Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm Mad (About Stats)

We move wax like kilos:

Sorry class. But some gangsta shit had to be dropped. It just had to.

Because, as you are all no doubt aware, our team, the Calgary Flames, is absent from the playoffs. We were about to write 'conspicously absent', but then, that would be a lie, now wouldn't it?

Anyways, how about we get back into the playoffs? Cool. How we do that? (Oh yeah, just a note, every number that wasn't whole was rounded down to the nearest one that was, so for example, 81.9 becomes 81.)

Well, our dream of Brad Richards to Jarome Iginla to the back of the net aside, it would seem prudent, on the surface, that the team fix the defence.

Now, we are fully aware that Glencross and Tangs could be leaving. If they do, and we don't replace them with players of similar talents, that will negatively effect the scoring for next year. Still, being real, the limited funds this team will have available to spend may be used most effectively if they are used to improve the defence.

Actually, let's explore that for a second. How big an effect would losing those two cause to the offence?

So here we took out Tanguay and Glencross's numbers, and replaced them with two hypothetical players with 'league average numbers', those numbers being based on the averages from the original chart (so 81 shots, 7 goals x2). And the results aren't great. We would go from being a team with above average scoring to one with below (assuming S% can be maintained year to year, all that).

Fuck. We are so fucked. We let players leave so we have money to improve the defence, then the team had better improve the defence to a tune of 0.26 (the assumption here is that the team would bridge the gap left by Tanguay and Glencross, err, leaving, by allowing less goals, it is messy, admittedly) + 0.84 (just to get us down to the league average) = 1.1% just to be league average. What does that mean in English? We would have to allow 26 less goals (assuming shots against total stays consistent, which is a big assumption). We would have to improve the defence to the tune of 26 less goals. Or, looking at it another way, we would have to improve our rank from 23rd in the league in SV% to 12th in the league.

Is that possible to do if we stick to the free agent market? Our very, very rough calculations (11.1232*0.089902) say it takes roughly 11 shots to score a goal in this particular year. For 26 less goals, we would have to allow 286 less shots. Now, that isn't an impossible number to get to. We could employ a true trap as a team, and that would cut down on the shots. We could also eliminate shots (hypothetically) by acquiring defencemen who block in the aggregate ~286 shots (which would probably take adding at least two, probably three, more defencemen).

Of course, all this dreaming is done assuming this team does the right thing and sends Hagman, Kotalik, and even Ivanans somewhere where their cap hits don't hurt this team. If they don't, we are truly fucked. There will be no money to do anything, whether that anything be keeping Tangs and Glencross or improving the defence or bringing in Brad Richards or whatever, if they don't get rid of those contracts.

And to be real, here are the playoff teams numbers:

So, this team has a lot of work to do in order to get better. Ideally, we would like to see the teams shots against allowed to score rate (we call it SV% in the chart, but really that isn't what it is at all, is it?) come in under 8.50%. To our minds, that means cutting down the shots against. But if you look, you will see that Calgary already allowed a low level of shots on the year (2338). So to cut that shot against allowed to score rate down, we would need to allow even less shots, but the notion we get from looking at the numbers is maybe the goaltender could decide to make some saves. Because the difference in shots allowed (we allow low amounts) to goals against (we were scored on a lot) doesn't make sense. The goaltending is either bad on it's own, or the defence is somehow allowing a disproportionate amount of quality scoring chances.

From watching the season, it was a mixture of both camps.

Is there another solution to improving this team? We think there is. Look at Detroit's numbers. They overcame allowing a lot of goals by scoring a lot. It may be more prudent for Calgary to go down that road as well. Which would probably entail trying to keep Tanguay and Glencross (although in Glencrosses case, though truly we know he is a good player, how much money or term is a half a point a game player really worth?), but at contracts that would allow us to bring in another 20 goal scorer, or two (which is probably unlikely, but maybe their agents grow a heart).

To our eyes, improving on the offense may be the easiest way for the team to move forward, as counter-intuitive as that sounds, and even if that means that the team should spend the little money in cap space it has on multiple forwards, not just Brad Richards.

Although adding Brad Richards would be fucking bad ass and we would cheer on the good King if his court-Feaster could make it happen.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.


  1. Best way to improve the defense? Kipper or whoever is in net stops shots a nominally above average rate.

  2. How about not playing Sarich? That would help too except for the fact that there aren't enough (signed) guys above him on the depth chart that can play all the minutes that need to be played and below him there are AHL guys at best. If you count on Cory Sarich for meaningful minutes your blue is in trouble.

    Also Kipper is clearly in the downhill slide.

  3. Dammit DB, bring back the RTPIC!

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