TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD

Today on the Lowdown, my guest between 11 and noon will be Rob Vollman. Rob has a new book out (Hockey Abstract 2014) and has agreed to open up the phone lines and emails and texts to answer questions. I’m hopeful you take advantage, because access like this isn’t often presented, and Vollman is the real deal.

  • Rob Vollman, Hockey Abstract 2014: When Taylor Hall asked how he could improve his Corsi, the analytics community was already ready and waiting with his answer: controlled zone entries. Entering the opposing zone in possession of the puck, and denying that same privilege to your opponents, is an obvious way of improving a player’s or team’s shot differential.

Vollman’s second edition digs deeper into questions like this one, and tells us exactly where we are in real time. That’s the beauty of his second book in my opinion, another snapshot after a year of unbelievable progress. A lot has been made recently about the scramble caused by Extra Skater, but I think the advanced stats community has been very open with information and how to gather it. If we as a community (those of us not pursuing this as a career) don’t grasp the words and music, then we need to ask out loud. Today is a great opportunity, and I sincerely hope you contact us during the show, or as a followup with Rob.

ZONE ENTRIES 2013-14 (VOLLMAN)

vollman graphThis is also in the Vollman book, percentage of zone entries (pro and against) and percentage overall. Edmonton scores extremely well in this area, that’s another discussion point for the group. I think the good number may be as a result of in-season change in philosophy by coach Dallas Eakins. Ladies, we are us. I’m as guilty as anyone, waiting around for the Dellows and the Vollmans and the Tulskys to deliver Bill James Baseball Abstract in hockey form. Tell me something good, as Chaka Khan sang all those years ago. I’m never going to scrape the stats, or mine the data, or whatever in hell you people call it, but I can ask questions before all of this goes behind the Bettman wall. Adult learner? Yeah baby!

Let’s get started. 11am. Same bat time, same bat channel.

 THE BLUE THE BLUE THE BLUE

I had a chat with Jason Strudwick on his show last night, and we discussed the blue line. Struds is great on this subject, because he was there defending the sorties. One thing that Jason impressed upon me during our conversation: Young defensemen make mistakes and are inconsistent. We know this, but in the context of next season’s team there’s certainly a large question on the horizon. It goes like this:

  • Who do you play on the No. 1 pairing with Jeff Petry this coming season?

I’m inclined to go with Marincin until someone takes it away. Andrew Ference lacks the footspeed, and we can’t assume Nikitin can do the job until he’s established some kind of a reputation in our town. Klefbom is a possibility, but he has even less experience than Marincin (and a less impressive block of NHL games). Nurse? That’s the deep end, unwise and best not to even contemplate.

It’s Marincin from here.

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER, 2013-14 BLUE

oilers defense 13-14 with klefbom

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

cat mirror

It’s a fun day, hope you can tune in 10-noon on TSN 1260. We’ll begin with Steve Lansky from Big Mouth Sports and talk US Open tennis and the changes in hockey television coverage this year. Brian King (PDO!) follows as we tee up the Labor Day classic and the football weekend. In hour two, it’s Vollman and your questions, along with a thorough look at his new book. 10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. See you on the radio!

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26 Responses to "TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD"

  1. Bar_Qu says:

    According to @TSNBobMcKenzie 3.675 million for Schultz.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) August 29, 2014

    yuck

    With the caveat that, if this is only one year, it is only yuck, instead of vomitous.

  2. DirtyOil says:

    What about pairing Petry – Fayne, Nikitin – Marincin, Schultz – Ference.

    Bury Petry – Fayne in their own zone
    Give Schultz – Ference all the OZ starts they can handle
    Give the rest to Nikitin – Marincin.

    With this arrangement:
    You play to Petry, Fayne, and Schultz’s strengths
    Hopefully Ference doesn’t get exposed
    Marincin gets time to learn the game and become the two-way defensemen he is meant to be
    Nikitin gets a chance to redeem himself and create an identity.

  3. thejonrmcleod says:

    “YKNOW I GUESS THE NEW GEEK SCIENTISTS FER EDMENTEN OILERS THINK THIS JUSTIN SHULTZ IS GOOD FER SOME REASON”–Don Cherry Parody (@DonCherryParody)

    I wonder what the guy who runs that account *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* really thinks about the deal?

  4. Lois Lowe says:

    I guess you can have an entire defence corps making ~4 million.

  5. flyfish1168 says:

    True to Oiler tradition 3.675 for Justin. Way to much when he is a cut below P.K.

  6. jp says:

    Bar_Qu: yuck

    With the caveat that, if this is only one year, it is only yuck, instead of vomitous.

    It’s not so bad. I don’t know how you can expect the guy to take a pay cut after playing him 23+ min a night. No matter how bad his defensive game is.

  7. vinotintazo says:

    I had Schultz Making 3,875,000 In my Capgeek roster. I guess 3,675,000 is ok.

    good thing we can move on now.

  8. russ99 says:

    Was expecting the cap hit for Schultz, but one year helps nobody. Two years at that cap hit would have been a lot better.

    Can’t wait for this fun to start all over next year. :(

    And it will be worse. He’ll either play better and expect the moon or the catcalls to dump him will be louder.

    Sad to say, this reminds me of MacT’s similar contract negotiation mistake with Gagner that led us to getting 25 cents on the dollar in the end.

  9. flyfish1168 says:

    If I was Petry I would be a bit disappointed when he is the Best d-man in town. But we now move on and get to enjoy this all over again next summer.

    By next summer we may end up with both being gone from this team for 2015-16 season

  10. Hammers says:

    If that number is correct we would have $ 4.182.500 .00 left .Take of bonus money for Yak & Leon and there isn’t going t be much left especially if they both hit say $ 1.5 mil and they both have that potential . Real question is how long for Schultz ? God if I was Petry I would be a bit pissed looking at his fellow “D” numbers . If its 1 year its a million to much so hopefully its for 2 or 3 .

  11. Hammers says:

    russ99:
    Was expecting the cap hit for Schultz, but one year helps nobody. Two years at that cap hit would have been a lot better.

    Can’t wait for this fun to start all over next year.

    And it will be worse. He’ll either play better and expect the moon or the catcalls to dump him will be louder.

    Sad to say, this reminds me of MacT’s similar contract negotiation mistake with Gagner that led us to getting 25 cents on the dollar in the end.

    Hell we were overpaid in getting Purcell

  12. Maverick says:

    Bar_Qu: yuck

    With the caveat that, if this is only one year, it is only yuck, instead of vomitous.

    The contract is only $425,000 more than Ference. Just sayin’ :-P
    Both are not great contracts. I was hoping for more around $3.0-3.2 for Schultz.

  13. vinotintazo says:

    put Johensuu on waivers, to balance JS’s Contract.

  14. rickithebear says:

    Fuck!

    we just Paid 3.675M for the tenth worst defensive Dman in the game.

    HIs. .92 EVGA/GM means our other two D pairs have to be .36 EVGA/gm
    Both D pairs have to Perform at 0.72 EVGA/60 to match LAK 3D pair performance.
    1.28 EVGA/GM

    Impossible!

    Guess we are paying Schultz 3.675M to be a 3rd pair PP specialist.

    If Ramsey can turn his Defnsive bo protection around. Facing 2nd comp.

    I take all this back!

  15. Pouzar says:

    Hello All.
    Southern Ontario is a nice spot. Can see me finding a small town down here to retire in. Any suggestions?

    Welcome back Schultz.

  16. PunjabiOil says:

    Would have preferred it 2 years at this price.

    I think it’s more of a sign of goodwill – not entirely convinced on the player, but the hope is he develops and takes a more friendly long-term deal when negotiating the longer term contract next summer.

    Smid remarked how he appreciated the Oilers paying him an additional 500K/year from what he anticipated on his 2 year bridge deal.

    The Oilers are nowhere near the cap – so I suspect this might be the motive. Otherwise makes no sense – they had the leverage.

  17. Bag of Pucks says:

    Here’s the thing with Taylor Hall carrying the puck in via the optimal ‘controlled zone entry.’

    When something is so obviously to the benefit of the attacking team, the defense is going to modify it’s tactics and positioning in an attempt to take that away. The Oilers gameplan can’t simply be give the puck to Hall in the neutral zone and let him pressure the D with his speed. Doing so makes them one-dimensional and predictable.

    This is why Dellow’s analysis of dump-ins impacting Hall’s corsi seemed very chicken and egg to me. Was Hall losing corsi effectiveness because of some alleged team philosophy to dump the puck in more, or was Hall simply left too often with nothing but a poor dump-in option as team’s skewed their defensive zone coverage to deny him controlled zone entry?

    Imo, Eakins needs to create far more attacking options centered around Hall’s speed and the team needs to vary those up to keep the opposition on its toes. Imagine a scenario where Nuge is shooting a well placed soft dump-in on Hall’s wing. If you’re a D-tasked with turning to retrieve that puck with Hall bearing down on you at full RPM, that is a nightmare scenario every bit as worrisome as defending Hall on the rush.

    Hall’s speed and skill is so over the top, using him as a possession option only limits his effectiveness. He can easily be one of the best puck retrieval players in the league as well, and most importantly, using him in both fashions maximizes his strengths. This is where I would hope Eakins and Dellow can have productive discussions (i.e. analytics informed by tactical game-planning and opposition scouting).

    Taylor Hall is like Randy Moss. Defensive zone coverage will spend significant resources on game planning to take him away. The key is to give the player options so the defense can’t do that. In football, if they rotate a safety over to double team him, you run the WR underneath that coverage with crossing patterns, picks and bubble screens. When they walk the coverage up tight to take that away, you go over the top. More importantly, if a team can matchup well against Hall’s strength – say for example, they have a very fast D man like Subban that can pressure him at the blueline, than you tweak the gameplan accordingly to maximize Hall’s outlet pass options. In other words, when teams over rotate to take away Hall, that should create space for Nuge and Ebs and the gameplan is to maximize Hall’s strengths as a passer and playmaker.

    Saying Taylor Hall should simply carry the puck in all the time is too simplistic a conclusion to a complex and fluid problem imo

  18. russ99 says:

    Hammers,

    We had to take on Purcell’s contract, which could end up a $4.5M boat anchor next year, especially when that could be used to bring in someone better when we’ll be in a much bigger cap crunch having to extend Yak, Schultz, Marincin and Arcobello.

    I’m hopeful he can keep up those numbers when not playing with Stamkos. We’ll see.

  19. Jordan says:

    Pouzar:
    Hello All.
    Southern Ontario is a nice spot. Can see me finding a small town down here to retire in. Any suggestions?

    Welcome back Schultz.

    Guelph is a nice university town, so it’s got some of the intellegencia feel that many other small towns lack. As you hang out here, I expect that may appeal. Not sure about prices, but it seemed like an interesting place on my visit to it.

  20. Lowetide says:

    “I think for our franchise it was a good compromise.” Craig MacTavish on J.Schultz’ one year-$3.675 million dollar deal.
    We wanted to do as an organization is buy ourselves a little time…..
    I think he’s going to be a great player and a great Oiler.”
    I disagree with the perception on the defensive side of things. I’ve always believed he’s very good defensively.
    He showed me at the end of last season he was managing the decisions on when to probe.
    That gap is significant (dollars)
    Justin schultz has Norris trophy potential.
    “He’s going to give Justin a very experienced perspective.” – MacT on new assistant coach Craig Ramsay working with #Oilers blueliners
    $4m in cap space is left on the cap
    “I disagree with the analytics on our group.”
    “Possession and points in the standings are directly correlated”

    Last two quotes are a disconnect imo.

  21. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    “I disagree with the analytics on our group.”
    “Possession and points in the standings are directly correlated”

    That’s just bizarre.

    Maybe he’s convinced that they are a better possession team than what everyone is guessing (using last year as the jumping off point)

    This line is concerning:

    I disagree with the perception on the defensive side of things. I’ve always believed he’s very good defensively.

    He’s:

    1) Lying
    2) Allowing his hope to color his perception
    3) Not paying attention

    I hope its 1.

    This may be like a parent who can’t see what a rotten child they really have.

    Man.

  22. flyfish1168 says:

    PunjabiOil:
    Would have preferred it 2 years at this price.

    I think it’s more of a sign of goodwill – not entirely convinced on the player, but the hope is he develops and takes a more friendly long-term deal when negotiating the longer term contract next summer.

    Smid remarked how he appreciated the Oilers paying him an additional 500K/year from what he anticipated on his 2 year bridge deal.

    The Oilers are nowhere near the cap – so I suspect this might be the motive. Otherwise makes no sense – they had the leverage.

    I like your comment about good will signing from the Oilers part. But Justin and his agent does NOT seem like the kind of partnership that will look at it this way. They probably feel they left lots on the table and look out for next summer. to bad it didn’t go to arbitration and then the Oilers can show him how brutal he is on the defensive zone and his potential in the offensive zone so far is far from near the top in the NHL.

  23. Pouzar says:

    Jordan,

    I am in Cambridge hanging with friends. Just back from Niagra Falls. Went to into a nice little
    English pub in St George last evening. Spent a couple nights in Caledon. So many nice secluded towns with easy access to the larger big city amenities. Very nice.

    Thx for the feedback!

  24. Woodguy says:

    Travis Yost with a great graph in response to MacT saying Shultz is a potential Norris winner.

    All data is 2nd years pts/gm and RelCor

    https://twitter.com/TravisHeHateMe/status/505399177195450369

    Its not really close.

    Actually Radko Gudas is close:

    https://twitter.com/TravisHeHateMe/status/505402036062404609

  25. flyfish1168 says:

    Woodguy,

    After seeing that graft I wonder

    Was that MacT’s statement or Justin’s agent from Newport sports making that statement and MacT repeating it?

  26. Jordan says:

    flyfish1168:
    Woodguy,

    After seeing that graft I wonder

    Was that MacT’s statement or Justin’s agent from Newport sports making that statement and MacT repeating it?

    I want to see a comic of Donnie Meehan (I don’t know if that’s actually Meehan, but its always him) hiding under a podium with a MacT hand puppet talking to the media (with the Norris Trophy quote in a speech bubble) and big old sack of money with the Oilers logo on it and a 9M next contract goal sticking out of his briefcase.

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