Behind the Numbers of Binghamton’s 2013-14 Season

I wrote about Binghamton’s season back in April and then graded the prospects a week ago, but I return to the topic because Manny has gifted us with analytics via Josh Weissbock for the AHL.  Weissbock’s methodology is not included in the blog (just a link to his Twitter), but by the power of Internet I went and found an article he wrote for nhlnumbers which gives us somewhere to start:

To create a proxy for possession in the AHL, I looked at all games that have been played so far this year, added up each teams Shots For and Shots Against and calculated their Shots For %. This means there are some obvious limitations. These numbers also include special teams (not just even strength) and don’t take account score effects. So this a very rough proxy for the possession numbers we usually use for the NHL.

There’s clearly more to it now, but it sheds some light on where Weissbock’s numbers come from (he did Tweet how he calculated TOI).  I’m not going to break down each player comparing my thoughts to Manny’s because the differences aren’t extreme enough for that.  Instead I’ll highlight differences and reinforcements that I consider significant.

Goaltenders

I thought Andrew Hammond was solid in net and the numbers agree, although Manny believes more is needed from him next season; conversely I thought Nathan Lawson was average that was far too kind to the UFA.

Blueliners

No surprises here at all; I didn’t think much of Mark Borowiecki‘s season, nor is it a surprise to know he faced the toughest opposition in the league–I still expected more from him.

Forwards

I didn’t think much of Darren Kramer, Wacey Hamilton, or Corey Cowick‘s seasons and their underlying numbers are awful.  The former two comes as no surprise to anyone, but I think the data here makes it clear that Cowick cannot effectively handle a checking role (he was also a drag for Derek Grant and David Dziurzynski).  Jean-Gabriel Pageau was a monster against the toughest opposition.  It’s worth listing Binghamton’s forwards by the level of competition they faced (the number in brackets is where they finished in points-per-game in scoring by forwards; I’ve bolded the top-scorers):
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (4)
David Dziurzynski (11)
Derek Grant (9)
Jim O’Brien (8)
Corey Cowick (12)
Mark Stone (2)
Cole Schneider (5)
Matt Puempel (7)
Darren Kramer (14)
Wacey Hamilton (13)
Stephane Da Costa (3)
Buddy Robinson (10)
Mike Hoffman (1)
Shane Prince (6)
It would have been nice to see where Andre Petersson fit here before he left, but while excluded from Manny’s list his name appears amongst the bubbles of QoT/QoC and he slots ahead of Schneider above.  It’s worth pointing out that I gave Puempel and Prince equal grades and it’s clear the former had a better season given his QoT; Grant warranted a bit more generosity as well.

The last thing I want to address is the NHL Equivalency number included in the final chart.  These numbers are derived from a now gone-from-the-web Gabe Desjardins article, but Manny got his formula via Justin Azevedo:

chart

I have no doubt Desjardins put a lot of work into this, but as a cautionary tale for taking this chart as gospel, it predicts that Brandon Bochenski (KHL) is a 72-point producer at the NHL level (hell, Nigel Dawes is a 61-point player); or, for an AHL-example, Martin St. Louis should have been a 42-point NHL player.  I don’t think there’s a useful way to take statistics from one league and apply them to another, although it’s still fun to try.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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9 Comments

  1. Who do you think are the most likely forwards to be on the NHL club in October? It seems Hoffman and Stone have the greatest shot … pending a trade or injury.

    But what about Da Costa and Pageau? Da Costa seems to be improving, and may thrive as a 3rd line center with young, speedy, offensive forwards (ie. no Neil, Greening or Condra).

    But I’d also like to see how Pageau does with a similar opportunity. It seems he is always stuck on the fourth line, which doesn’t showcase his skills.

    Might be a long season next year, unless some of the AHL talent step up…

    • Pageau and Stone are the players I think can already play in the NHL–the former was really held back by being stuck with poor linemates. Hoffman and Da Costa I remain unsure about–are they classic tweeners–too good for the AHL, but not quite good enough for the NHL (ala Jason Krog)? It remains to be seen, but if time spent with Ottawa is an indication than Hoffman has the inside track.
      I think Bingo can have a good season next year–their forward group is fine, so it’s question of the blueline and goaltending for me.

  2. I’m not a stat man but it was a good read by Manny and impressive layout of his graphics. A few thoughts..

    Puempel was terrific and leapfrogged over Prince in the depth chart. I don’t see Shane has a future in the organization and will eventually end up in his beloved hometown in the Buffalo area, and that will make him happy.

    Boro should start the season in Bingo and will end up in Ottawa at some point next season. I’m a big fan of Wideman but does he have what it takes to make it? I don’t believe so..Claesson deserves a shot ahead of all three. Offer a 2-way deal for A. Grant will help immensely.

    I’m really relying on this Driedger kid in net as I don’t have the confidence in Hammond. He stumbled in the playoffs and even though he had his bright points during the season, he let a lot of soft goals in that made you shake your head asking WTF?!

    There’s going to be some holes to fill next season and it’s going to cost the team in the long run. There’s not a chance we’ll take the division again unless we get some solid, consistent play out of our two netminders, some veterans on the forward lines, and keeping the core on defense.

    Of course, that sounds simple and that’s everybody’s thought’s, but I just can’t stop wrapping my head on how WBS just owned us in Game 3 and 4. Experience and solid goaltending.

    • My gut feel is that Alex Grant won’t stay, but the team could use a vet defenseman. Given Boro’s contract/waiver situation, I think if he goes down, he’ll be down for the season barring injury (agree on Claesson; I’m not sure what Wideman is yet either, but I don’t think size alone holds him back). Most goalies let in WTF goals–the question is always how many–hopefully Hammond improves and Driedger doesn’t take a long time adjusting to the AHL.

  3. I haven’t read thru the links from either Manny or Justin, but I will make this point — which is relevant to the entire advanced stats crowd. When the early baseball stats junkies were developing their models and formulas, they discovered that it WAS very possible to predict a players major league production from their minor league numbers for the “good” stats (OBA, OPS) — but not so much for the traditional “bad” stats (BA, RBI). The latter were too dependent on other factors, while the former were only dependent on the players talent. This added a good deal of legitimacy to the entire field (in combination with the fact that the “good” stats actually correlated well with team wins and losses — the ultimate measuring stick).

    If the hockey stats guys have not yet been able to establish a means to predict player performance at the NHL level from their performance in the AHL, then that is a sign that their supposed “good” stats, are actually not that good.

    • I see what you’re seeing, but it doesn’t apply here. The predictions for other leagues has nothing to do with Fenwick, Corsi, QoT, or any of the other advanced stats used looking at Binghamton–Desjardins (whose comparison is noted) is not using possession metrics for his predictions, so one has nothing to do with the other. It’s difficult to apply advanced stats to European leagues unless they keep the stats that allow those metrics to be used. Hopefully that clears things up a bit!

      • Yeah, I realized after I posted the comment that the projection was just for points, and therefore not going to fit into the whole discussion on advanced stats.

        Do you know if anyone tracks any of the advanced stats for the AHL, Canadian junior or NCAA? If so, I’d be curious as to whether any analysis has been done on how those translate to the NHL. It could be that it’ll be a few years before they have enough data to actually do the analysis.

      • I’m don’t think the CHL or NCAA do, and I know the AHL doesn’t. Hockey has been very reluctant to adopt analytics, but I would be interested to see how those numbers shift from the various leagues. There are some scouting staffs in the NHL which pay close attention to the elements involved in those metrics, but not everyone (Toronto is the easiest example) that aren’t on board. The nice thing about analytics is it gives you a grasp of why a guy like Erik Condra is useful even if his raw numbers (points) don’t explain it.

  4. […] Behind the Numbers of Binghamton’s 2013-14 Season […]


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