Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Developing Player Value: Penalty +/- per 15 Minutes (PPMp15)
I am an admirer of stat geeks of any sport, simply because they do some crazy stuff to try to assess value and can usually confirm my suspicion that Ales Kotalik is worthless. In fact, many puckheads would probably be delighted to know some of their least favorite players (Hal Gill, David Koci, Richard "NHL's Worst Player" Zemlak) were, in fact, statistically shitty as well. So, we here at Bettman's Nightmare are debating, fussing, swearing (sometimes while drinking, sometimes not), and trying to calculate our way to a metric for assessing player values. Our own Dahntahn Dangler has team analyses down to an art form (he will bring that to you soon), but heckling can be much more effective when you have singular targets.
Thanks to that wonderful stats site Behind the Net (see to the right) and others like it, information on player's abilities to draw penalties has become much more accessible to the average beer drinker. But drawing penalties is really only halfway there for us; the ability to draw penalties can only be a virtue for a player if he also doesn't take many penalties. Guys like Tomas Holmstrom draw minor penalties, but if they also get called for a lot of minors, they actually don't gain much (which is fine, because I don't like the Wings). So, for this particular chunk of player value, I took Behind the Net's data on penalties drawn (mind you, these are minor penalties, and doesn't include coincidentals) per 60 minutes and subtracted the penalties committed per 60. I wasn't really satisfied with a metric out of 60 minutes, because it actually lets us know what the player did if he played 60 minutes of the game. So, I chopped that down by taking the total from the subtraction, dividing by 4, and bringing us to a more starter-of-the-game-like 15 minutes. Thus, our shiny new metric will give us an idea of how effective or ineffective that player is on a game-to-game basis of gaining power-play opportunities for the ice hockey squad.
For the purposes of this year, I set the minimum games played at 30 to weed out rooks, goons, and gimps.
So, who's the modern-day Esa Tikkanen?
God, he reminds me of Jack Black...
PPMp15 Leaders, 2009-10 (so far)
1. Dustin Brown, Kings .48 PPMp15
2. Zach Parise, Lucifer .40
3. Matt Bradley, The Bandwagon .35
4. Tuomu Ruutu, 'Canes .35
5. Cal Clutterbuck, Adjectives .35
6. Devin Setoguchi, Jaws .35
PPMp15 Leaders Of Not-Being-Good-At-This, 2009-10
1. Nick Boynton, Quacks -.45 PPMp15
2. Hal Gill, Bleu, Blanc, et Boobs -.43
3. Cam Barker, 'Hawks -.40
4. Kent Huskins, Jaws -.35
5. Aaron Ward, 'Canes -.35
6. Craig Rivet, Butter Knives -.35
As you can see, from game to game Dusty Brown is much more likely to gain power-play opportunities for his team, while guys like Boynton and Gill are more likely to hurt their teams.
While it's not the entire of players' abilities, PPMp15 is a skill that gives teams extraordinary opportunities (18-19% PP conversion rates) and should not be overlooked when it comes to contributing to a team's ability to win.
And then you can appreciate the effort when Derek Boogaard or Sean Avery tries to draw a penalty and fails miserably. And by "appreciate," I mean laugh at those monstrosities.
P.S. Any ideas for a better acronym than "PPMp15"? It's just not very catchy.
P.P.S. Here's the link at Behind the Net where I got my data.