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Category: Stats (Page 1 of 3)

Max Pacioretty Is Back; Timing Couldn’t Be Better

Welcome back Max. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Key offseason acquisition Max Pacioretty has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury sustained on a pretty nasty hit. He didn’t travel with the team to Nashville and St. Louis and only re-joined practice the day of the Carolina home game. Now, on this trip East, he’s ready to re-join the lineup.

Obviously, any time would be good to get a player like Pacioretty back in the lineup, but a November game against Toronto is literally as good as it gets for Max.

 Goals per GameAssists per GamePoints per Game
October.31.25.56
November.36.37.73
December.26.30.56
January.46.28.75
February.36.39.75
March.34.41.75
April.47.561.03

For some reason, October and December are not great months for Pacioretty. In every other month, he’s about a .75 point per game player and he scores once every 3rd game. 

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4 Points Out On November 1st Is A Bad Sign For VGK

None of these odds consider the return of #88. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last season we brought awareness to one NHL benchmark backed by historical data that can predict which teams make the postseason. The (American) Thanksgiving Day playoff marker is a good measure for a team’s future success. The turkey day study suggests teams that are sitting in a playoff spot by Thanksgiving have a very high chance of competing for the Cup.

A more nail-biting trend is the November 1st, benchmark that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman often brings up. NHL teams four or more points out of a playoff spot by 11/01, have roughly an 18% chance of making the postseason. Since 2005-06, 47 of 58 teams that were 4+ points out of the postseason spot by November 1st, missed the playoffs. That’s a whopping 82% of teams that their fate was determined by the beginning of November. Unfortunately, that’s where the Golden Knights were, and still are as of this moment.

Just keep working at it. It’s the same old cliché every coach says, but that’s what it is. Keep putting pucks there, we are out chancing and more shots than most teams, but we just got to get hungrier. -Gerard Gallant

On November 1st, the Golden Knights had a record of 5-7-1 (11 points), good for seventh in the Pacific Division, and four points out of a playoff spot. Along with Vegas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, and St. Louis also were 4+ points down. 82% means four of those five teams are already eliminated, while one still has a shot.

Last season, Minnesota was the one that made the playoffs after being caught in the post-Halloween vortex.

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PDO My God

Are these goals regulation size or what?!? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The stat PDO is hockey’s best indicator of a team’s relative “luck.” PDO is simply a calculation of offensive shot percentage plus team save percentage. In theory, those numbers should add up to 100%, anything above and the team is getting lucky, anything below and they’re unlucky.

The term luck can be heavily debated, and I tend to land more so on the side of saying luck is an excuse more than an explanation of what’s going wrong with a hockey team. That being said though, sometimes the numbers are so astounding that they cannot be ignored. That’s the case 12 games into the 2018-19 season for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Their shooting percentage is 6.34%, last in the league, and their save percentage is 88.78%, 24th in the league. Add them up and you get a PDO of 0.951, tied for 31st in the NHL. It gets even worse if you drop special teams and look only at even strength. Then the Golden Knights PDO is 0.942, far and away the worst in the league.

So what does this mean? Well, for starters, it means based on the number of shots taken and number of shots saved, the Golden Knights are between 14 and 20 goals short of a 1.00 (average) PDO. That’s well over one extra goal per game.

For you math nerds, the Golden Knights PDO is 2.27 standard deviations from the league average after 12 games. For those who have no clue what the heck that means, historically, teams one standard deviation away from the average are considered unlucky. Teams two standard deviations from the norm are considered extremely unlucky. The Golden Knights are 2.27 away, so they are pushing some sort of voodoo magic level of bad luck.

Of course, a 7-0 game here or there could completely swing that number back without seeing a massive impact in the standings, but if it’s a slow burn back to the 1.00 number, or anything close, we’re literally talking about a goal a game difference.

There are many reasons to explain it and there’s no question a portion of the numbers rest on the shoulders of poor play by the Golden Knights. However, there’s a difference between a couple of missed opportunities and a couple of breakdowns and a 0.951 PDO.

Since 2007-08, no team has finished with a PDO of less than 0.966. If the Golden Knights were sitting at that number right now, they’d have about five more goals. The worst shooting percentage over that span is 6.9%. Vegas’ is currently 6.34%. If they had that extra roughly 0.5% back, they’d have another three goals. And these are comparisons against the worst teams in 10 years!

However you want to slice it, the fact of the matter is the Golden Knights will not finish the season with a PDO anywhere close to what they currently have now. When it comes to shooting percentage and save percentage, things will change and in a big way. That’s not a prediction, that’s a statistical fact. (Well, as long as you don’t believe the 2018-19 Golden Knights are the one in a 34 billion to 1 situation.)

**Stick tap to our good friend Marissa (@Taxpro4gamblers) for helping with the in-depth mathematical analysis used in this article.**

Posts Have Hurt, But Something Else Has Been More To Blame For The Golden Knights Goal Drought

Through six games of the regular season, the Golden Knights have netted just 11 goals and have yet to score more than two in any game. No matter how you slice it, that’s a problem.

The first excuse you’ll hear is about the posts. Those complaints are legitimate as the Golden Knights are currently tied for the league lead in post hits with eight. Eight more goals would look great, however, that’s horribly unrealistic to expect because post hits happen to everyone. Last year, the Golden Knights hit 57 posts on 5,020 shot attempts. That’s about 1.13% of shot attempts that hit the pipes. In the 393 shot attempts they’ve had this year this year, the numbers say the Golden Knights should have hit the posts 4.46 times. So, we’re only talking 3.54 more goals over six games, and that’s if the pucks go in instead of off the pipes. More likely, and you’ll see why in a second, at least a few of those 3.54 shots were probably lucky to hit the post rather than sail wide.

But that’s only a tiny part of the story. The big part of the story has nothing to do with puck luck or goaltending or anything else, it’s simply that the Golden Knights are not hitting the net enough on their shots. In fact, they rank 2nd in the NHL with 92 missed shots (behind San Jose) and they lead the league in having their shots blocked with 108. That’s 200 shots they have taken that have not made it to the goalie. Last year Vegas averaged about 28 shots blocked or missed last season, this year the number is over 33.

Marchessault will be the first to admit it, he and the Golden Knights need to hit the net more. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Jonathan Marchessault leads the NHL in missed shots with 14. Reilly Smith and Shea Theodore both have nine, ranking them in the top 15. Erik Haula and Max Pacioretty each have seven.

Maybe worse is the Golden Knights through percentages. A “through percentage” is the percentage of shots that are taken that actually make it to the goalie. It’s specifically important for defensemen when taking shots from the point. Last year, Nate Schmidt brought up the rear with a through percentage of 40.4% on the season. Sbisa was around 42%, Miller and McNabb at about 45%, Engelland, Merrill, and Hunt near 50%, and Shea Theodore had an excellent 55% through percentage.

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Golden Knights Line Charts

Today we launched a new page on SinBin.vegas called the “Vegas Golden Knights Line Charts” page. The object of the page is to not only act reference point to show the Golden Knights lines from each game but to also display utilization rates for players and positions graphically.

The page is laid out in three sections. The easiest one to understand is the last section, the game-by-game line charts. It’s simply a list of the lineup from every game including healthy scratches and injuries.

The other two sections are a collection of pie charts to show player and line utilization rates. What they show is how often a particular player is used, what positions they’ve been used in, and which players most commonly play on which lines.

The charts and lines will update following each game and can always be found in the menu on the top SinBin.vegas on desktop computers and in the drop-down menu on mobile. Or, you can click here.

Here’s a little taste of what it looks like…

Have fun obsessing over this as much as we have and we apologize in advance to the colorblind.

Golden Knights Lacking Offense; But Why?

No stats account for missing wide open nets though, and the Golden Knights have had their fair share of those through three games. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In their first three games, the Golden Knights are outshooting opponents 104 to 72 in shots on goal. The numbers are even more staggering when you include all shots, 197-125. That’s a Corsi For Percentage of 61.2%!  Yet Vegas is 1-2-0 and have been outscored in the only category that matters, goals, 10 to 5.

So the stats seem suggest Vegas had plenty of scoring chances in Buffalo but Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant didn’t agree following the game.

Well there were a lot of shots but I didn’t see many scoring chances to be honest with you. We had a few chances in the second half of the game but the first half I thought we were sound alseep. -Gallant

Sometimes Gallant can be a little emotional, irrational even, in the pressers after losses, so we decided to take a little deeper dive to see if the Golden Knights are indeed taking harmless shots, if it’s just been a case of tough luck early, or if it’s some combination of both.

According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Golden Knights had 22 scoring chances on 37 shots. That’s down significantly from the first two games in which Vegas had 33 (PHI) and 31 (@MIN) scoring chances. 22 is very low for the Golden Knights when compared to last year. Just 13 times did they have fewer than 22, including the other time they visited Buffalo. However, the Golden Knights went 8-3-2 in the games in which they had fewer than 22 scoring chances. So, that’s not a great indicator of success.

The next stat, and this is an odd one, is Corsi or Shot Attempts. Vegas outshot the Sabres 67-35 for a Corsi For Percentage of 65.7%. Only one time all year, including the playoffs, did the Golden Knights create a higher discrepancy in shots. That was the famous night before Thanksgiving game in Anaheim where they overcame a 2-0 lead to win 4-2. Vegas hit 64% or more five other times last season and they went a winless 0-3-2 in those games. In other words, massive Corsi differences does not equal success for the Golden Knights. Instead, it likely indicates they are forcing bad shots and inflating the numbers rather than working for good ones.

That brings us to the heat charts. Where are the shots coming from?

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Statistical Look At The Impact Of Losing Nate Schmidt For 20 Games

Jon Merrill isn’t Nate Schmidt, but as a replacement, he’ll be just fine. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The famous saying in sports when a team experiences something like a long-term injury or a suspension is “next man up.” Just wait, that term is going to be thrown around City National Arena more than “chip on our shoulder” was last year.

Sometimes the “next man” turns out to be a superstar like Lou Gehrig or Kurt Warner, other times it doesn’t work out so well. Most of the time though it falls somewhere in between, where the replacement isn’t as good as the missing player, but not a complete disaster. That’s where we expect the Golden Knights to land with the loss of Schmidt.

First of all, hockey is unlike many other sports where the loss of a player results in a direct replacement. Aside from goalies, a loss of a skater in hockey means a shift in the depth chart. In this case, the replacement of Jon Merrill, Brad Hunt, Griffin Reinhart, Zach Whitecloud, or Erik Brannstrom will not be expected to step in and have the same role and responsibilities as Schmidt. Instead, more than likely Deryk Engelland or Nick Holden will find themselves filling those shoes. So rather than replacing Schmidt with Merrill, it’s like replacing Schmidt with Engelland AND Engelland with McNabb AND McNabb with Theodore AND Theodore with Holden AND Holden with Miller AND Miller with Merrill.

Nonetheless, someone does have to step into the lineup that otherwise would have been in the press box watching the game.

To give a statistical look at what the Golden Knights look like without Schmidt, we start with the expected values Schmidt would have brought to the team both offensively and defensively based on last season’s stats.

Schmidt averaged 22:14 while scoring five goals and tallying 31 assists in 76 total games. He had 57 giveaways and 57 takeaways and registered 103 shots. His point shares were 2.2 offensively, 4.8 defensively, totaling 7.0.

He played 76 games, so we first multiply all the numbers (except TOI) by 1.079 to calculate them to an 82 game total. Then, we’ve divide by 4.1 (or divide by 82 then multiply by 20) to calculate his stats over the course of the 20 games he’ll miss. Here’s what we get.

 Per GameOver 20 Games
Goals0.061.3
Assists0.48.2
Shots1.427.1
Takeaways0.815.0
Giveaways0.815.0
OPS>0.020.6
DPS0.061.3
Point Shares0.091.8

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Splitting Up The Second Line

Last week on the SinBin.vegas podcast, the Golden Knights second line combination scenarios were a big focus. As it currently stands, it appears the Golden Knights have seven forwards that can fill top the six roles. Of course, messing with the top line of William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, and Reilly Smith is foolish, so that leaves Erik Haula, Paul Stastny, Alex Tuch and Tomas Tatar to fill three spots.

10 more goals from Tuch changes the entire outlook of the changed VGK made in the offseason. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Unless, as we discussed, Jack Adams winner Gerard Gallant chooses a more balanced attack by splitting the four into pairs of two rather than a full line and a leftover. That would leave an open spot on both the second and third lines. Possibly, the distribution of points would create more offense throughout the entire lineup while not sacrificing the offensive talents of one of these four by sticking them on a defensive-minded line.

Let’s put it to the test statistically. To do so, we’ll start by comparing possible combinations of 2nd lines using three of the four available players and compare it to that of the line of David Perron, James Neal, and Haula.

The Perron, Neal, and Haula line produced 70 goals, 95 assists, and 165 points while posting a combined 2.8 defensive point shares.

We used last year’s stats to come up with combined line totals for each of the four potential lines. Each line is named by which player is missing, so “w/o Haula” means a line of Tuch, Tatar, and Stastny.

LineGoalsAssistsPointsDPS
w/o Haula51731244
w/o Tatar60851344.4
w/o Tuch65771313.9
w/o Stastny64621153.3

Before you go scrolling back and forth trying to figure out the difference between each line and that of Perron, Neal, and Haula, we did the math for you.

LineGoalsAssistsPointsDPS
w/o Haula-19-22-411.2
w/o Tatar-10-10-311.6
w/o Tuch-5-18-341.1
w/o Stastny-6-33-500.5

Unsurprisingly, the numbers come up way short offensively. Defensively, however, any of the four options would be better. The biggest concern though is the play of the leftover player. Could Tuch, Haula, Tatar, or Stastny thrive on a line with players like Cody Eakin, Ryan Carpenter, Daniel Carr, or Tomas Hyka? That’s yet to be seen, but it’s also why the idea of splitting the four high-end forwards came up.

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A Study On The Expected Regression Of William Karlsson

The name William Karlsson and the word “regression” have been joined at the hip this offseason. Following his breakout season scoring 43 goals, posting a +49 rating, winning the Lady Byng, and finishing top 10 in both Selke and Hart, it seems like everyone assumes a decline in 2018-19.

Personally, I’m not a fan of assumptions, I prefer facts, or at least stats I can package as something resembling facts. So, I set out to see if regression for William Karlsson is indeed inevitable, and if so, how major it may be.

The normal way to project a player’s statistics in the NHL (or any sport for that matter) is to look at that player’s career history. However, with Karlsson that doesn’t really work. To begin his career he was seeing minimal ice time, playing on the fourth line, and had defensive responsibilities similar to those of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s on the Golden Knights. In Vegas, he’s the top line center, is used in all situations including the top power play and penalty kill units, and plays on a line with two high-level offensive players. His stats in Columbus are essentially hogwash because his role has changed so much, but at the same time, simply using his one mega season in Vegas feels like a bit too small of a sample size to project his future.

Actually kind of surprised we even have a picture of him NOT scoring. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

So, I had to find another way. The way I chose to go about it was to examine the follow-up seasons for players who have had years in which they put up numbers similar to Karlsson’s.

What I found, in short, is that there’s basically no chance William Karlsson repeats his incredible 17-18 season. Literally, every player (except one) who scored 40 goals, every player who shot better than 20%, every player with a massive +/- rating, every player with a high shooting percentage, and every player with impressive defensive numbers saw their statistics decline the following year. That’s 47 of 48 players over the course of the last five years.

I’ll prove it in a second, but before you go jumping off the cliff, while the numbers suggest a drop-off, they do not suggest Karlsson’s going to become an average player. Instead, they show just the opposite. Using this method of comparing players with similar statistical seasons to Karlsson, he should be projected to score 35 goals, shoot at around 16%, and stay a legitimate Selke award candidate.

Here’s how I conducted the study. First, I found every season in which a player matched (or led the league) in the best statistical categories for William Karlsson. Those are Goals (Karlsson had 43, 3rd in NHL), Shooting Percentage (Karlsson shot 23.4%, led NHL), Plus/Minus (Karlsson was +49, led NHL), Even Strength Goals (Karlsson had 31, tied for 3rd in NHL), and Defensive Point Shares (Karlsson had 3.5, led all forwards in NHL).

After finding all the players who had qualifying seasons, I looked up what they did in that same category the following year. I added up all of the follow-up season numbers and divided it by the Karlsson-esque season numbers to show the percentage of regression to be expected in each category. Here are the numbers.

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Exactly How William Karlsson Scored Each Of His 43 Goals

Backhand, wrister, deflection, empty netter, you name it, Wild Bill did it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We all fondly remember William Karlsson’s 43 goal season as a glorious collection of one-timers, diving empty netters, and between the legs dandies, but now thanks to TSN’s Travis Yost we know exactly how #71 put all 43 goals into the back of the net on the way to one of the most incredible breakthrough seasons in NHL history.

The numbers are fascinating to read, especially when you look at Lady Byng winner William Karlsson’s chart.

The Golden Knights star center will probably forever be known for this, but according to Yost’s research, Karlsson scored the majority of his goals by wrist shot. Yost found the goal percentages by shot type; backhand, deflection, slap shot, snap shot, tipped shot, wraparound, and wrist shot. As you can see on TSN’s chart, Karlsson has an incredibly lethal wrist shot. The top line center scored 41.9%, or 18 of 43 goals off his wrister.

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