Posted by James Lepp on 23rd Mar 2015
As sports fans, most of us are consumed with stats. Goals, assists, touchdowns, interceptions, aces, points, and so on. But are those statistics the ones that really matter?
For this post I’ll focus on hockey. Traditionally for skaters we focus almost solely on goals, assists, and points. This has been the measuring stick to compare one player to the next and therefore greatly influences how much each player shall be played. But things are changing.
The latest deal signed by Chris Tanev is perhaps evidence that NHL managers are signing players based on advanced stats. And in my opinion, rightfully so.
First, let’s simplify what I think any manager, coach, or fan would want from a hockey player. They want a player that produces more offensive chances than what he allows against. In the long run, all things being equal, this should produce a player that is on the ice for more goals for than against. It’s as simple as that. How do you win a hockey game? You score more goals than the opposition! That’s what you want from your players.
You could have a defencemen that is on the ice for 30 shots attempted for, producing many points I’m sure, but if he’s on the ice for 40 against, the net result is not positive. This would be like the Erik Karlsson from 5 years ago. It looks great, but doesn’t help the team win games. Whereas another defencemen could be on the ice for 20 shots for, but if he only has 15 against, that’s the positive that you want. And that’s what you have with Chris Tanev.
Tanev doesn’t light up the scoresheet by any stretch, but he does sparkle on advanced stats. A key measurement in advanced stats is a player’s Fenwick rating. It measures the percentage of team shots for (either on net or wide) versus against when a player is on the ice. Tanev’s even strength Fenwick is 54.7%, which leads the Canucks D. That means when he’s on the ice, for every 100 shots, 55 shots are for and 45 are against. Furthermore, Tanev (along with Edler) does this while playing against the toughest competition.
When he’s on the ice, even against the toughest of opponents, the Canucks have more scoring chances for than against. He’s not only a great shutdown defencemen, but also a great counter puncher too. If anything, top players on the opposing team should be worried when he’s on the ice.
That’s why Tanev is worth at least $4.45 million per year.
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