PERSONAL OPINION

by Lowetide

Every now and then, someone will ask me to post my personal opinion about the Oilers and what they should do moving forward. The blog, as you know, is kind of driven by a combination of prevailing wisdom and trying to figure out what the hell this team is trying to do at any given time.

I don’t often prattle on about what I think for several reasons. First, I don’t have all of the information. Second, when I do make a suggestion (find balance, sign Demers, keep your powder dry) it never works that way so at some point it becomes a colossal waste of time. Too many options, plus I always remember the time Earl Weaver and Whitey Herzog won World Series in completely different ways.

I write mostly about possible options, and after that wait to see what the people in charge do to fix the problems. I hope one day to see the team achieve balance, that is one thing that has eluded the town team for a decade and a little bit. That said, here are 10 things I think Peter Chiarelli should do between now and the trade deadline.

  1. Improve the backup goalie situation. It is very dangerous to be exposed at such an important position. Edmonton has a chance at the playoffs, goalies are close to free, and Jonas Gustavsson does not have the confidence of the coach.
  2. Trade Kris Russell for a second-round pick. The coach is developing an attachment to him, and Chiarelli is actually doing a reasonable job of collecting defensemen (Larsson, Benning added to Sekera, Klefbom, Davidson, Nurse). In today’s NHL you need a pick every round just to keep pace, and PC has the dual job of improving the NHL team and building a prospect cupboard that is badly lacking. I believe he has the scouting staff, wise for him to invest in that group with a timely trade of Russell.
  3. Run the Nuge inside the top 6F for the rest of the season. Pretty clear, that for all of his offensive acumen, 93 is no longer focusing enough on that side of the game. Since checkers are easier to find, Chiarelli would be wise to find one—Hanzal if you can—and see what a top 6F of Maroon—McDavid—Leon, Lucic—Nuge—Eberle can do over the last 46 games.
  4. Recognize that the high risk trade is not working for him. He can recover from the Reinhart and Hall trades, but is burning daylight on this rebuild. If Chiarelli gets less than 100 cents on the dollar for Nuge or Klefbom—and those are his next available assets—he may not be around for the good times. No matter what the reputation (Stanleys have high value, and Chiarelli has one), you can’t keep bleeding out on the big trades.
  5. Push the coach to play Jesse Puljujarvi. I expect the decision has already been made, but honestly this kid can play right now. I have a growing suspicion we are dealing with a 25-25-50 winger instead of a 35-35-70, but his two-way acumen will be valuable all the same. I look at JP the same way Sather looked at the 1994 draft: Edmonton didn’t need to hit a home run there, just needed to make damn good and sure that the picks can play. Puljujarvi can play, let him do it.
  6. Send down Drake Caggiula. He is a little lost. No harm, no foul, I really like this young player. He is not helping, is all.
  7. Get creative on the RH shot for the power play. I would rather see Mr. Chiarelli acquire Brandon Montour than Dennis Wideman, and would further consider it reasonable for him to invest some of the future to get said player. Looking for a long-term solution is still the right thing to do for this building team.
  8. Keep the powder dry on rentals at the deadline. Dealing for a Montour makes sense, that player will hang around for a long time (potentially). I think it is unwise (goalie slot aside) to spend draft picks inside the top 100 for short-term improvements. Are we sure Jarome Iginla (who I love as a player, btw) will score more than Anton Slepyshev? Why risk making a move with low payoff now and later? One exception: Hanzal.
  9. Sell off all available UFA veterans as soon as possible. If the Oilers can send away Matt Hendricks now, they should do so, allowing Anton Lander and or Jujhar Khaira to stay here the rest of the year.
  10. Find the analytics guy who tells you what you don’t want to hear, not the one who agrees with you. I have no idea if PC listened to Tyler Dellow, but am sure as hell certain the analytics guy was giving strong readings on the tea leaves when in Edmonton’s employ. This isn’t some simple freaking task, some pretty smart people are wrong every damned day on this stuff and get exposed in the years that follow. This is damned serious, way more serious than some verbal spat over Corsi online. If you are wrong on a player, you are wrong forever. The most important thing about the analytics guy is that he is reading the data correctly. Seriously. That’s it. Peter Chiarelli’s recent quotes on Kris Russell should be making the sweat run down the crack of your ass 24-7 if you are an Oilers fan.

These are my opinions.

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Roughneck

Woodguy:
Georges,

Here’s some very good reading on whether or not Dman effect SV%

https://hockey-graphs.com/2014/07/07/defensemen-still-have-no-sustainable-control-over-save-percentage/

Good read.

Woodguy

norm_klassen,

Most those player’s play with Price, Dubnyk; and Lundquist as there goalies. U know the best of the best goslies of the nhl.

Yessir, add to that Guenin, Holden and Barrie (just outside the top 10) played with Varly when he single handedly won them the Central.

norm_klassen

Woodguy:
Georges,

If your hypothesis is that “players control their ONSH% and ONSV% and therefore PDO is an indication of player ability, the first thing you should do is look at how your hypothesis ranks players.

Here’s the top 10 PDO players over the last 4 seasons (including this one) with the seasons aggregated:

GUENIN, NATE102.6
DUMBA, MATT102.4
MILLER, KEVAN102.1
MAATTA, OLLI101.9
SPURGEON, JARED101.8
MCDONAGH, RYAN101.7
LINDHOLM, HAMPUS101.7
MARKOV, ANDREI101.6
HOLDEN, NICK101.6
RUSSELL, KRIS101.6

The best Dman is a AHL journeyman who stuck with the Avs for the years Varly was red hot?

Nick Holden also played most of his hockey in front of Varly.

Etc.

Does it pass the smell test off the hop?

</block quote
Most those player's play with Price, Dubnyk; and Lundquist as there goalies. U know the best of the best goslies of the nhl.

Professor Q

It would be pretty crazy indeed if Minnesota and Columbus met in the Cup Finals.

Gagner vs. Dubnyk…

Woodguy

Georges:
Woodguy,

These two big caveats are so big they’re enormous.

When hockey fans talk about regressing to the mean, I think they’re thinking that all players have similar talent levels and their performances are random draws from a common performance distribution. This is what PDO is luck implies. If you accept that view, you don’t think that percentage data is going to tell you anything. It’s just noise. You don’t use it in your decision-making.

The two big caveats show you that sometimes talent gaps are wide enough even at the NHL level that they give you a sustained edge in performance. These exceptions are really valuable if you can detect them before they’re apparent to everyone (i.e., get good players). And it’s important to value these edges appropriately once you believe you’ve detected them (i.e., keep good players).

I think the best things to do are:

1) Have Carey Price in net (heh)
2) Hire high career SH% players and stop using checkers

Woodguy

Georges,

If your hypothesis is that “players control their ONSH% and ONSV% and therefore PDO is an indication of player ability, the first thing you should do is look at how your hypothesis ranks players.

Here’s the top 10 PDO players over the last 4 seasons (including this one) with the seasons aggregated:

GUENIN, NATE 102.6
DUMBA, MATT 102.4
MILLER, KEVAN 102.1
MAATTA, OLLI 101.9
SPURGEON, JARED 101.8
MCDONAGH, RYAN 101.7
LINDHOLM, HAMPUS 101.7
MARKOV, ANDREI 101.6
HOLDEN, NICK 101.6
RUSSELL, KRIS 101.6

The best Dman is a AHL journeyman who stuck with the Avs for the years Varly was red hot?

Nick Holden also played most of his hockey in front of Varly.

Etc.

Does it pass the smell test off the hop?

PhrankLee

Hopefully they aren’t buyers at the deadline.

Hopefully they aren’t sellers at the deadline.

I would be happy if they let this group fight it out with the exception of Hendricks.

If he is up to speed by the deadline I bet you could get a second for him.

It would be sad to see him go. We desperately need picks.

I did not have them making the playoffs this year but have seen great progress toward a winning product. The goal differential, so far, is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

I hope they work the kinks out of Klefbom pronto because I have not liked the timing of his mistakes…way more than the mistakes themselves.

Woodguy
Woodguy

russ99,

Can we at least agree that CF% doesn’t tell the whole story, especially for defensemen, and that we shouldn’t expect the team to make decisions solely based on that metric? Sure it’s the best predictor for goals that we have now, but we have to think about offense and defense if we want to see playoff dates, not just offense.

I think everyone here can agree with that.

We also see with teams like PIT and CBJ that the best defence can be not letting the other guys have the puck much.

Woodguy

Georges,

. Now he’s playing with an experienced partner and a capable goaltender and the results are still coming up short

When I showed Oscar’s PDO per 9 games, he was well over 100 for one section, way, way below for another, about even in another, and then slightly below again.

In front of the same goalie, Russell was way, way above in one, above in a second, way below in 2.

You’re chasing noise imo.

Woodguy

Georges: Do you think there’s any relationship between time-on-ice and PDO? The coach controls time-on-ice. If he’s not chasing PDO, we should see no relationship. If he’s chasing PDO and he’s no good at it or it’s hopeless, we should see no relationship. Correct?

Probably not.

The players who play the most tend to have the highest SH%, so it *might* be smidge higher (when controlled for SV%)

These players also tend to play the most against the players with the highest SH%, so it might wash out.

Centre of attention

hunter1909,

You had me down for 90 points right?

I still feel like that’s a solid prediction 3 months in.

spoiler

hunter1909,

The one bright side is that during trade negotiations Chia can point to their success when getting lowballed because “Oiler losering”.

hunter1909

Dubnyk, Gagner, Schultz… all starring for other NHL teams than the Edmonton retarded Oilers.

Taylor Hall will be hell bent to destroy the Oilers in a brace of upcoming New Year’s games.

MacT’s “challenging” Petry needs it’s very own wing in Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame.

On the bright side: Connor McDavid. Then, Connor McDavid, and Connor McDavid. As well as Connor McDavid, Connor McDavid, and Connor freaking McDavid.

Also, Draisraitl looks to be our Oiler’s own version of Jean Beliveau. Also, the Oilers currently sit in solid playoff position. When exactly was that happening?

Happy New Year from the Hunter1909 Death March – which will return in 2017 bigger than better than ever imagined before.

J-Bo

Middle of the night indigestion gave me time to read through all the comments. Nice thread! The Klefbomb trade talk made me wonder if we would be better off if we could trade Klefbomb for that RHD we need. For instance, is this better:

Sekera – Larsson
Nurse – Trouba
Davidson – Benning

This is misleading I suppose as it isn’t possible, but it also makes me wonder what Klefbom’s value is on the market. Could he bring in a legit RHD like Trouba at this point?

Gret99zky

Centre of attention: This game against the Kings Thursday is going to be a doozey isn’t it.

Will the Oilers be rested or rusty?

We wait.

New Improved Darkness

VOR:
The most interesting thing I read this year was a brilliant analysis of the rates at which athletes’ skills deteriorate.

I filed your post under “VOR meh analytics manifesto”. Nice contrarian synopsis.

However, please name the “thing”, or what he answers to, whether it’s URL or dog biscuits (or worse).

russ99

Can we at least agree that CF% doesn’t tell the whole story, especially for defensemen, and that we shouldn’t expect the team to make decisions solely based on that metric? Sure it’s the best predictor for goals that we have now, but we have to think about offense and defense if we want to see playoff dates, not just offense.

I get the idea of using advanced metrics to get a clearer picture, but why are we using that one as the hill to die on, when others have more context, and again, that old Earl Weaver vs. Whitey Herzog thingy…

So here’s mine:

1. Send Puljujarvi to Bakersfield, it’s really the best place to send him to find his offense, He’s not going to find it without Connor, and isn’t finding it with Connor either, Russia is really bad idea, he needs to get acclimated to North American hockey. Bakersfield may not be the most welcoming city, and there may be apprehension with the coaching staff there, but let him play with Lander while he’s there.

2. Keep Kris Russell right where he is, and no contract offers until the expansion draft, if we can find someone better, let him go, if not, he’s an NHL defensman and has arguably done the most to limit opposition chances after entry, though Larsson seems to be coming around too.

3. Matt Benning has had a nice start, but he’s still a rookie, let’s not repeat old mistakes pushing a kid into a role that he’s not ready for, especially since the only basis for doing so is CF%. Let him develop in a third line role and we’ll be happier with what we have next season.

4. Enough with the line blender every single game, find groups that work and stick with them until someone either needs a break or gets hurt,

5. Play Gustafsson more if you’re going to keep him otherwise replace him.

6. Find a NHL right winger with a good shot.

7. Beg borrow or steal to get takers for MacT’s free agents (Pouliot, Fayne) so we have more salary flexibility for expansion trades and free agency.

Centre of attention

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
Burns with a beauty of an OT winner. 3 point game Sharks over Ducks not helping the Oilers any, but it is fun to scoreboard watch again.

This game against the Kings Thursday is going to be a doozey isn’t it.

LadiesloveSmid

Cam Talbot is a 53.3% CF away from Russell (45.3% with), Gustavsson 53.8% without (46.1% with). Some of that is competition but come on. Get rid of him.

Burns with a beauty of an OT winner. 3 point game Sharks over Ducks not helping the Oilers any, but it is fun to scoreboard watch again.

JimmyV1965

With the expansion draft coming up, there’s no GM in the league giving Russell a NMC. As much as I lack confidence in Chia right now, I would be shocked if he gave Russell a NMC. It just doesn’t make sense to give a 4D a NMC.

Centre of attention

Benson wins the face off in overtime, helps set up Ty Ronning for the OT winner.

MacT is coaching this team I swear. Benson is now a center apparently.

Finishes the night with 2 assists, now 39 pts in 30 games

Centre of attention

Alpine,

Talking box cars, yes I see what you mean.

I think Benson will be a short study in the AHL.

Alpine

D'oh-ilers:
I’m neither for nor against extending Russell, but I would be reluctant to move him this season if the Oil are still in the playoff hunt at the deadline. Regardless of what the fancy stat analysts or seen him good crowd have to say on the subject, right now Russell is performing some sort of voodoo that keeps the points coming. I’d rather see a hard playoff push and lose him this summer for nothing, than to jinx the good thing he’s got going.

Obviously, if the team is out of contention by the deadline, move him for what you can get, but until then, keep playing the hot hand.

He is not performing any sort of voodoo, he’s just a useful player who’s not sticking out in too many ways, either good or bad. I see an argument for having as much defensive depth as you can for the stretch run, but I don’t believe his inclusion is causing anything magical to happen. McDavid does that himself.

Woodguy

VOR:
LT, I am not sure you want an analytics guy at all. Yes, I know that is heresy. But hear me out.

For those who don’t want to read a wall of text, and I have included one, my thesis is very simple, the first ten points listed below are the likely keys to building a winning hockey operation with a true competitive advantage. Point 11 is my neat summary of the conversations that go on at every analytics conference amongst the professional sports statisticians. None of the ten points requires an analytics guru. Point 11 suggests a competitive advantage might be achieved by not doing what everyone else is doing, if everybody is doing analytics you want to be the odd man out.

Let me break this down to a series of simple statements. 1. Get good players. 2. Develop good players. 3. Improve good players. 4. Help good players become a cohesive unit. 5. Keep good players. 6. Develop winning team dynamic. 7. Improve coaching skills. 8. Help every one in organization to make smart choices. 9. Learn to think about hockey in way that increases live options. 10. Incorporate AI.
11. Refuse to get caught up in some ridiculous statistical pissing contest that just boils down to a zero sum game. Please feel free to tell me where analytics in the sense we use it here to refer to sabre metrics comes into any of these points.

1. Is obviously reliant on drafting, both amateur and professional. It is hard to miss the emerging use of demographics in improving draft outcomes, Michael Shuckers for example is doing fascinating work on the use of demographics to improve NHL draft outcomes. In the last two years there have been numerous papers on improving draft outcomes with better psychological testing and profiling. There is the use of improved cognitive skills in your scouting staff, particularly to overcome various scouting and coaching observational biases. Darryl Morey, the Houston Rockets GM is using this approach. Then there is interesting work in psycho neuro economics and behavioural economics. And while you may need a nerd to help you understand this stuff you don’t need an analytics guy. The most interesting thing I read this year was a brilliant analysis of the rates at which athletes’ skills deteriorate. Think how useful the ability to predict the decline in an aging Milan Lucic might be to making smart decisions. No technical facility was required to understand the key concepts.

2. Is about best practice and fitting the player and the development program to each other. This is critical and makes your Director of Player Development a key role on your management team. I would argue this job has to be filled by a former player with both strong strategic skills and actual training in the psychological, neurological, and physiological development of elite athletes. Sadly, that is very rarely the case.

3. Probably appears identical to two but this is where a specialist in human performance armed with state of the art biometrics, a strong coaching background, fitness and strength training qualifications, and state of the art biomechanics software comes in. They work with the player, the coaching staff including your conditioning coach, nutritionist, and skating instructor and all your resources to help the player maximize their performance.

4. Is a role for a good sports psychologist. One with serious training in organizational theory, building teamwork, cultural constructs etc.

5. This is cap management, negotiation, and psychology rolled into one. A professionally trained negotiator, with a tremendous background in game theory, arbitration, mediation and legal training would be ideal. Sounds remarkably like Tyler Dellow. Just skip the analytics part.

6. The sports psychologist again. Good mental health and superb cognitive skills are critical to managing in complex environments with large numbers of constantly changing unknowns. Cognitive skills are trainable. Live option maximization and forced perspective changes are just two of dozens of tools in a vast toolkit that started with Edward de Bono and has grown into a little industry all its own.

7. Mentor coaches and professional adult educators/trainers.. Your coaching staff should be continuously upgrading or they should be gone. There are some great educational programs in coaching theory and practice. Other pro sports are insisting their coaches constantly learn and expand their thinking. Hockey needs to do the same. Make all the coaching staff at all levels go to Sloan/MIT if you want to get analytics established in your program. If they fall in love with the field let them run with it. You can learn statistics and math before, during, or after you become an elite coach. The idea that analytics or trackingneeds to be its own silo because the math is just so complicated mere mortals can’t hope to understand lies at the very shakey foundations of sports analytics corroding everything it touches. The math is trivial, the statistics rudimentary. You don’t need a Professor from Carnegie Mellon, you need a janitor with some time on his hands.

8. Cognitive therapist/thinking coach/cognitive psychologists. There are lots of tools for learning to think about drafting, and everything else without bias. Teams just need to insist their staff learn and practice these techniques.

9. What you really need is an economist with a screwy world view, a tremendous sense of humour and stunning communication skills. We could be using tools ranging from NPV, depletion curves, non-linear
regressions, unc-unc management and Lord knows what else. The sky is the limit. But teams need someone to help them think outside the box. Hell I know one team that employs a professional clown to help them think of new options. Not a hockey team of course, but innovation and NHL are mutually exclusive.

10. Incorporate AI into all the places in the system where efficiency matters. Leave the humans to do what we do best waste time and resources doing what we do best, wasting time. There are some very interesting examples of AI deployed in both basketball and soccer.

11. Just exactly why given all the things the average NHL team could upgrade would any of them devote time and energy to trying to be the next Bill James? Why as fans would we want them to be the next Bill James?

This whole post is about analytics.

As you know analytics is coming to conclusions or hypothesises (sp?) through the analysis of data and pretty much all of your points are exactly that.

As far as what guys like Tyler or Sunny Mehta or Sam Ventura etc do, from what I’ve seen its a lot more than the simple shot metric analysis that we kick around here or I do on my blog.

That said having a guy on staff who does good simple shot metric analysis and listening to him would have, at the very least, saved MacT and eventually Nonis from the Clarkson contract, Chiarelli and Nill from the Korpikoski contracts (both Peter and Jim are paying him this year, good times for him)

Your first point will always be the most important one in hockey – get good players.

This includes avoiding bad ones and given how many below replacement NHL players get contracts, or below average NHLers get good contracts each year, I’d say the NHL as a whole is still miles away from “everyone does analytics so there is no advantage”

Alpine

Centre of attention: Benson is a much, much, MUCH different player than Eberle.

Eberle feasts on the powerplay, and at even strength he slithers around the net like a garden snake.

Benson is more of a utility player. He’s much more engaged physically too. Like I mentioned earlier in the thread, Benson took a nasty run at an Everette player tonight. A good three stride plastering. Got right in the middle of the scrum at the next whistle too, talking and shoving away.

Benson’s shot is pretty average but he can really dish. Off the rush or during the cycle Benson knows where his options are, and can deliver it accurately and quickly.

Heck, Benson is even taking face offs tonight. I don’t know ho common that is but its another element to his game.

Yeah I just mean they’re similar in how they were highly touted but slightly risky prospects that were ranked and drafted in the same range of the draft.

It was more of a compliment to Benson as he is sometimes knocked for a lack of elite offense, but even Eberle hadn’t quite shown he could be a dominant scorer until in his last season of junior.

They have similar trajectory as prospects, similar natural talent levels, and aren’t far off in size (Benson is even a little bigger!). So what I was initially getting that is while they play differently, they have a lot of the same arrows at the same age, and that should give Benson doubters some room to breathe. I have seen a fair amount of sentiment about him that’s almost unfairly skeptical.

Centre of attention

Bear now has 1 goal and 1 assist tonight.

Takes another slapper and T-bird forward bangs in rebound.

That slap shot is going to get him paidddd

(flipping back and forth between Giants game and T-birds game)

D'oh-ilers

I’m neither for nor against extending Russell, but I would be reluctant to move him this season if the Oil are still in the playoff hunt at the deadline. Regardless of what the fancy stat analysts or seen him good crowd have to say on the subject, right now Russell is performing some sort of voodoo that keeps the points coming. I’d rather see a hard playoff push and lose him this summer for nothing, than to jinx the good thing he’s got going.

Obviously, if the team is out of contention by the deadline, move him for what you can get, but until then, keep playing the hot hand.

Centre of attention

Alpine: I’ve only seen a few games of him but he can definitely run a PP at that level.I saw him a couple times as a 16 year old and he was already doing then.

I peg Benson in the sort of Tyler Ennis/Brendan Gallagher range of Western kids in terms of how good I think he could be as a pro. He doesn’t quite skate like them but he’s bigger and very well rounded and that should help the transition a bit.

He’s also not too dissimilar to our own #14 at this stage of his career, as Eberle at the same age wasn’t considered a great skater nor was he posting eye popping offensive numbers (that came in draft +2). The raw talent isn’t quite on Eberle’s level, but I think Benson is succeeding in areas that Eberle was and somewhat remains to be weaker in.

Benson is a much, much, MUCH different player than Eberle.

Eberle feasts on the powerplay, and at even strength he slithers around the net like a garden snake.

Benson is more of a utility player. Plenty of penalty kill time. He’s much more engaged physically too. Like I mentioned earlier in the thread, Benson took a nasty run at an Everette player tonight. A good three stride plastering. Got right in the middle of the scrum at the next whistle too, talking and shoving away.

Benson’s shot is pretty average but he can really dish. Off the rush or during the cycle Benson knows where his options are, and can deliver the puck accurately and quickly.

Heck, Benson is even taking face offs tonight. I don’t know how common that is but its another element to his game.

Woodguy

Georges,

I think PDO has reached the status of preconceived notion for the fancystats community.

Every goal for is a goal against. League wide PDO is 1000

It comes down to whether PDO is capturing a skill element of the game because teams/players have varying levels of talent or whether teams/players are close enough in talent that the percentage results we observe are just random draws from a common league-wide distribution.
If I’m reading you correctly, fancystats has decided that there is overwhelming evidence that PDO is not reproducible and therefore does not capture skill. It’s luck. And luck evens out.

That depends.

For the vast majority of players they will cluster very very close to 1000 over their careers as they do not drive ONSH% much, and almost no one has been found to drive ONSV%.

Here’s and interesting little exercise someone did: http://www.pensburgh.com/2010/6/23/1531707/pdo-and-what-it-means

You have it right in the lack of PDO’s ability to predict itself on an individual level leads people to call it “luck”

However, there are two big caveats:

1) Very good goalies post higher than league average SV% and those who play with them will generally put up higher PDO due to higher SV%.

2) Elite offensive talents can drive ONSH%. Those players and the ones that play with them often will also see a slight boost in PDO.

I’m actually looking at this on a team-wide level and figure that this year’s version of NYR has a “baseline PDO” of 1024 (all situations) which is massive. I used their goalie’s career SV% and their foward’s career SH% to figure it out.

I think that teams who stop employing stick optional forwards will create a very slight advantage in this, but I’m not sure that if they are not good possession teams and get more shots if it will matter that much.

You will also see 3rd pairing Dmen usually post higher than average ONSV%. This is because they play more against stick optional players. The downside is that they also play more with stick optional players on their own side, so their ONSH% tends to be lower than average.

For now, I’d like to make an observation on the numbers you posted for Klefbom. Those numbers indicate to me that he’s probably been losing on GF% for all of those years. He’s never popped his head above 100 on PDO. Shouldn’t that be a concern? At what point should it be a concern? Never? Is there a timeline for the PDO correction? How can we be sure Klefbom, who has never posted a 100+ PDO, will post a 100+ PDO?

That’s why I look at “expected PDO” to give me some direction.

I also look at the goalies and their SV% that Klef has played with and its not good.

Klefbom has essentially been a 1st pairing Dman on an very bad team with some bad goalies.

The Oilers 5v5 SV% in the last 282 games has been .9122, which is 30th over that time (last 4 seasons including this one)

Their PDO as a team is 982, and since Klef plays against the best offensive forwards, his ONSV% will be lower than team average.

He could be the worst Dman in the league (he has the worst PDO among 177 Dmen who have played 2000 minutes since 13-14), but his other metrics suggest he’s not.

Other Dmen in the bottom 15 or so: Justin Faulk, Seth Jones, Dustin Byfuglien, Jake Muzzin.

They could all be awful defenders, but I don’t think so. Doesn’t pass the smell test.

If you were a coach, who would you give more ice time to, all other things being equal: the guy who’s losing you games or the guy who’s winning you games (GF%)? If your job was on the line? Isn’t the NHL a great big sifting machine for results? Aren’t the PDO patterns that fancystats relies on the product of the NHL’s sifting machine, i.e., data produced by the survivors? If so, can we apply the patterns we’ve found among the successful survivors to all NHL players? Like Klefbom 143 games into his career?

That’s a good question, but a coach will drive himself crazy trying to chase PDO.

Here’s a relevant example from this year:

Russell PDO per 7gms:
1st 7: 107.7
2nd 7: 104.1
3rd 7: 99.83
Last 8: 95.74

He went from Jesus Christ Superstar to Jesus Christ Get Off The Ice in 20 or so games.

I think that’s why coach always talk about “process, process, process” because variance can affect results sooooo much that you’d be a fool for trying to read too much into it.

Also,

Here’s Klef’s PDO in 4 9 game segments

1st 9 – 102.54
2nd 9 – 91.46
3rd 9 – 99.30
4th 9 – 96.20

You’d kill yourself trying to chase that.

stush18:
NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

So chiarelli won three trades? How are we bleeding? Assets?

Turning higher value assets into lower ones. Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back in terms of value and talent in order to make the team better but one only has a certain number of bullets.

stush18

Oilspill: And a Stanley Cup team around you.

When you think about it, the Penguins team is perfect for him.

The wingers have more than enough speed to drive play forward, and Crosby and making can button hook and find him late all day long.

Someone here did some work showing his was actually pretty elite at that aspect of the game with the oilers.

stush18

NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

So chiarelli won three trades? How are we bleeding? Assets? ?

Alpine

Centre of attention: He’s looked dynamic to me tonight, I definitely see a top 9 forward there when he turns pro.

His team is definitely holding him back.

Vancouver had a 5-on-3 powerplay and despite everything Benson could do nobody could cash. At one point he took the puck himself directely into the slot, beating a guy and getting a good shot on net. The rebound laid there for what seemed like ages for a 5-on-3.

If Benson played for the London Knights he would be a 100+ point junior player no doubt in my mind.

I’ve only seen a few games of him but he can definitely run a PP at that level. I saw him a couple times as a 16 year old and he was already doing then.

I peg Benson in the sort of Tyler Ennis/Brendan Gallagher range of Western kids in terms of how good I think he could be as a pro. He doesn’t quite skate like them but he’s bigger and very well rounded and that should help the transition a bit.

He’s also not too dissimilar to our own #14 at this stage of his career, as Eberle at the same age wasn’t considered a great skater nor was he posting eye popping offensive numbers (that came in draft +2). The raw talent isn’t quite on Eberle’s level, but I think Benson is succeeding in areas that Eberle was and somewhat remains to be weaker in.

Oilspill

Centre of attention:
Schultz now has 17 points in his last 14 games. Playing 20+ minutes a night since Letang went down and hasn’t really lost a step.

Confidence can do wonderful things.

And a Stanley Cup team around you.

Chachi

Woodguy: A team without 2 superstars wouldn’t be good?

The hell you say!!

Amazing what having two to drive a team does eh?

Also,

For the record, when Schultz is on the ice and neither Crosby or Malkin is on the ice he has a CF% of 53.7 and a GF% of 61.9, so the rest of the team is hockeying pretty good too.

Yup, just playing the stupid stupid game people seem to be fond of playing with the Oilers lineup. Yes, if you take two of the superstars (either two forwards or a forward and the goalie) off of a team they would be worse. That isn’t “analytics” its common sense. Yet, when someone tweets out that the Oilers would be awful without McDavid and Talbot they act like it is some kind of epiphany.

Centre of attention

Alpine:
Centre of attention,

Benson is a very good hockey player. The Dub is an interesting league because there’s some great NHL players who have come out of there recently that didn’t quite torch the league offensively. There may be some valid concern that his offensive numbers aren’t elite, but he’s come back from injury and has been scoring at a good rate on a weak team among other things.

He’s looked dynamic to me tonight, I definitely see a top 9 forward there when he turns pro.

His team is definitely holding him back.

Vancouver had a 5-on-3 powerplay and despite everything Benson could do nobody could cash. At one point he took the puck himself directely into the slot, beating a guy and getting a good shot on net. The rebound laid there for what seemed like ages for a 5-on-3.

If Benson played for the London Knights he would be a 100+ point junior player no doubt in my mind.

Side

Woodguy: If you’re Russell why would you sign anything without a NMC to protect you from going to Vegas?

If I were a player who was taken at the tail end of free agency who isn’t ready to retire and I wasn’t getting a lot of interest from teams and ended up signing a cheap, short term contract. I would be extremely happy to be given a longer contract for more money and wouldn’t really care where I played, as long as it isn’t in the minors or having to retire.

Personal opinion:
Hall, Yak, a 1st, a high 2nd for Larsson, Reinhart and a 3rd

The asset deterioration from the vault built after 10 years of losing that began under MacT has accelerated under PC.

Now I am not saying the team is not better. It is. And it is going in the right direction, but the team can’t afford to bleed more talent in this manner. Have to win or at least saw off future trades.

Now Chia has won some deals…Kassian and Talbot come to mind. But there weren’t high end assets going from the Oilers. On the big trades he has lost here, as he did with Seguin in Boston.

Team going better but running out of tradeable bullets that are meaningful. We don’t want this team to be McDavid, Draisaitl, JP and scraps. Not saying that will happen. Just mindful of the possibility.

Woogie63

Russell strongly prefers to play for an Alberta team and at 31 the player is not in a good negotiation place.

Woodguy

Chachi: Meh, without Crosby and Malkin Pittsburgh would be awful.

A team without 2 superstars wouldn’t be good?

The hell you say!!

Amazing what having two to drive a team does eh?

Also,

For the record, when Schultz is on the ice and neither Crosby or Malkin is on the ice he has a CF% of 53.7 and a GF% of 61.9, so the rest of the team is hockeying pretty good too.

Alpine

Centre of attention,

Benson is a very good hockey player. The Dub is an interesting league because there’s some great NHL players who have come out of there recently that didn’t quite torch the league offensively. There may be some valid concern that his offensive numbers aren’t elite, but he’s come back from injury and has been scoring at a good rate on a weak team among other things.

Woodguy

rickithebear:
Davidson
Klefbom
Sekera

WGtsk tsk

This year’s results RB.

Good to see you back and breaking my balls.

stush18

fifthcartel:
stush18,

Benning gives them a nice option as a strong third-pairing RHD. I wonder if its McLellan liking the player (Russell, that is) a lot more than Chiarelli. He can’t really say he’s not interested in re-signing him.

A Russell extension wouldn’t shock me but it’d be a little surprising and a curious decision.

If they do, and it doesn’t have a NMC, I think it’s signals to them going to a 7-3-1 protection plan, rather than a 4-4-1. They’ll lose one of Davidson/Russell, and keep the other on the third pair.

If they don’t sign him, they go 4-4-1 and protect Davidson. Imo

Woogie63

Push the coach to play Jesse

I see Jesse as not near strong enough. The next time he plays count the number of one on one battles he loses and the number of times the puck dies on his stick.

He looks like a gangly teenager trying to grow into body.

VOR

LT, I am not sure you want an analytics guy at all. Yes, I know that is heresy. But hear me out.

For those who don’t want to read a wall of text, and I have included one, my thesis is very simple, the first ten points listed below are the likely keys to building a winning hockey operation with a true competitive advantage. Point 11 is my neat summary of the conversations that go on at every analytics conference amongst the professional sports statisticians. None of the ten points requires an analytics guru. Point 11 suggests a competitive advantage might be achieved by not doing what everyone else is doing, if everybody is doing analytics you want to be the odd man out.

Let me break this down to a series of simple statements. 1. Get good players. 2. Develop good players. 3. Improve good players. 4. Help good players become a cohesive unit. 5. Keep good players. 6. Develop winning team dynamic. 7. Improve coaching skills. 8. Help every one in organization to make smart choices. 9. Learn to think about hockey in way that increases live options. 10. Incorporate AI.
11. Refuse to get caught up in some ridiculous statistical pissing contest that just boils down to a zero sum game. Please feel free to tell me where analytics in the sense we use it here to refer to sabre metrics comes into any of these points.

1. Is obviously reliant on drafting, both amateur and professional. It is hard to miss the emerging use of demographics in improving draft outcomes, Michael Shuckers for example is doing fascinating work on the use of demographics to improve NHL draft outcomes. In the last two years there have been numerous papers on improving draft outcomes with better psychological testing and profiling. There is the use of improved cognitive skills in your scouting staff, particularly to overcome various scouting and coaching observational biases. Darryl Morey, the Houston Rockets GM is using this approach. Then there is interesting work in psycho neuro economics and behavioural economics. And while you may need a nerd to help you understand this stuff you don’t need an analytics guy. The most interesting thing I read this year was a brilliant analysis of the rates at which athletes’ skills deteriorate. Think how useful the ability to predict the decline in an aging Milan Lucic might be to making smart decisions. No technical facility was required to understand the key concepts.

2. Is about best practice and fitting the player and the development program to each other. This is critical and makes your Director of Player Development a key role on your management team. I would argue this job has to be filled by a former player with both strong strategic skills and actual training in the psychological, neurological, and physiological development of elite athletes. Sadly, that is very rarely the case.

3. Probably appears identical to two but this is where a specialist in human performance armed with state of the art biometrics, a strong coaching background, fitness and strength training qualifications, and state of the art biomechanics software comes in. They work with the player, the coaching staff including your conditioning coach, nutritionist, and skating instructor and all your resources to help the player maximize their performance.

4. Is a role for a good sports psychologist. One with serious training in organizational theory, building teamwork, cultural constructs etc.

5. This is cap management, negotiation, and psychology rolled into one. A professionally trained negotiator, with a tremendous background in game theory, arbitration, mediation and legal training would be ideal. Sounds remarkably like Tyler Dellow. Just skip the analytics part.

6. The sports psychologist again. Good mental health and superb cognitive skills are critical to managing in complex environments with large numbers of constantly changing unknowns. Cognitive skills are trainable. Live option maximization and forced perspective changes are just two of dozens of tools in a vast toolkit that started with Edward de Bono and has grown into a little industry all its own.

7. Mentor coaches and professional adult educators/trainers.. Your coaching staff should be continuously upgrading or they should be gone. There are some great educational programs in coaching theory and practice. Other pro sports are insisting their coaches constantly learn and expand their thinking. Hockey needs to do the same. Make all the coaching staff at all levels go to Sloan/MIT if you want to get analytics established in your program. If they fall in love with the field let them run with it. You can learn statistics and math before, during, or after you become an elite coach. The idea that analytics or tracking needs to be its own silo because the math is just so complicated mere mortals can’t hope to understand lies at the very shakey foundations of sports analytics corroding everything it touches. The math is trivial, the statistics rudimentary. You don’t need a Professor from Carnegie Mellon, you need a janitor with some time on his hands.

8. Cognitive therapist/thinking coach/cognitive psychologists. There are lots of tools for learning to think about drafting, and everything else without bias. Teams just need to insist their staff learn and practice these techniques.

9. What you really need is an economist with a screwy world view, a tremendous sense of humour and stunning communication skills. We could be using tools ranging from NPV, depletion curves, non-linear
regressions, unc-unc management and Lord knows what else. The sky is the limit. But teams need someone to help them think outside the box. Hell I know one team that employs a professional clown to help them think of new options. Not a hockey team of course, but innovation and NHL are mutually exclusive.

10. Incorporate AI into all the places in the system where efficiency matters. Leave the humans to do what we do best waste time and resources doing what we do best, wasting time. There are some very interesting examples of AI deployed in both basketball and soccer.

11. Just exactly why given all the things the average NHL team could upgrade would any of them devote time and energy to trying to be the next Bill James? Why as fans would we want them to be the next Bill James?

stush18

rickithebear:
Davidson
Klefbom
Sekera

WGtsk tsk

Welcome back mr bear.

Centre of attention

Giants short handed again.

Benson again taking the face off.

Gordies Elbow

Centre of attention,

Hasn’t changed since his play with SSAC Lions – one of the few players that I’ve had the privilege of watching before the jump to the WHL. You could see why Bob Green lost a night of sleep when he was available in 2nd round that draft.

Reminds me of Erik Cole.