Why a simple statistical method is more successful than a complex scouting program

Cam Charron
May 21 2014 11:10AM

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If you haven't read Rhys' dirty ditty exposing the Vancouver Canucks scouting office for being, among other things, complete frauds, then go ahead and do that. It was interesting to me, because having read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist actually has a full two chapters dedicated to the benefits of simple statistical measures when attempting to assess performance.

The thing that Rhys' piece exposes is that for the longest time, people in the game of hockey are determined to believe that hockey is a more complex game than it actually is. Winning teams, though, score more goals than the opposition. It is impossible to determine how many goals a player prevented, so counting how many goals the player contributed to the cause is basically half of our equation. However scouts try to add to the equation usually bogs down the process.

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We think the Vancouver Canucks may have a scouting problem(!!!!)

Rhys Jessop
May 20 2014 01:07PM

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I was recently having a Twitter discussion with Canucks Army contributor Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) and regular reader Ryan (@Verviticus), in which we were essentially arguing which Canucks entry draft in the Ron Delorme Era was the worst (it's probably 2007, although 2002, 2000, and 2009 are all pretty miserable too).

We came to the conclusion that, man, Vancouver's drafting really has been inexcusably awful for over a decade now. Sure, there have been a handful of home runs with guys like Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, and Ryan Kesler, but nearly every Canucks fan can name The One That Got Away or That Guy They #ShouldOf Drafted. Still, every team in the NHL passed up Shea Weber or Patrice Bergeron or Milan Lucic, so is Ron Delorme's record as head of Canucks amateur scouting really that much worse than everyone else?

To find out, I decided to design an extremely basic you-don't-have-to-even-think method of drafting and compared it to Vancouver's draft record under Delorme. I've put a summer intern with nothing but a book of CHL stats and no access to any non-Canadian junior league up against an entire team of world-travelling, game-watching professional amateur scouts. If the Canucks' brass can't clear this woefully low hurdle, then holy hell they are awful.

Spoiler: it's even worse than you think.

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Canucks ink Anton Cederholm to Entry-Level Contract

Dimitri Filipovic
May 20 2014 12:19PM

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According to a report - which by now can hardly be classified as that considering the slam dunk nature of it - Canucks fans can expect some tangible news of a high magnitude to be formally announced any day now. 

The team coming to terms on an entry-level contract with Anton Cederholm, a defenseman they selected with a 5th round pick last summer, is something akin to the waiter bringing over some bread as a prelude to the massive entree you've ordered in your hungered state. It's been so long since you've eaten, that it'll have to do for now to help pass the time.

Just make sure that you don't make the mistake of filling up on said bread..

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The Habs are screwed (avoid banking on goaltenders for all your success)

Cam Charron
May 19 2014 03:10PM

There are a lot of people completely writing off the Montreal Canadiens with new news emerging that Carey Price has fallen victim to a mysterious disease and will miss the remainder of the Eastern Conference Finals.

I don't necessarily blame those people, but I caution those who are halfway to determining Carey Price is now the elitest of elite netminders in today's National Hockey League. His career save percentage is .917, and before this season, there was the general question as to whether or not Canada even had a goaltender capable of beating the world at the Winter Olympics.

This brings me to Peter Budaj.

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Journal of Hockey Analytics: Volume I Issue 2

Josh W
May 19 2014 10:38AM

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(Courtesy http://graphzoo.tumblr.com)

Welcome back to another week of hockey related analytics links. I think The best way to develop your own research is to learn what other people are working on. With that in mind, here are a collection of links from the last week to help you think of new ideas. Or just to kill a slow day of reading at work. 

This week we have a look at why zone entries matter, why penalties in game sevens aren't called, why trading Evgeni Malkin would be a bad idea for the Penguins and much more. Take a look after the jump.

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