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Vulgar Statistics: 2013 Eastern Conference Preview And Predictions

01/09/13

By the end of the first or second week of the season, this will morph into my weekly statistics-based Power Rankings to be published on Fridays.

Alright, let’s set up my completely arbitrary rules.  I wanted to keep with a statistical theme, so I assigned point values to each position gained and lost:

  • First Line Center – 10
  • First Line Winger – 7
  • Second Line Center – 8
  • Second Line Winger – 5
  • Third Line Center – 3
  • Third Line Winger – 2
  • Fourth Line Forward – 1
  • First Pair Defense – 5
  • Second Pair Defense – 3
  • Third Pair Defense – 1
  • Starting Goaltender – 6
  • Backup Goaltender – 2

What I realized is that this didn’t take into account several factors:

  • Improving young players
  • Diminishing old players
  • Injury luck

So this season I set out to account for these.  This is how I did it:

  • Improving young players - For every impact player under the age of 25 (i.e. a player likely to play 50+ games and contribute on the top three lines, top two pairings, or share significant time in net) I added one point.
  • Diminishing old players - For every impact player age 35 or older, I subtracted one point.
  • Injury luck - I took the average total of man games lost, compared it to each team’s number of man games lost last season and added or subtracted 1 point for every 10 man games off the average.  This is probably the most arbitrary of any of my figures, but it just felt right.

So on top of what the completely made up numbers say, I will be offering an “eyeball test.”  Think of it as a “Final Thoughts” for every team.  Let us begin.

15). Toronto Maple Leafs

Key Additions:

James Van Riemsdyk (3W +2)

Key Subtractions:

Luke Schenn (2D -3)

Jonas Gustavsson (BUG -2)

Players < 25 – (+4)

Players ≥ 35 – (-0)

Injury Luck – (-2)

Total: 80 +6 -7 *(48/82) = 46 points

Eyeball Test:  The Maple Leafs took a bad team and made it…different.  Is Van Riemsdyk more of a second liner on that roster?  Probably.  Does that mean anything?  Who knows.  Would the acquisition of Roberto Luongo make up for the loss of Luke Schenn and offer a substantial upgrade over Riemer?  I don’t think so.

14). New York Islanders

Key Additions:

Matt Carkner (4D +0)

Brad Boyes (3W +2)

Key Subtractions:

P.A. Parenteau (1W -7)

Players < 25 – (+4)

Players ≥ 35 – (-4)

Injury Luck – (+7)

Total: 79 +13 – 11 *(48/82) = 47 points

Eyeball Test:  The Islanders feel like one of those teams that maybe should be good, but just isn’t.  Maybe their talent is too one-dimensional, maybe they’re still lacking too many key pieces.  Maybe their building is just a depressing dump.  At least one of those is guaranteed to change.

13). Ottawa Senators

Key Additions:

Marc Methot (3D +1)

Guillaume Latendresse (3W +2)

Key Subtractions:

Nick Foligno (2W -5)

Zenon Konopka (4F -1)

Filip Kuba (1D -5)

Bobby Butler (4F -1)

Players < 25 – (+6)

Players ≥ 35 – (-2)

Injury Luck – (-3)

Total: 92 +9 – 17 *(48/82) = 49 points

Eyeball Test: I whiffed big on Ottawa last year.  Apparently adding Alex Auld and Zenon Konopka was a recipe for success.  They decided to again pin their hopes to their youth, not picking up much, but not losing much either.  Latendresse is a player I like, but also one that has missed most of the last two seasons.  Daniel Alfredsson might not come back and Jason Spezza is getting older.  Everything here smells like a step back.

12). New Jersey Devils

Key Additions:

Krys Barch (4F +1)

Bobby Butler (4F +1)

Key Subtractions:

Zach Parise (1W -7)

Alexei Ponikarovsky (3W -2)

Petr Sykora (2W -5)

Players < 25 – (+3)

Players ≥ 35 – (-6)

Injury Luck – (-2)

Total: 102 +4 – 22 *(48/82) = 50 points

Eyeball Test: The bottom is going to fall out of the New Jersey Devils.  The combined age of their goaltenders is 79 years.  Patrik Elias had a somewhat anomalous year statistically last year.  There are a lot of aging pieces on that roster and not enough young ones to fill the gaps.

11). Boston Bruins

Key Additions:

Aaron Johnson (3D +1)

Key Subtractions:

Tim Thomas (BUG)

Players < 25 – (+3)

Players ≥ 35 – (-2)

Injury Luck – (-14)

Total: 102 +4 – 18 *(48/82) =  52 points

Eyeball Test: What?!  Okay, hear me out.  They were absurdly lucky when it came to injuries last year.  Milan Lucic somehow morphed into a 30 goal threat and then disappeared in the playoffs.  While Tim Thomas was never the picture of sanity himself, Tukka Rask is a catastrophe waiting to happen.  No one believes they’re the big bad Bruins anymore.  Zdeno Chara isn’t getting any younger.  What happens if Rask is a mess, Bergeron gets hurt, Krejci under-performs, and Chara is good, but not great?  So 13th is probably too low, but would anyone be surprised if they took a step back?

10). Montreal Canadiens

Key Additions:

Brandon Prust (4F +1)

Francis Bouillon (3D +1)

Colby Armstrong (3W +2)

Key Subtractions:

Alexei Emelin (3D -1)

Raphael Diaz (2D -3)

Chris Campoli (3D -1)

Players < 25 – (+4)

Players ≥ 35 – (-1)

Injury Luck – (+8)

Total: 78 +16 – 6 *(48/82) = 52 points

Eyeball Test: Montreal largely kept together a bad team and added a few pieces.  With Price in net and Pacioretty improving, this team is threatening, but I can’t see them in the playoffs.  They simply don’t have enough marquee talent.

9). Carolina Hurricanes

Key Additions:

Alexander Semin (1W +7)

Jordan Staal (2C +8)

Joe Corvo (2D +3)

Key Subtractions:

Brandon Sutter (3C -3)

Bryan Allen (2D -3)

Players < 25 – (+4)

Players ≥ 35 – (-2)

Injury Luck – (-7)

Total: 82 +22 – 15 *(48/82) = 52 points

Eyeball Test: Carolina might have improved their team the most in the offseason, but they also got relatively lucky with injuries last year and still sucked.  I think I still like them to make the playoffs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they missed out either.

8). Washington Capitals

Key Additions:

Mike Ribeiro (2C +8)

Joey Crabb (4F +1)

Wojtek Wolski (3W +2)

Key Subtractions:

Alexander Semin (1W -7)

Cody Eakin (4F -1)

Dennis Wideman (1D -5)

Jeff Halpern (4F -1)

Players < 25 – (+6)

Players ≥ 35 – (-2)

Injury Luck – (-2)

Total: 92 +17 – 18 *(48/82) = 53 points

Eyeball Test: I think this is the one I have the biggest issue with.  I think the addition of Ribeiro and the development of Johansson, Alzner, Carlson, and Orlov more than make up for the losses of Semin and Wideman.  I think Washington is a solid playoff team and for the first time ever the Southeast division puts three in the playoffs.

7). Buffalo Sabres

Key Additions:

Steve Ott (3C +3)

Adam Pardy (4D +0)

John Scott (4D +0)

Key Subtractions:

Derek Roy (1C -10)

Brad Boyes (3W -2)

Players < 25 – (+6)

Players ≥ 35 – (-0)

Injury Luck – (+5)

Total: 89 +14 – 10 *(48/82) = 54 points

Eyeball Test: Okay, so technically the Sabres are 3rd since they win the division, but I don’t do things that way.  The Sabres are perhaps the biggest wildcard in the Eastern Conference.  Will Derek Roy be addition by subtraction, or will they have trouble scoring?  Will the defensive depth do any good?  Will young guys like Ennis, Hodgson, and Myers continue to develop?  Will Girgensons and Grigorenko have any role at all?  They could be that team that everyone hates playing against, or they could be that team that everyone hates watching.  Who knows.

 6). Tampa Bay Lightning

Key Additions:

Matt Carle (1D +5)

Anders Lindback (SG +6)

Sami Salo (2D +3)

Benoit Pouliot (3W +2)

Key Subtractions:

Mike Commodore (3D -1)

Dwayne Roloson (BUG -2)

Players < 25 – (+5)

Players ≥ 35 – (-5)

Injury Luck – (-3)

Total: 84 +21 – 11 *(48/82) = 55 points

Eyeball Test: I like what Tampa Bay did in the offseason.  I have no idea if Salo can stay healthy, or if Lindback can shoulder the starting workload, but I think they’re both better than the guys they’re replacing.

5). Florida Panthers

Key Additions:

Filip Kuba (1D +5)

George Parros (4F +1)

Peter Mueller (3W +2)

Key Subtractions:

Wojtek Wolski (3W -2)

Jason Garrison (1D -5)

Krys Barch (4F -1)

Marco Sturm (4F -1)

Players < 25 – (+3)

Players ≥ 35 – (-4)

Injury Luck – (+4)

Total: 94 +15 – 13 *(48/82) = 56 points

Eyeball Test: I personally think the Florida Panthers are a mess, but I thought that last year too.  I don’t think they’ll be able to take advantage of a weak Southeast this year and would probably swap them with Carolina or Boston.

4). Winnipeg Jets

Key Additions:

Olli Jokinen (2C +8)

Alexei Ponikarovsky (3W +2)

Al Montoya (BUG +2)

Key Subtractions:

Chris Mason (BUG -2)

Tanner Glass (4F -1)

Tim Stapleton (3W -2)

Players < 25 – (+3)

Players ≥ 35 – (-0)

Injury Luck – (+4)

Total: 84 +19 – 5 *(48/82) = 57 points

Eyeball Test: This is just wrong…right?  There’s no other explanation, the system has failed.  Winnipeg’s roster is the most unimpressive collection of second liners in the NHL.  Most NHL fans probably couldn’t even name their leading scorer last season (Blake Wheeler).  And then they add the equally meh Olli Jokinen?  If they make the playoffs, I’m a genius.

3). Philadelphia Flyers

Key Additions:

Luke Schenn (2D +3)

Ruslan Fedotenko (3W +2)

Bruno Gervais (3D +1)

Key Subtractions:

James Van Riemsdyk (3W -2)

Jaromir Jagr (1W -7)

Matt Carle (1D -5)

Players < 25 – (+9)

Players ≥ 35 – (-5)

Injury Luck – (+0)

Total: 80 +13 – 11 *(48/82) = 58 points

Eyeball Test: The Flyers suffered the biggest losses of any team, but they also have so much young talent that it’s hard to count them out.  I think they’re my early pick to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Finals.

2). NY Rangers

Key Additions:

Rick Nash (1W +7)

Taylor Pyatt (3C +3)

Jeff Halpern (4F +1)

Arron Asham (4F +1)

Key Subtractions:

Artem Anisimov (3C -3)

Brandon Dubinsky (3C -3)

Derek Stepan (2C -8)

John Mitchell (4F -1)

Players < 25 – (+4)

Players ≥ 35 – (-2)

Injury Luck – (-3)

Total: 109 +16 – 20 *(48/82) = 61 points

Eyeball Test: The Rangers are clearly in “win now” mode with the addition of Nash.  I felt like they had the roster to win a cup last year and just ran into a hot team.  I think that they needed to keep their intangibles, not swap them for skill.  Whatever, Gaborik – Richards – Nash is still terrifying.

1). Pittsburgh

Key Additions:

Brandon Sutter (3C +3)

Tomas Vokoun (BUG? +2)

Tanner Glass (4F +1)

Key Subtractions:

Jordan Staal (2C -8)

Arron Asham (4F -1)

Zbynek Michalek (1D -5)

Richard Park (4F -1)

Players < 25 – (+2)

Players ≥ 35 – (-2)

Injury Luck – (+8)

Total: 108 +16 – 17 *(48/82) = 63 points

Eyeball Test: The Penguins have become the Flyers, a great team, but everyone wonders about their goaltending.  And as much as Sidney Crosby is the best player in the league and wants to be a multi-faceted player, I’m not sure he can stand up to tougher teams and as his composure goes, so do the Penguins.

In Summation:

1). Pittsburgh

2). NY Rangers

3). Philadelphia

4). Winnipeg (2)

5). Florida

6). Tampa Bay

7). Buffalo (3)

8). Washington

9). Carolina

10). Montreal

11). Boston

12). New Jersey

13). Ottawa

14). NY Islanders

15). Toronto

Eyeball Test: If I were picking from my gut instead, I think this is where I’d go:

1). NY Rangers

2). Pittsburgh

3). Philadelphia

4). Tampa Bay (2)

5). Buffalo (3)

6). Boston

7). Carolina

8). Washington

9). Winnipeg

10). Florida

11). Ottawa

12). New Jersey

13). NY Islanders

14). Montreal

15). Toronto

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sam permalink
    01/09/13 8:46 PM

    66 points for the pens… Are you bending your stats to Mario’s will… Lol

  2. 01/14/13 5:48 PM

    Interesting views. A lot of ‘maybe’s’ in your analysis of the Bruins. Many think they could be in a strong position in a shortened season due to not making many changes to the roster. Their big unknown is the play of Rask. Think the Jets will have a better season but not sure they will win their division. They are going to have a very heavy travel schedule compared to the majority of the Eastern Conference.

  3. 01/14/13 5:51 PM

    Yeah, I just ran the number for the initial rankings. Their 65 man-games missed due to injury last year is a little absurd. I highly doubt they’ll be able to replicate that. Even if they still come in at a good number, say 100, I think there will at least be some effect. I personally think they’re too good to miss the playoffs

Trackbacks

  1. Vulgar Statistics: 2013 Western Conference Preview And Predictions « Black & Blue & Gold

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