Skip to content

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.

Related:

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

Latest Posts
  1. Video: ‘I got bumped the whole game,’ says Crawford

    May 22, 2015, 1:30 AM EDT

    Getty Images

    Ducks trying to make life miserable for Chicago’s goalie.

  2. Bylsma free to pursue any coaching gig, says Rutherford

    May 21, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT

    Bylsma

    Pittsburgh GM won’t stand in the way.

  3. Sabres GM Murray lauds ‘great’ process with Babcock, confirms no deal ever in place

    May 21, 2015, 6:10 PM EDT

    Tim Murray AP

    “To have a guy of his ilk, considered one of the best coaches in the National Hockey League, taking a real good hard look at us in Buffalo after a 30th-place finish — I thought the process was great.”

  4. B’s sign Finnish forward Kemppainen to one-year, $700K deal

    May 21, 2015, 5:26 PM EDT

    Joonas Kemppainen, Jan Laco Getty Images

    Two-way contract for Karpat’s playoff scoring sensation.

  5. Will Hitch be back? Blues still ‘going through the process’

    May 21, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Ken Hitchcock AP

    “It’s something that we’re working on everyday. We’re trying to do it behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny.”

  6. Milbury’s ‘tongue-in-cheek’ remarks about Perry discussed, says NBC exec (Video)

    May 21, 2015, 4:02 PM EDT

    Mike Milbury

    “Word choice matters, even when attempting to be humorous.”

  7. Report: Sabres get permission to interview Bylsma

    May 21, 2015, 2:44 PM EDT

    Dan Bylsma AP

    As many as six new head coaches could still be named.

  8. Versteeg ‘wants to play in the worst way’

    May 21, 2015, 1:46 PM EDT

    Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Six Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Six

    Some have wondered if he could replace goal-less Bryan Bickell.

  9. Babcock predicts ‘pain’ for Leafs, who are a ‘massive, massive challenge’

    May 21, 2015, 12:43 PM EDT

    Mike Babcock Mike Babcock

    “We need to create a safe environment for the players.”

Featured video

Babcock has his work cut out in Toronto
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Boyle (1379)
  2. K. Versteeg (1361)
  3. R. Callahan (1345)
  4. H. Lundqvist (1283)
  5. P. Kane (1271)