Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Records vs. Good Teams

As we move into the playoffs, everyone is looking for indicators of which team is likely to win. There is also a lot of discussion about goalies, as this is the time of year when goalies are most overrated in terms of their impact. Some lazy analysts just look at the starting goalies and assume that the better one will win, failing to take into account team offence, team defence, special teams, etc., which is about 75-80% of what will make up the final result.

However, one thing that is interesting to look at is to see how each team and goalie did against actual playoff opponents. For the contending teams, it is perhaps even more important to see how well they did against the other top teams. I looked at how the top teams in each conference did against the other top teams from their same conference, to try to anticipate who might be likely to go to the finals. The teams selected were Montreal, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, and the New York Rangers from the East, and Detroit, San Jose, Dallas, Anaheim and Minnesota from the West.

One might expect Brodeur and Nabokov, as the two Vezina frontrunners, to have the best numbers here. In fact, it is the complete opposite, which may not potentially bode well for their teams in the playoffs.

Henrik Lundqvist: 15-3-2, 1.77, .926, 3
Marc-Andre Fleury: 4-4-2, 2.42, .923, 2
Carey Price: 4-1-0, 2.45, .919, 1
Martin Brodeur: 5-11-3, 2.58, .904, 1

Dominik Hasek: 7-2-0, 1.88, .912, 2
Marty Turco: 11-6-3, 2.36, .909, 2
J.S. Giguere: 9-9-1, 2.44, .906, 1
Niklas Backstrom: 2-5-3, 2.92, .905, 0
Evgeni Nabokov: 11-8-2, 2.51, .897, 0


Anonymous said...

This seems like a reach, in terms of significance.

A) Sample size is small, and possibly varied for each goaltender.

B) What is the correlation between success against the four selected teams and future playoff success?

C) The artificial "line in the sand" that you drew for the four teams seems somewhat arbitrary. For starters, you could strongly make the case that Washington belongs in the top four in the East. Secondly, while you're lumping all four of the teams together in each conference, Detroit and San Jose are FAR better than the other six included teams. And the bottom four teams in the East are not significantly worse than the top four.

Anonymous said...

D) Your numbers aren't shot quality adjusted. If you look on this page...


he shows everyone's SQN% against all playoff teams. New Jersey is third behind Anaheim and Colorado.