Apr 11, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT
In the past week, former players Trevor Linden and Brendan Shanahan have been tapped to lead two of the most valuable franchises in the NHL.
Plenty has been written on these moves, but it’s interesting that the topic of analytics has come up in both cases. Ten years ago, you can pretty much guarantee it wouldn’t have.
On Linden’s hiring in Vancouver, here’s part of what Nick Cotsonika wrote for Yahoo Sports:
Though Linden looked and sounded great at his press conference, he said little of substance. Though he said he believes he’s “ready for this challenge,” he was unconvincing when it came to why. Example: Linden told reporters on the side that he knew little about analytics, noting the trend arose after his playing days.
That doesn’t mean Linden will fail. That doesn’t inspire confidence, either.
On Shanahan’s hiring in Toronto, here’s part of what Michael Grange wrote for Sportsnet:
Why does the richest organization in hockey not have a single staff member devoted to the emerging field of hockey analytics when a bunch of numerate hockey hobbyists were predicting the Leafs’ demise for free, on Twitter, for months?
For that matter, why didn’t the richest organization in hockey invent hockey analytics?
Why don’t they already have 20 of the smartest, geekiest hockey fans in the world locked in a warehouse somewhere with a wall of computer equipment and video archives inventing cutting-edge ways to understand the game?
Hockey has been a relative late-comer to the revolution in sports analytics. Baseball was the trailblazer. It’s a big part of basketball now as well.
The so-called “advanced” hockey statistics — which basically just try to measure the amount of time a team controls the puck — aren’t perfect, but when the top four Fenwick teams are Los Angeles, Chicago, San Jose and Boston, and the bottom three are Edmonton, Toronto, and Buffalo, there’s probably something to them.
Of course, there are anomalies — New Jersey is the fifth-best Fenwick team, while Colorado is the fourth-worst — but that doesn’t mean the statistics are useless. To dismiss them just because everything doesn’t line up perfectly straight is foolish.
In Vancouver, Linden will need to be a fast learner on the topic, possibly with the help of assistant general manager Laurence Gilman, who survived the firing of GM Mike Gillis.
In Toronto, Shanahan may need to not only learn; he may need to help convince the organization that analytics can’t be ignored any longer.
- Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal 45
- Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M 24
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs 45
- Report: Bernier and Leafs more than $2 million apart ahead of Friday’s arbitration hearing 11
- Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million 40
- Benning calls Sutter a ‘foundation piece’ for Canucks 24
- Here’s a chart that shows which teams have been good/bad at drafting 40
- Penguins sign Fehr to three-year, $6 million contract 22
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening 54
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 58
- Bettman says NHL would have to ‘consider’ putting Quebec City in the Western Conference (70)
- Rangers sign Stepan — six years, $39 million (62)
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 (58)
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening (54)
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs (45)