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In the NHL, the largest reason team consistently lose games, sign bad contracts and overpay for players, is the massive gap between player’s perceived value and their actual value. This is a major issue in the NHL. In days of the past, there were excuses for making decisions based on the “eye test”. But in reality, the eye test is not only useless, but also actually harmful in some cases. Look no further then this year’s trade deadline to find examples. Kris Russell was traded to the Dallas stars for young defensemen Jyrki Jokipakka, Brent Pollock and 2nd round pick which becomes a first if the Stars win 2 rounds. Kris Russell also happens to be a terrible defensemen.rnrnThe reason his point totals look good is because he plays the minutes of a top pairing defensemen. The more minutes you play, the more points you’re going to get, especially when you spend as much time with Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton and TJ Brodie as Russell does. However, we can see that he is not very affective on a per 60 minute basis offensively. When we look at his defensive game, that’s when things get ugly. For every 60 minutes Russell is on the ice, his team gets 1 less shot, and allows 3 more then any other Calgary defensemen. In reality player who block shots are rarely good players. They dive in front of the net because they can’t get the puck out of their own defensive zone, which is a defensemen’s most important job. What most people don’t seem to understand about statistics is that “intangibles” are the inputs and the stats themselves are the outputs. You input a player who doesn’t push the puck up the ice, pulls himself out of position to make a hit, and frequently blocks shots, you will notice a players impact on possession with often be negative when compared to that of his teammates. Another player who’s perceived value is higher then his actual value is Tanner Glass. Now Glass is the product of an out-dated mindset being that Enforcers and Grinders are effective at protecting star players. Tanner Glass does not produce offensively and has a significantly negative impact on the defensive side of the ice. Just yesterday someone I twitter remarked that the New York Rangers should have played Tanner Glass instead of a more productive player like Kevin Hayes, because he “shows up every game”. This is another common argument from old school thinkers who believe a perceived effort is enough to warrant a roster spot. In reality just because a player is skating hard every shift, doesn’t mean they are any better them someone else. Higher end players don’t need to be skating their hearts out every shift because they think the game at a higher level, they are not simply chase a piece of rubber around the ice, they are reading the play. Someone like Glass appears to be “showing up” because they are chasing hits and getting pulled out of position.rnrnThe amount of time a player spends on the ice also tremendously influences their end of season point totals. When it comes to points produced per 60 minutes of actual ice time, Benoit Pouliot produces more then the likes of Daniel Sedin, Jakub Voracek, Pavel Dastyuk, Jonathan Toews and Erik Karlsson. Does this mean he is a better player? No, not necessarily, what it does mean is that he is a player who has a reputation of being a bottom 6 forward, which has followed him through out his career, and that he should probably be getting more minutes then he currently is.rnrnIf teams want to truly become smarter and improve their rosters they need to spot acquiring players based on reputation, size, and so called “intangibles”. You don’t want to end up with the next Dan Girardi on your hands.[img][/img]
April 26, 2016 11:31 PM ET | Delete
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