SLEDGEHAMMER

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in the case of Robert Vollman’s usage charts I think we may need to revise upward. Vollman’s usage charts are a gas, gas gas.

Okay, first things first. click on that image and then click on the X on the upper right. The entire image will be in front of you. A few things to keep in mind:

  • All the guys in blue are pushing the river, getting a good result. The bigger the balloon, the bigger the push.
  • The upper quadrants are playing against the toughs.
  • The upper left quarter are tough minutes and tough zones. Score blue in that area and you have Shea Weber’s phone number and can drop by Sidney Crosby’s house.
  • Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry make beautiful music together.
  • The upper right quadrant is filled with players who get good zone starts but face tougher opposition. Taylor Hall–still just a baby–is pushing the river and has one quadrant to go! It’s a helluva step up but if this young man can stay healthy we’re talking about a big dog who’ll hunt. It’s been awhile, ladies.
  • Bottom two quadrants are playing sheltered minutes, with the tougher zone starts in the lower left.
  • Oilers didn’t really have any “easy zone start, easy opposition” players because all of the zone start push fell to Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Gagner. Omark, Hordichuk and Lander are kind of in that quadrant, and the fact that they didn’t smash it tells us they weren’t really helping.
  • The 4th line and 3rd pairing guys are in the lower left, easier opposition, tougher zone start. Eric Belanger’s season is somewhat explained here (he’s not that sheltered and the zone starts are a bitch); the only blue bubbles in that quadrant are Paajarvi and Sutton. It gives those who believe Paajarvi is a player something to hope for next year.
  • Ryan Jones looks very good by this metric.
  • I can’t get over Taylor Hall’s bubble. That balloon is so big he might fly away!

Okay, I love this thing. I’ve spent hours with it since Saturday (hope I have everything right, please correct me if I’m wrong, last thing I want to do is mislead).

Robert Vollman was on Nation Radio Saturday and did a tremendous job of explaining the graph. I mean splendid. His work is here, by team and with Jonathan Willis and others offering their insight. Tremendous read. And the names of people who impacted this outstanding work range from  Vic Ferrari, Gabe Desjardins, Eric Tulsky, Tom Awad, Timo Seppa, Corey Sznajder, Josh Lile, Derek Zona, John Fischer, Mike Rogers, Derek Jedamski, Aaron Nichols, and Gus Katsaros and a few more I’ve missed.

The Nation Radio interview is here. If this were 1984, and Bill James wrote about hockey, this graph would be in his abstract. This is the new stuff.

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88 Responses to "SLEDGEHAMMER"

  1. bookje says:

    Is a white circle the opposite of blue (I.e a big white circle is really bad) and a tiny circle the midpoint?

  2. Lowetide says:

    boojke: Yes. Bigger the white circle, the worse the pounding. A small circle–like Horcoff’s–is a victory considering who he’s playing. Petrell’s circle tells us he’s bleeding, Whitney too.

  3. bookje says:

    Is a white circle the opposite of blue (I.e a big white circle is really bad) and a tiny circle the midpoint?

    Edit – yes I just found it. Big blue=high positive Corsi and big White is high negative Corsi. Tiny bubble=neutral Corsi

  4. bookje says:

    Lowetide,

    Thanks LT – just looked at the source document. great stuff!

  5. Lowetide says:

    Bookje: It really is! Because it takes all of the jabberwocky out of it! Meat good, jam good!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqq_Wrwo5zw

  6. Kris11 says:

    Yaaaaay for this graph!

    This will help those who don’t understand context and non-boxcar stats a lot. Just a fantastic visualisation of the data.

    Hemsky looks pretty solid on this graph.

  7. Henry says:

    This graph is yet another reason that Hemsky is still the most fearsome guy on the Oilers.

  8. "Steve Smith" says:

    I’m not sure I agree that this makes Jones look good. It certainly establishes that he was used in tough situations, but he did have a pretty negative Corsi. Was his Corsi more or less negative than it should have been, given those tough circumstances? Tough to say. He did a little better than Belanger (who had a rotten season) while playing tougher comp, but his zone starts were a little easier. It’s not a damning indictment of Jones, and I suppose that’s progress.

    This also makes the Gilbert trade look bad, but only because it doesn’t include the axis that shows what a pussy Gilbert was.

  9. Lowetide says:

    SS: This is the best I’ve ever seen Jones. Maybe it’s because I don’t have high expectations, but that’s not a terrible bubble based on the situation. Agree that “situation” has to be factored, might want to have a giant “Lander Anvil” asterisk for some of these fellows.

  10. "Steve Smith" says:

    Also, it has to be admitted that this graph doesn’t exactly lend support to those of us who think that Omark belongs on the Oilers.

  11. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide:
    SS: This is the best I’ve ever seen Jones.

    Yeah, me too – hence my remark about it being progress that it’s not a damning indictment.

  12. sliderule says:

    LT I don’t have the time to go back on a previous topic were your chart showed adjusted for comp corsi for Eberle being way better than Nuge.

    I questioned this at the time and didn’t get a response.

    Vollmans charts jibe with my thinking that as they mostly played together their adjust for comp numbers should be similar.

    After listening to your interview on oilers nation I went to his site and like it a lot.I especially liked his study of carrying the puck over the line rather than shooting it in.

    It would be nice if we had a study done of the oilers.Hemsky and Hall would look pretty good on that metric.

  13. Kris11 says:

    I am not sure whether I’d prefer that the graph use Corsi instead of RelCorsi.

    The graphs already only compare players within a team and the X and Y axes already give you context.

    RelCorsi is a rough and ready way of trying to add context to Corsi. But given that this graph already gives context, using RelCorsi may just create noise and obscure the signal.

    What do you think, LT?

    I’d also be interested to hear what other, especially Tyler, Vic, and the gang think about this.

  14. stevezie says:

    By coincidence, I happened to be playing some Peter Gabriel when i clicked on this article. This graph really is amazing once you understand it. I wonder if every team’s graph is so black and white, as in “Oh, there’s the problem, and there’s the solution.”

    Jones is a perplexing combination of many qualities. In the very least he was a heckuva waiver pickup.

  15. gd says:

    LT,

    These Vollman’s charts are great for us stat-neophytes. Looking at other teams’ usage charts was really interesting. Tyutin’s chart looks awesome. Lots of guys look misused in Buffalo. If the D we need is a shutdown guy, Regher might not be as bad as people have been saying. Kalata also might be underrated. Tallender is another guy who might be worth taking a chance on.

  16. WeridAl says:

    Sounds like Gagner has signed a 4yr 13mil contract.

  17. "Steve Smith" says:

    WeridAl,

    I pronounce myself supportive of that signing, if it’s true.

  18. RENNAVATE says:

    WeridAl:
    Sounds like Gagner has signed a 4yr 13mil contract.

    If true, good deal. Very good deal.

  19. Ducey says:

    Thats a very nice contract if true.

    As for the bubble boys:

    1)Hartikanen played some tough minutes
    2)People should pull their head out of their ass when it comes to Horcoff – by far and away the toughest – he’s way the F over in Alaska.
    3)Gagner doesn’t look too bad – he looks to ahead of the other kids.

    I could see this graph leading to some new slang for the cool kids around here.

    If you play tough comp and poor starts you are playing Alaska minutes.

    Soft minutes and easy zone starts are Ft. Lauderdale minutes. etc.

  20. bookje says:

    WeridAl:
    Sounds like Gagner has signed a 4yr 13mil contract.

    For a minute there, I thought it was a 13 million year $4 contract and thought “That’ s less than a penny a year and is going to be difficult because they are not making pennies any more” and then I thought “The league will probably declare it invalid anyway”.

  21. Lowetide says:

    PLEASE BE TRUE!

  22. rickithebear says:

    Lowetide: boojke: Yes. Bigger the white circle, the worse the pounding. A small circle–like Horcoff’s–is a victory considering who he’s playing. Petrell’s circle tells us he’s bleeding, Whitney too.

    You know what! you can break up the Quality of comp into 12 groups upper, mid and lower comp for all 4 lines.
    Then you can break up the zone starts into 8 segments. say less than 40% to greater than 60%

    you end up with 96 quadrants.

    then you can take the expected average size of circle for GA, Corsi etc.

    Say for the less than 40% zone start against upper comp the average circle would be .9 EVP/60.
    Oh my god this is so amazing.
    i bet you i could give you the averages for offensive production in each of the 96 Quadrants.

    I could tell you that Halls evp/60 circle would be average
    RNH EVP/60 would be below average.
    Eberle EVP/60 would be out of this world.

    But then again most of you think finding the expected size of circles in a given quadrant is a complete waste of time!

  23. nathan says:

    Upper left quadrant is the home of Hemsky and Horcoff. Huge contract to the side Tiny Bubbles looks great there.

    All that chart needs is an arrow sized to movement from last year. Hall has separated himself from the other young ones here.

  24. Beaker says:

    Is the Gagner thing coming from “insiders”….

    Also, I know its not possible but is there any possible way to adjust this for the team as a whole? Edmonton still sucked despite Halls giant balloon.

  25. Lowetide says:

    Thanks, Ricki. I was afraid everyone would like it.

  26. bookje says:

    If the contract is real, can we start to stop assuming that “the oiler management will screw X up” about everything (Hemsky, Smyth, Schultz,Nail, Gags, etc…)?

  27. "Steve Smith" says:

    rickithebear: you end up with 96 quadrants.

    You are making it exceedingly difficult for me to maintain my pledge of abstinence from the whole “I don’t think X means what you think it means” thing.

  28. rickithebear says:

    i thought looking at data sets like this.
    Everyone would be able to visual charts like this in your head.

  29. "Steve Smith" says:

    Beaker: Also, I know its not possible but is there any possible way to adjust this for the team as a whole? Edmonton still sucked despite Halls giant balloon.

    Well, that goes to Kris’s suggestion that we substitute Corsi for RelCorsi. In that case, only Hemsky, Hall, and MPS would have blue bubbles, and they’d be smaller than they are now. Meanwhile, all the white bubbles would be much bigger.

  30. Lowetide says:

    rickithebear: .

    Diane Lane keeps walking in with those crazy tie up shoes and I lose my count!

  31. bookje says:

    “Steve Smith”: You are making it exceedingly difficult for me to maintain my pledge of abstinence from the whole “I don’t think X means what you think it means” thing.

    Lol, nice!

  32. BrazilianOil says:

    If the seasons is finally shorter, have the oilers more chances to be a playoff contender?

  33. jonrmcleod says:

    I hope the guy on the bike was OK.

  34. "Steve Smith" says:

    BrazilianOil:
    If the seasons is finally shorter, have the oilers more chances to be a playoff contender?

    Insofar as a smaller sample size means that statistical anomalies letting inferior teams finish ahead of superior teams are more likely, yes.

  35. Kris11 says:

    I can’t help but think of the song “Tiny Bubbles” now.

  36. rickithebear says:

    96 squares. is that better steve.

  37. bookje says:

    rickithebear:
    i thought looking at data sets like this.
    Everyone would be able to visual charts like this in your head.

    What language are you fluent in?

  38. "Steve Smith" says:

    bookje,

    Poetry.

  39. Lowetide says:

    BrazilianOil:
    If the seasons is finally shorter, have the oilers more chances to be a playoff contender?

    Well if they get off to a hot start like last year, ride luck and timing and the crossroads to 10-2 or whatever it was? In a 50 games season that’s a helluva start. But randomness and luck and the Hockey Gods are evil.

  40. bookje says:

    Is there a source on that Gagner signing?

  41. WeridAl says:

    Starting to sound like this deal with Gagner is bogus, was tweeted by a unreliable source and was retweeted by a number of sources. Sounded to good to be true.

  42. Kris11 says:

    Ricki does write likea beat poet.

    Ninety six quadrants
    Look at his Even strength goals For
    You can’t visualize what you see

  43. Ducey says:

    rickithebear:
    i thought looking at data sets like this.
    Everyone would be able to visual charts like this in your head.

    If you keep seeing everything in quadrants, maybe you are spending too much time looking through your bars.

  44. nathan says:

    Lowetide,

    Probably just the Insiderrrrrrrrrrrr with an eye on JW and some mischief:

    JasonGregor: History shows Gagner and Oilers likely will settle prior to Friday…

    JonathanWillis: OILERSNATION – @jasongregor expects the #Oilers and Sam Gagner to reach a contract agreement before arbitration.

    HockeyyInsiderr(rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr): BREAKING NEWS: #Oilers and Sam Gagner have #AGREED to contract and will avoid arbitration. #CONFIRMED U heard it here 1st #DONEDEAL #HI

    @HockeyyInsiderr: BREAKING Deal for Gagner will be announced within next 48 hrs #CONFIRMED #Oilers Hearing a bit north of $3.5M per year. #MSM late on this1

    @HockeyyInsiderr: Again, #OILERS and #GAGNER have AGREED to contract thus avoiding arbitration. #CONFIRMED #DoneDeal #EDMONTON #HockeyyInsiderr

  45. Lowetide says:

    Now I want to play Duke Nukem.

  46. "Steve Smith" says:

    WeridAl,

    I blame Bookie for demanding a source.

  47. jonrmcleod says:

    You guys are all concerned about dots on a graph WHILE A GUY ON A BIKE IS ENGULFED IN FLAMES!!!

  48. "Steve Smith" says:

    jonrmcleod,

    Sorry; as Oilers fans, we’ve trained ourselves to let spectacular tragedy blend into the background.

  49. Lowetide says:

    jonrmcleod:
    You guys are all concerned about dots on a graph WHILE A GUY ON A BIKE IS ENGULFED IN FLAMES!!!

    I think it’s just the lighting.

  50. nathan says:

    When a hockeybuzz blogger calls you out you’re really out of control:

    @rdcloutier: The #Oilers and #Gagner re-signing deal being reported on Twitter is false. No comfirmation at this time. Don’t believe the hype…not yet.

  51. Traktor says:

    This thread needs more Marc Pouliot.

  52. Lowetide says:

    I think Cloutier’s okay. Seems a reasonable sort.

  53. gogliano says:

    Ales Hemsky is a good hockey player.

    I’m also ok with Andy Sutton as a 6/7.

    And when Taylor Hall has a better season than Jordan Eberle next year we shouldn’t be surprised.

  54. nathan says:

    Lowetide,

    He’s more rational than Eklund (e5)

  55. BrazilianOil says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    I was thinking that for the young ones could be easier to play less games and for a motivational coach like krueger seems to be, the work will be more succesful in a short period.

  56. jonrmcleod says:

    From Gene Principe (breaker of the J. Schultz signing) on Twitter:

    NOTHING OFFICIAL but some in the blogsphere reporting Oilers sign Sam Gagner to a 4-yr/$13M contract extension. Not confirmed or denied yet

  57. Lowetide says:

    But that’s probably just Gene picking up on the dink message.

  58. WeridAl says:

    Lowetide:
    I think Cloutier’s okay. Seems a reasonable sort.

    Your kidding right

  59. jonrmcleod says:

    Stauffer now chimes in on Twitter:

    Getting tweets saying Gagner has signed. As of 6PM tonite that is false

  60. WeridAl says:

    Stauffer just tweeted the Gagner signing is bogus

  61. "Steve Smith" says:

    WeridAl,

    I think he’s serious, but he also thinks that Shawn Horcoff’s a better tough minutes option than Anton Lander.

  62. jonrmcleod says:

    WeridAl,

    Stauffer said a couple of months ago that he thought Cloutier “isn’t completely out to lunch.” Not sure if that’s an endorsement or not.

  63. WeridAl says:

    jonrmcleod:
    WeridAl,

    Stauffer said a couple of months ago that he thought Cloutier “isn’t completely out to lunch.” Not sure if that’s an endorsement or not.

    I thought I never say this, but I agree with Stauffer about Cloutier.

  64. WeridAl says:

    Gregor just talked to the Gagner camp and the story is false. Gagner is still negotiating.

  65. Lowetide says:

    Just doing a little looking around about Tiegan Zahn–a player signed for OKC today–and found this on Justin Schultz from his draft year:

    http://nhldraftnotes.blogspot.ca/2008/06/schultz-justin-d-westside.html

  66. Lowetide says:

    And the same scout on Colten Teubert, same draft year
    http://nhldraftnotes.blogspot.ca/2008/05/teubert-colten-d-regina.html

  67. gogliano says:

    Lowetide,

    Just doing a little looking around about Tiegan Zahn–a player signed for OKC today–and found this on Justin Schultz from his draft year:
    http://nhldraftnotes.blogspot.ca/2008/06/schultz-justin-d-westside.html

    Sounds like a DSF interpretation of J. Schultz on about July 1.

  68. jp says:

    Ducey:

    2)People should pull their head out of their ass when it comes to Horcoff – by far and away the toughest – he’s way the F over in Alaska.

    I could see this graph leading to some new slang for the cool kids around here.

    If you play tough comp and poor starts you are playing Alaska minutes.

    Can’t believe Horc hasn’t gotten more love tonight. Those results are extremely impressive given his ZS and QoC. Hope for improvement if they don’t ride him so hard whenever the NHL reconvenes.

    And Ducey, Horcoff may be playing in Alaska, but you can’t start you’re own trends :).

    rickithebear:
    You know what! you can break up the Quality of comp into 12 groups upper, mid and lowercomp for all 4 lines.
    Then you can break up the zone starts into 8 segments. say less than 40% to greater than 60%

    you end up with 96 quadrants.

    Ricki, you’re mind certainly works differently than mine, but I like it! Let us know if you do a full comparison of what’s expected from each player from his ZS and QoC.

    PS – Got lots of hope that Rieder will be a player due to you’re GPG observations. Did some looking on my own, and his scoring rate, at that age does put him amongst some very solid players.

  69. justDOit says:

    So by this chart, is Omark still a bubble player?

  70. Lowetide says:

    Wasn’t Alaska once owned by those filthy Russians?

  71. Woodguy says:

    gd,

    Regher might not be as bad as people have been saying. Kalata also might be underrated. Tallender is another guy who might be worth taking a chance on.

    While Regher took on tough competition, he got significantly out-shot, that’s why his bubble is clear (out-shot) and large (by a lot)

    Sekera on BUF has a nice bubble in the right location (am I sure I’m not talking about girls in yoga pants?)

    Look at that Gilbert guy, tough minutes, coming out ahead. Rare Dman, glad he’s on the team.

    Also,

    In terms of tough minutes (upper left quadrant), most players don’t put up a blue bubble. Its the toughest role in hockey.

    In terms of the best centers in the league at it, look at the bubbles for Staal (PIT) and Bakes (STL).

    Lordy

  72. jp says:

    justDOit:
    So by this chart, is Omark still a bubble player?

    Omark is putrid by this chart. But I’m pretty sure sample size variations apply here as pretty much everywhere else (just 14 GP). I imagine a chart like this from last year would suggest an NHL hockey player.

  73. serum114 says:

    Lowetide:
    Wasn’t Alaska once owned by those filthy Russians?

    Not sure, but you can see Russia from Sarah Palin’s place, so it’s close ;-)

  74. gd says:

    Woodguy,

    The commentary on Buffalo’s report implied they didn’t think Ruff was utilizing the team effectively and Regher, because he was always out on tough and Dzone situations and with very few players on Buff driving the play, his bubble makes sense and he wasn’t as bad as his stats implied.

    Ever since the Oil signed Schultz I’ve been torn about what type of D the Oil should acquire, whether it be a puck carrier, as Whitney insurance, or shutdown guy. The biggest reason I want a vet D is so they can give Klefbom one more year, so he’s not rushed. My feeling is Tyutin is still the best guy they could get, without giving up very much. Sekera would be next in line, though I have no idea what he would cost. My feeling is the best fit would be a slightly overpaid guy with one or two more years on his contract playing on a team that has too many Dmen on their roster. That’s why guys like Regher, Bouwmeester and Tallender might be good fits.

  75. DSF says:

    gd:
    Woodguy,

    The commentary on Buffalo’s report implied they didn’t think Ruff was utilizing the team effectively and Regher, because he was always out on tough and Dzone situations and with very few players on Buff driving the play, his bubble makes sense and he wasn’t as bad as his stats implied.

    Ever since the Oil signed Schultz I’ve been torn about what type of D the Oil should acquire, whether it be a puck carrier, as Whitney insurance, or shutdown guy. The biggest reason I want a vet D is so they can give Klefbom one more year, so he’s not rushed. My feeling is Tyutin is still the best guy they could get, without giving up very much. Sekera would be next in line, though I have no idea what he would cost.My feeling is the best fit would be a slightly overpaid guy with one or two more years on his contract playing on a team that has too many Dmen on their roster. That’s why guys like Regher, Bouwmeester and Tallender might be good fits.

    You just described Keith Ballard….step right up…

  76. Gerta Rauss says:

    DSF,

    Ballard is signed until the sun burns out…pass.

  77. Traktor says:

    gd:
    Woodguy,

    The biggest reason I want a vet D is so they can give Klefbom one more year, so he’s not rushed. My feeling is Tyutin is still the best guy they could get, without giving up very much.

    Sorry to jump in your discussion with Woodguy but are you aware that Tyutin has 6 years left on his contract? He might not be the best fit if you’re just looking for a stopgap until Klefbom is ready.

    I agree that we could probably pick him up for relatively cheap but to honest I would rather overpay for the right player on the right contract.

  78. Dee Dee says:

    On a sadder note, Deep Purple’s keyboardist, Jon Lord passed away today.
    Sweet Child in Time was one of my Favorites.

  79. gd says:

    Traktor,

    Tyutin’s Vollman’s usage chart looks outstanding, and I think his contract is why he might be cheap to obtain as Cbus has a surplus of Dmen. His cap hit is good as long as he is an effective top 4 Dman and my feeling is if the wheels fall off in a few years Katz can better afford to bury him in the AHL ala Redden than Cbus can and he might go to the KHL in that situation.

  80. TheOtherJohn says:

    Blake Comeau had good Vollman #’s both with NYI and in Calgary

  81. mick swagger says:

    finally its solved halls bubble is bigger th
    an seguins

  82. art vandelay says:

    Where is the large white bubble that says “29th”

  83. mike.c33 says:

    Lowetide,

    Correct me if I am wrong but doesn’t it say on the second page of the Player Usage Charts 2011-12 PDF under the heading “What is Quality of Competition (Vertical Axis)?” that they used Relative Corsi for this chart?

  84. till_horcoff_is_coach says:

    Definitely does, and while useful rel corsi is influenced by line chart depth as much as talent.

    This chart looks very useful at determining how players were deployed and the results achieved but less useful in determining raw ability. So Hall is clearly the best option on lw. Play Yak as lw next year vs softs and Halls bubble shrinks, even if he has a better season.

  85. russ99 says:

    Makes me wonder why Eager, Hordichuk and Petrell are still on the roster… Couldn’t we have gotten something better for our 4th line in FA for around the same salary?

  86. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    Great graphic. Petrell sucks. That is all.

  87. DSF says:

    mick swagger:
    finally its solved halls bubble is bigger th
    an seguins

    But Wellwood’s blue ball is bigger than Gagner’s.

    Go figure.

  88. Beaker says:

    DSF,

    Gagner has blue balls? He should do something about that, might give him the edge over wellwood in this epic battle.

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