Archive for Analysis

brendan smith

Note: Big welcome to Chris (@yolo_pinyato), the newest writer at BSB. Chris has put together some phenomenal work at HockeyGraphs, and has present at the RIT Hockey Analytics Conference. We are all stoked to have him on board. Give him a follow on Twitter and check out his work, it’s great stuff.

With the Rangers season already perilously close to teetering off the edge of contention, I wanted to take a quick look at the Ranger’s big offseason acquisition, Kevin Shattenkirk.

First a quick breakdown of the data:

When looking at Shattenkirk’s shot impacts last year at 5v5, we can see that relative to competition, he was by far the best player of the Rangers’ current set of defensemen. The shot impacts are weighted meaning that if two players had the same Corsi For% but different levels of competition, the player with the stronger competition would be higher on the y-axis.

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Oct
27

A bit about the goalies

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Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Man, I suck at thoughts posts lately.  I started writing one, and then a hit a section on the goaltenders and things just spiraled out of control.  So, this post is about the goalies now. This is really more Hank focused than Pavelec, but I wanted to touch on him, as well.  I hope you enjoy.

First up, Ondrej Pavelec, who is exactly who I thought he would be.  Obviously, he has underperformed in a very limited sample size so far, but that isn’t really what I’m talking about. There was a play last night that really stood out for me.  In the third period, the ‘Yotes made a nifty little passing play that ended with Derek Stepan narrowly missing an open net to Pavelec’s glove side.  Pavelec tracked the first pass, but then, the second pass back door caught him flat footed and he kind of flailed from about 4 feet away from the puck.  Hank may not have gotten to the pass, but his body connection and puck tracking would have stayed engaged for the entire play.  Pavelec knew he was beat and gave up.

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Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
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Oct
23

This is a big week for the Rangers

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This week, the Rangers will play games 10, 11 and 12 of an 82-game schedule.  Under normal circumstances, this would be a fairly nondescript week, with two Western Conference teams visiting the Garden before a road game in Montreal.  But these are not normal circumstances.

While this isn’t quite “must-win” territory, the Rangers have dug themselves a significant hole.  2-5-2 is a bad record, made worse when you consider that 7 of those 9 games have been played at MSG.  The Rangers are dangerously close to squandering nearly a quarter of their home games before Halloween.  On the flip side, wins over San Jose and Arizona will put the Rangers on a modest three-game winning streak heading into Hockey Night in Canada up in Montreal.  Here’s a look at the (important!) week ahead.

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Categories : Analysis, Musings
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rick nash

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

The Rangers finally won in regulation for what felt like the first time all season. There is some hope, as they of course won. But the process wasn’t the best. I’m on the “two points is two points” side of things, as a team with this fragile a psyche needs any points they can get. Hopefully process follows.

While the Rangers have been bad, they’ve also been fairly “unlucky.” A skilled team, the Rangers have shot around 9% over the past few seasons (at even strength). This has to do with the skill level, but also is a by-product of Alain Vigneault’s counter attacking system in the neutral zone. When executed properly, it leads to higher quality scoring chances.

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Categories : Analysis
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mats zuccarello

As of publication of this post on October 19, 2017, the Rangers stink. It’s a hard truth. But there is nothing going right, and even a regression away from 4% shooting back to 7% shooting won’t save them. They are, in a word, horrible.

There are many people to blame, and we’ve covered it all. But in the end it comes down to execution on the ice. When the team struggles, you turn to guys who have been through it before. The problem, though, is those guys are not producing at all.

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Categories : Analysis
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Oct
17

The magic number is three

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jt miller

Three points. That’s the number we should be focusing on for the rest of the month. The Rangers, who are now 1-5 to start the season, are currently five points out of a playoff spot. Yes, it’s early, but the magic number at the end of October is to be three points out of a playoff spot. This is no arbitrary number.

In 2013, Elliotte Friedman pointed out that teams four points out of a playoff spot in October rarely make the playoffs. Part of this is anecdotal, as a good number of these teams aren’t really playoff teams. However the loser point has completely changed the landscape in hockey. Playing to .500 hockey means you’re a bad team, not a mediocre team.

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Categories : Analysis
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Oct
16

The Rangers have a deployment problem

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ryan mcdonagh

The Rangers have had a myriad of problems to start the season. Jeff Gorton put together a flawed roster that was weak up front. Alain Vigneault isn’t doing anything to minimize those issues. The players have been inconsistent and not scoring. They’ve been a rare combination of bad and unlucky.

There is more to the issue though. As AV continues to tinker with his lineup choices, his in-game deployment strategy suffers mightily. For better or for worse, AV relies on one defense pairing to shoulder the load of defensive zone starts, giving his offensive guys more opportunities to put points on the board. This year, though, he hasn’t identified who his shutdown pair is and who is offensive pair is, and that’s a problem.

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Categories : Analysis, Defense
Comments (35)

Photo: Getty

One of the common discussions you’ll see here at BSB is the discussion about luck masking poor play, and poor luck masking good play. Generally speaking, teams that have a PDO (SV%+SH%) over 100, then the team is lucky. It’s a general rule, as skilled teams are generally over 100, especially teams with elite goaltending. There’s credence to the “create your own luck” argument, but abnormally high/low PDOs generally balance out.

That’s why xGF% is used to determine how well a team is actually playing. It takes the quality and quantity of shots taken/allowed and turns it into a stat that is usable. Generally speaking, a higher xGF% means you’re playing well. A team with a high xGF% and a poor record usually has some poor luck, and vice versa. It is rare to see a team that is both bad (xGF%) and unlucky (PDO), but the Rangers managed to do just that.

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Categories : Analysis
Comments (43)
jt miller

Photo: NHL.com

One of the major topics of the players still on the Rangers this season is how they are going to perform next season. There were a bunch of very high shooting percentages on the Rangers, and they’ve come into focus as August drones on. And for good reason, it helps us navigate whose season was for real, and who may be coming crashing to Earth.

Of course the big thing to remember here is that talent matters when it comes to shooting percentage. A bunch of folks automatically assume that a high shooting percentage will come down. And yes, most players will see some form of regression for abnormally high shooting success. But skill matters. Let’s keep that in mind.

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Categories : Analysis
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jt miller nick holden

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

The below post was written by Rob Luker. Rob used to write for Blueshirt Banter, but retired for a while. He sent me this and I was more than happy to post it. You should be following him on Twitter here. He is a great follow with tons of good hockey insight.

When Larry Brooks pointed out that the Rangers are expected to try to trade Nick Holden in his Tuesday, July 25th column, this got me texting and chatting with friends. Back on May 9th, fresh off the series loss to Ottawa, I tweeted the following:

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Categories : Analysis
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