PDO actually does what it says it does

People say a lot of stuff about PDO and there are a lot of ways in which it gets attacked. It’s a weird little stat, not very commonsensical. Counter- intuitive, in fact. And whole screeds have been written to try to take it down from the base out. None of those have worked because PDO actually does what it’s supposed to do. It just doesn’t do anything more than that. Continue reading

Drafted vs Undrafted: Who plays in the NHL?

My summer project was building a database of professional goaltenders playing in several leagues in both Europe and North America in recent years. This database consists of 491 professional goaltenders who played in the top pro leagues in Europe and North America between 2007-08 and 2012-13. These goalies represent 20 nationalities and they played their amateur hockey in 17 different countries. They were born between 1965 and 1995. The 42% who were picked in the NHL entry draft were drafted between 1991 and 2014. In terms of pro experience, they have played anywhere from 1 to 1291 games in those 9 leagues.

Among professional goalies across the world, undrafted North Americans are 5 times as likely to get a free agent chance to play in the NHL as undrafted Europeans. That’s explained in large part by the fact that undrafted North Americans are more likely to play in the American Hockey League (AHL) than undrafted Europeans. The same pattern is holding for drafted Europeans. They’re simply less likely than North Americans to play in the AHL.

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What Puck Daddy could have asked Hilary Knight

Olympic silver medalist Hilary Knight practiced with the Anaheim Ducks last week and as part of promotion for USA Hockey and IIHF’s Girls Hockey Weekend, she’s been doing publicity. Thus, she gave an interview to Puck Daddy’s Jen Neale after practice on Friday. It was a disaster.

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On analyzing goaltender success

As some of you know, I’ve been working on a huge project this summer. It took me three months to gather the data set and I’ve been doing some numbers crunching for a few weeks now. One of the things I keep running up against is how difficult it is to accurately describe these groups of data. Continue reading

Notes on goalie drafting and “specializing in forwards”

I recently posted a long piece about goaltender drafting over at Raw Charge. In it I tried to rebut some of the common arguments against drafting goaltenders that have started to pop up among hockey writers. The gist of that article is that drafting for forwards is not a hugely less risky proposition than drafting goaltenders. Certainly the difference isn’t so great as to make ignoring goaltending worthwhile.

Something I simply didn’t have time to do in that piece is to explore the consequences of specializing in forwards, consequences that haven’t really been considered by proponents in any meaningful way. Continue reading

Hey Stamkos, click this!

So, Steven Stamkos favorited a tweet (or two) about him possibly “pulling a LeBron” and going home to Toronto when his contract with Tampa Bay expires in 2016. Naturally this set off an explosion among people who are so starved for hockey talk that we’ll manufacture it when we can’t find it naturally.

It’s now a war between Tampa Bay’s defensiveness over being a sunbelt team and Toronto’s defensiveness over being increasingly  irrelevant. Southerners insist that people go to games. Canadians insist that the scrutiny there is actually a draw, not a turn-off. Continue reading

Lightning are spinning madly with Nabokov

Backup goalies, the non-tandem kind, are insurance. The thing with insurance is that you don’t want to pay too much for it, but you don’t want crappy insurance, either. The worst of both worlds is paying too much for crappy insurance, which, frankly, the Lightning have done in signing Evgeni Nabokov for $1.55M for 2014-15. I understand that they may not have had much choice by the time they got around to working on goaltending, but it’s a bit frustrating to see goaltending shunted off to the back burner as something that isn’t really important. Continue reading

The Callahan prior: How perceptions affect choices

I think a lot about perception. I’ve written about it here before . I talk about it on twitter a lot. The question of perception looms large for me, both in my thinking about how to understand history and my thinking about how to understand hockey.

When it comes to making choices perception is a huge factor. As human beings we create patterns in the world, pulling order out of chaos. We create these patterns by digging to find out the causes of events, and this shapes our perceptions of the people and processes we encounter. Much of this is hidden even to ourselves, even while it’s happening. But these patterns become the framework into which new experiences are integrated, so they’re hugely important in decision-making. Continue reading