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Vulgar Statistics: Tanks For Playing

05/08/14

It’s not so much that we here at Black and Blue and Gold are anti-Tank (we are), it’s that we take massive, massive Umbrage with the notion that tanking for top draft picks is somehow a Go Directly To The Stanley Cup Card.  It isn’t.  And yes, I know, I know, you can point to top five picks held in consecutive seasons by Pittsburgh (2002-2006), Carolina (2004-2006), Chicago (2006-2008), and Los Angeles (2007-2009), but you can also point to Columbus, Florida, Edmonton, Atlanta, and if you want to go back far enough, San Jose, the Islanders, Ottawa, Quebec, Minnesota, and Washington.  Among others.

Here’s the dirty little secret: if you are drafted by a team that picks in the top 5 in back to back years, you are more likely to never see a Stanley Cup Finals (let alone win it) with that team.  Significantly more likely.  Three to four times more likely.

Top 5 consecutive

Players that played in multiple Cup Finals were counted twice. Players in italics did not play in a Cup Finals for that team.

That’s 102 players, 20 of which ended up playing in a Cup Finals within five years (19%), 24 of which ended up playing in a Cup Finals within ten years (24%) although at that point the impact of those draft classes is significantly lower.  And yes I realize the jury is still out in that lower right hand corner.

In fact considering that Winnipeg (1980-1982), Minnesota (1982-1984), Quebec (1988-1993), Hartford (1993-1995), and Atlanta (1999-2003) made up 11 of the 51 teams that picked top 5 consecutively, you’re about as likely to see them move as you are to see them play in a Stanley Cup Finals.  That’s 11 Consecutive Pickers that no longer exist in their original iteration out of 51 teams (22%).

I say this because it is absolutely asinine that people think that consistent long term sucking is some sort of magic recipe, and positively head-in-microwave mind numbing that one of Buffalo’s radio personalities, one of the people that has been tasked with giving us sports information says it’s the only thing that matters.  It’s so bad that I feel like actually doing research on this topic makes me dumber.  Research.  Is making.  Me dumber.

Having to compile data to prove incredibly common sense things like ‘GM matters at least a little’ is making us all dumber.  Can I charge Jeremy White with intellectual assault?  Jesus f*cking Christ.

I mean isn’t it at least a little counter-f*cking-intuitive to highlight Pittsburgh and Chicago when the former has basically been tanking since the dawn of time and has three cups in 33 years to show for it, and the latter tanked twice and has two (three?) in the last five?

Isn’t it true that the success of new powerhouses Chicago, Boston, and LA has less to do with tanking (note the absence of Boston in the chart above), and more to do with the fact that Kopitar, Doughty, Kane, Toews, Hossa, Sharp, Keith, Seabrook, Lucic, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, and Chara have an average cap hit below $6 Million?!  ($5,890,779, or slightly more than Tyler Myers, LOLOLOLOL)  Or that LA’s GM has made incredibly shrewd moves (Carter, Richards, Gaborik) to round out their top six, or that Boston’s and Chicago’s GMs consistently find above average depth players for their third and fourth lines?

OF COURSE F*CKING NOT.  Because the dumb demographic is a lot easier to hit than the smart one if you happen to have a radio show.  And why do math when you can jerk off to every loss?

Connor McDavid mannnnn.

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