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. Dmitry Orlov (wrist) ready after missing 2014-15

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:46 PM EDT

    Dmitry Orlov Getty Images

    He might serve on the Capitals’ third defensive pairing.

  2. Coyotes sign ’15 first rounder Nick Merkley

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

    Nick Merkley Getty Images

    He was Arizona’s second pick of the draft after Dylan Strome.

  3. Voynov detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

    Sep 3, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    Slava Voynov AP

    They took him under custody from jail and now he’s awaiting a hearing with an immigration judge.

  4. Calgary presents Ryan Wilson with PTO

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:25 PM EDT

    Ryan Wilson Getty Images

    Can he find a role with the Flames given their deep blueline?

  5. Interviewer: Raanta’s rooting against Hawks quote is real, but needs context

    Sep 3, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT

    Antti Raanta Getty Images

    “Antti was frustrated after Chicago send him [a] second time [to the] AHL and he told me truly how he felt.”

  6. Caps’ Backstrom won’t rush return from hip surgery

    Sep 3, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Nicklas Backstrom Getty Images

    His availability for the season opener is in doubt.

  7. Seidenberg says trade rumors were ‘a slap in the face’

    Sep 3, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche Getty Images

    Bruins d-man is using them as motivation for a bounce-back campaign.

  8. Wild hire ex-Oilers goalie coach Chabot

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:42 AM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers Headshots Getty Images

    Where he worked with — wait for it — current Minnesota starter Devan Dubnyk.

  9. Flames ‘haven’t been able to find something’ with still-unsigned Ferland

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:53 AM EDT

    ferland Getty Images

    In a shocking development, “money and term” are the sticking points.

  10. Ex-NHLer Peat pleads guilty to arson

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Stephen Peat skates Getty Images

    He could face up to five years in prison.

  11. Report: Pens’ owners seeking $750 million for sale of team

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Mario Lemieux Getty Images

    It would mark a record for the sale of a U.S.-based NHL team.

  12. Oilers, Flames AHL affiliates to play outdoor game

    Sep 2, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    gshr_raley

    Bakersfield and Stockton will play in West Sacramento, Calif. on Dec. 18.

  13. Report: Hawks’ Kane has not been asked to waive his no-move clause

    Sep 2, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Patrick Kane Patrick Kane

    As many as five teams are reportedly interested in acquiring the 26-year-old.

  14. Wings’ Franzen: ‘I’m excited to try to get back and have a good year’

    Sep 2, 2015, 7:05 PM EDT

    Johan Franzen Johan Franzen

    The Swede hopes to be cleared of his latest concussion in time for the season opener.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1885)
  2. P. Kessel (1442)
  3. M. Richards (1236)
  4. N. Backstrom (1147)
  5. M. Giordano (1104)