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Devils hire former pro poker player to head new analytics department

Aug 1, 2014, 10:06 AM EDT

Lou Lamoriello AP

Following the growing trend in the NHL of incorporating advanced statistics into the analysis process, the New Jersey Devils are starting an analytics department and have hired Sunny Mehta to lead it, per The Bergen Record.

Mehta, 36, was a professional poker player and authored two books on the subject. However, he has since shifted his focus to the application of advanced statistics in sports. He will report directly to Devils GM Lou Lamoriello.

Devils’ owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer liked the idea of forming this department after the NBA team they own, the Philadelphia 76ers, went that route. Lamoriello said he was “extremely open-minded to it” due to his background in math.

“Statistics have always been a part of the game,” Lamoriello said. “The word analytics is a buzzword right now. To try and stay ahead of the curve, we looked into and interviewed a lot of people.”

He added that advanced statistics are an “evolution,” but can only go so far and can’t replace traditional scouting. That is a popular view, even among strong proponents of analytics.


Here’s another story about how a hockey team is using analytics to try and win more hockey games

  1. 7mantel - Aug 1, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    So I guess a certain Devils fan will be applying for a job in the Analytics dept. when he grows up !

  2. blomfeld - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    “ah my friend, for you I give ‘special’ price !” …

    Okay all of you ‘smart-assed’ Babcock lovers, ask yourselves this. Aside from my lone ‘good’ self, exactly how many of you ‘pro data’ losers predicted last September that the LA Kings would prevail as Stanley Cup champs ? LOL ! Of course we know that the answer to that question is ‘zero’ ! Regardless, the bottom line is that the average ‘healthy’ human brain ‘augmented’ by a set of five ‘functioning’ senses (ie: sight, feel, hearing, taste and smell) is ‘infinitely’ more powerful than ‘any or all’ of the world’s most advanced computers and analytics combined ! What Babcock and now this idiot Lamoriello are offering, is no different than some ‘two-bit’ Arab trader in Cairo back in 468 BC, who’s trying to sell a three-headed camel ‘who sings like Elvis’ to some poor & innocent passerby !


    SAY ‘YES’ TO GOD & HIS WONDERFUL COMPUTERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)

    • bek3017 - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      Don’t u predict the kings to win the cup every year? Calm down on yourself

    • 950003cups - Aug 1, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      So, blomfeld, let me get this straight. Are you trying to tell us something? Because if your right, I may have a big problem. I just purchased that same three-headed camel that sings like Elvis. So far he hadn’t sang anything and only shows one head at a time. I’m gonna call that Arab and gets me my cash moneys back!

      • 950003cups - Aug 1, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        I didn’t know Elvis was alive in 468 BC. I asked the Devils Analytical Task Force. It’s now official.

  3. 950003cups - Aug 1, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    I understand none of this

  4. phtjoey - Aug 1, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    how long will it take this former pro poker player to figure out the odds of winning in a shootout are not in the team’s favor?

    • letsgolightning - Aug 1, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      The five minute overtime period ends. Mehta leans over to Lamoriello
      Mehta: Can we fold?

      • wutangwild - Aug 1, 2014 at 8:59 PM

        lol brilliant!

  5. devilsmetsgiants - Aug 1, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    With the buyout of Volchenkov and the extension of Greene, I think Mehta’s words have already been heard.

  6. denterre605 - Aug 1, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Anything is an improvement over the Devils scouting staff.

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