Not advanced statistics - Grabovski is still better

Cam Charron
July 09 2013 11:21AM

Over the weekend, Ontario-native and sun-drenched Kitsilano resident Blake Murphy made an excellent case in breaking down the debate between the "advanced" statistics relating to Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski. It's true that there are some good metrics out there used for evaluating certain aspects of defensive play that, yes, some NHL teams do use in making player evaluations, but I don't think that the concepts are particularly advanced. There is definitely a lot of opposition to the objective reaction of Dave Nonis' recent moves which is based on some mis-understandings.

But I want to circle back to Tyler Bozak, and I want to hammer home this point because Kessel will likely re-sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs and play out a large chunk of his career in Toronto, including the portion of his career where he can no longer be counted on to score 30 goals a season. Without a legitimate No. 1 centre by his side, he has become one of hockey's most productive wingers, and barring his slump at the start of the season when pucks weren't going in, an absolute treat to watch down the stretch and into the playoffs.

On the TSN Free Agency broadcast, I was a little peeved that the only regular panelist that seemed to encroach on my belief that Tyler Bozak's contract was not a positive for the Leafs was Ray Ferraro. In The Reporters segments, Bruce Arthur straight up called Bozak a "lousy player" but that wasn't about it. I noticed towards the end of the coverage, the tone had changed from "will Nonis get his man" to "Bozak isn't a No. 1 centreman... but he's not being paid like one" which sort of misses the point.

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Leafs Offseason: Clarkson, Bozak, and iTunes

Steve Dangle
July 08 2013 03:00PM

The Leafs did a bunch of stuff!...I mean, I'm not really sure it was good stuff, but it's stuff, alright!

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Player-elected salary arbitration and Mark Fraser

Cam Charron
July 08 2013 09:59AM

via Youtube

The Leafs had a quiet weekend after a very busy Friday, but yesterday it popped up that Mark Fraser has perhaps filed for salary arbitration, which is an interesting move on his part. Fraser took the New Jersey Devils to arbitration in 2010 and won settled for $500k, so knowing he's the son of an Ontario judge, we can spin in some wacky story about how Fraser loves courtrooms and the law and if he hadn't been a hockey player would have been a lawyer.

I didn't post anything on this yesterday because I wanted to read through the relevant Collective Bargaining Agreement sections on player-elected arbitration. Nothing has been announced yet, but other than the Jarome Iginla deadline mess, Aaron Ward is rarely wrong, so let's just work under this assumption.

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Corsi and Moneyball

Cam Charron
July 07 2013 01:35PM

There is nothing "advanced" about "advanced stats", and CORSI doesn't stand for anything. "Corsi", which is a simple shot differential metric, is named after the Buffalo Sabres goaltending coach that used it to measure the workload on Sabres goalies.

It's simply counting up shot attempts in one end of the ice. Goals, shots, missed shots and blocked shots. The NHL has been keeping that data since 1998, and the early version of the NHL's Event Summary isn't too different to the sleek one we have today.

Jesse Spector of The Sporting News wrote up a feature on Corsi this season, and it's well worth a read. There are several paragraphs I could quote that I could use as a jumping off point to write the rest of this post, but I'll use these two:

“In a 24-shot game, (a goaltender) may see 60 actions, but it never results in a shot,” Corsi says. “You can't just say 'that's not going to be on goal.' He'll have to react.”

It was that line of thinking that led Corsi to begin tracking shot attempts, rather than just shots on goal. Shots that miss the net, and even shots that are blocked, all require a goalie to react.

Actually, one more is good:

“I was trying to measure the amount of work that a goalie does,” Corsi says. “What happened along the way, this fella, an engineer in California … tied it into the work that players do, and he sorted it out in a way that reflects the work that players do. He was kind enough to say it was based on my work originally. Hence, we have this Corsi number.”

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Devils Advocate

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
July 06 2013 01:56PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs made a lot of comittments yesterday, signing a couple of free agents, bringing back a few players, and letting a few walk. This comes shortly after a pair of buyouts and a trade acquisition. Opinions are all over the place: Some people hate the end result, some people are okay with it, some like and dislike certain parts, and others are taking the "waait and see" approach. Myself? I feel that this offseason will be seen as Dave Nonis' defining moment here, the one where he let a glimmer of hope and his personal reputation for being cautious to get to his head, making brash choices that only suit the short term.

But something I will admit, now that everything has sunk in? The Leafs are better suited for the now then they were a few weeks ago. 

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