Mark this day as the beginning of the end for the plus/minus stat and its lingering veneer of relevance in the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers have joined a growing movement in the NHL towards deeper analytics in hiring Tyler Dellow (@mc79hockey on Twitter) to assist in Hockey Operations, per the team’s social media.
Dellow was among the foremost in self-made hockey bloggers who used advanced analytics to draw unique conclusions about teams and players in the NHL. This ‘fancy stats’ community has long been panned by mainstream hockey media as being too cumbersome or inaccurate to be relied upon. But more and more, it appears that NHL teams disagree with that take as multiple individuals breaking ground much like Dellow have found jobs in the NHL in the last year. Advanced statistics and their utilization are growing in hockey and this signing brings the issue full circle after Dellow spent much of the last eight years lambasting the Oilers for shoddy roster construction.
You may wonder what we mean by advanced statistics, so we’ll give you a primer straight from the mouth of the beast. Here’s Sean McIndoe’s entertaining introduction (found on Dellow’s Twitter page) to the world of advanced hockey analysis, which rifs on figures that measure puck possession and production relative to the rest of one’s teammates.
Instead of simply measuring a player’s goals and assists, we can now decide what impact this player has on the rest of his team and how the team plays with and without him on the ice, among other things. This may be an uncomfortable notion for old-school fans because these figures are still in their infancy, but the more NHL teams come to embrace their figures, the more these new statistics will proliferate evaluation of the game and its players.
Tags: Edmonton Oilers