be mean and nasty.

  • Mind Bomb

    I missed this, maybe others did

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=728508

    NHL 30 in 30 on the Mapleleafs, interesting projected line up

  • B_Leaf

    Mind Bomb B_Leaf MaxwellHowe

    Yes, I agree. If I didn’t like our prospects I wouldn’t mind calling out the Leafs management. But That list is dominated by guys who have team and personal trophies and awards that are pretty solid. OHL scoring champ, plus/minus leader, memorial cup champion/finalist, rookie of the year/roy finalist.

  • Burtonboy

    Mind Bomb No Holland and we kept Orr?  Ugh….. did we trade Holland or what

  • MaxwellHowe

    The pairing of Gardiner and Franson made me urge

  • dlb Mad

    CanuckUKinToronto 
    actually, it’s creating the good scoring chances, not just a shot on net, that Rielly and Gardiner really could improve on if they want to become elite PMD

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy Mind Bomb I laughed until I realized RC might just keep Orr lol

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe I think we need to wait and see exactly what effect Horacek has on how that defense plays before we rule anything out . Cody and Jake under a new Horachek defense might be totally different then one we saw under Farrish

  • B_Leaf

    Mind Bomb

    That was a good peice IMO, almost exactly how I see the line-up working itself out. Only difference for me is that I see Frattin on line two and Clarkson on line four.

    I also like Holzer for the seventh D, while Granberg spends a little more time in the AHL with his new countrymen Nilson, Loov, and Nylander.

    I think we have great depth on the wings, so hopefully Nylander can play top six C on the Marlies and provide some insurance should Kadri or Bozak go down at some point.

    We also have Leivo who could be called up if needed.

    On D we Granberg or Percy who might be able to provide injury depth.

  • Mind Bomb

    B_Leaf Mind Bomb My Concern with this roster is Holland is an NHL player

  • B_Leaf

    Mind Bomb B_Leaf

    Holland for me right now is a 13th forward fighting for a spot. I think he will get his chance to play this year at times and he will have to grab the moment. The good thing is that he will be playing with decent wingers. My personal expectations are not overly high but I hope he surprises.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Mind Bomb Just a traff writer for NHL.com’s opinion. I’m not too upset about it. He’s likely doing every team so he’s just going by NHL experience likely.

  • B_Leaf

    ingy56 Mind Bomb

    I actually thought the article was well informed…only surprised by Orr’s inclusion, I thought it would be McLaren, lol.

  • peterbleafs

    Nice cool day ..and skype is ‘improving my skype experience’.  I wonder how improved it will be?  Disagree with that lineup in the article..Orr OUT and either Holland is in or he should be traded.  Putting in old guys in favour of developing a young high end talent is absurd.

  • B_Leaf

    peterbleafs

    In all honesty I don’t think we will see too much Orr this year…he looked like he was slowing down quite a bit last year. Holland cost us a 2nd rounder, I doubt we are just going to trade him. If he plays well enough he will move up the line-up, if not he will be a depth guy. It is as simple as that.

  • peterbleafs

    B_Leaf peterbleafs I agree with that, the author of that article clearly was just taking a shot at RC by putting Orr in that roster.

  • dlb Mad

    -Keon 
    that’s all i get on radio now.  everyone asking the questions seem to think that people will think they’re stupid if they ask a question.  they try so hard to sound smart, they remove all doubt that they’re not.

  • dlb Mad

    interesting excerpts.  i can’t get the interview but based on the clips above i think he’s a guy i’d chat with.
    exits, enters, creativity … good things for a coach to think about when designing drills for practices imo

  • MaxwellHowe

    Bleacher Report recently put up an article which makes a bold prediction about each team.  Some related to this player scoring 30 goals, that player becoming the number 1 goalie, etc.  The Leafs prediction – that Colton Orr would see more ice time (or play more games) than Daniel Winnik.  And not because the author believed Orr was better – just because…Randy Carlyle.
    Carlyle is openly mocked throughout the hockey media world it seems.

  • B_Leaf

    Our key players are JVR, Kessel, Bozak, Kadri, Lupul, Phaneuf, Bernier, and Reimer. I think we pretty much know what we are getting although the coaching adjustments may effect some players. Kadri is probably the one player in that group who might be able to step forward and do more.

    While Rielly and Gardiner are a big part of the future, they already play big minutes. They will have a profound effect on the team. It is just a lot to ask a 20 year old and 24 year old to drive the bus. Any advancement by these two could effect the team in a positive way.

    I think we know pretty well what we get from Komarov, and I expect Polack, Winnik, Franson, Booth, and Santorelli to provide reasonable NHL depth, and will contribute points, hits, blocks etc.

    I think the X factor players for the Leafs are as follows:
    Robidas…his age and health…can he play his game…can he help the kids?
    Kontiola…is he a legit 3rd line C in the NHL…can he win draws here like he did in KHL
    Frattin…can he return to form of two years ago and maybe improve on that
    Clarkson…can he find a way to be useful in whatever role he is given

  • MaxwellHowe

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2161019-one-bold-prediction-for-every-nhl-team-in-the-2014-15-season
    The article here.  Nice little read.

  • MaxwellHowe

    The one about Joe Thornton is quite funny

  • dlb Mad

    B_Leaf 
    i think we have half a team full of X-factors
    Winnik-Santorelli-Booth could be one of the best 3rd lines in the league, for instance … or they could be just a little shy of good enough.
    will they push Naz’s line for scoring?  that would be nice.  but can they do that while also doing well against top lines in a matchup role?  it would seem like overachieving but when i break down those players and their strengths i think it’s somewhat promising
    Kontiola, Komarov, Clarkson, Holland, Ashton, Frattin … not blowing our minds?  but they all have plenty of ability to challenge almost all our other forwards for roles or ice time.
    we can have half the things go well and have go poorly and still have a lot to feel good about.

  • mcloki

    Morning Gents. It’s getting to feel like hockey season.

  • peterbleafs

    B_Leaf Always optimistic at the start of the year, but every publication predicts the Leafs out of the playoffs again and they also rank our prospects in the bottom 3 of the entire NHL.  These publications usually do not end up that far off reality.  So Id have to expect our team is nowhere near as good as we all hope it is.

  • dlb Mad

    MaxwellHowe 
    openly mocked by PART of the hockey world.
    and when you look at the two halves … those mocking him and those who don’t, which group of people would you prefer to be associated with?
    i think the mocking birds are making asses of themselves.  that’s their right. but they’re not as smart or important as they think.
    some people who aren’t pro-Carlyle are fine.  they have their reasons.  but there are far more idiots drowning the message out.  sorry.

  • Doorman

    It,s Time to take your Meds Kids!!!  lol

  • dlb Mad

    Doorman 
    nyah….what’s up Doc?

  • Cameron19

    dlb Mad MaxwellHowe Carlyle deserves to be mocked.

  • LightmyLeaf

    dlb Mad Doorman I’ve had my monthly meds, 2 weeks of goalie camp(the boy, not me) in a very frigid arena…loved every minute of it- now in the middle of try outs for Atom… Just need the Leafs on the ice now.

  • LightmyLeaf

    peterbleafs B_Leaf internal optimism is without doubt….so enjoy your optimism for a few months til we are crushed back into our bubbles….ya never know….I seen publications say the Senators were winning the division last year…and how’d that go? We actually had hope into Feb, til the fall off….young team now has a supporting cast.

  • Mind Bomb

    mcloki Morning MC

  • Burtonboy

    LightmyLeaf peterbleafs B_Leaf The guy who was interviewed (Rob Vollman ) actually predicted by using advanced stats that the Sens would win the Presidents cup last yr . This yr he has the Leafs finishing 29th.

  • peterbleafs

    Burtonboy LightmyLeaf peterbleafs B_Leaf  Too tired to get too enthusiastic or to down about the Leafs this year, long few days.  I think I need to go out and get a coffee, morning Tims was not enough.