FanPost

Making sense of Quality of Competition & "O" talent by division

In one of the (MANY) comments discussing how Bruce Boudreau plays Tomas Fleischmann and Eric Fehr, somebody put forward the idea that part of the discussion should be that since they often play on different lines, they face different Quality of Competition.  That's an interesting thought, and thanks to our friends over at Behind the Net, I looked up what is the difference in QUALCOMP between Eric Fehr and Tomas Fleishmann.

Fehr: -.033
Flash: +.013

WOW!  That's...  what the hell does that mean? 

So I decided to try and make sense of that with numbers that would make sense to me.  (BIG TIME CAVEAT:  This is neither scientific nor complete, but simply a way to make sense in my own head).

How to do this?
I came up with the following criteria to help me get a handle on it (stick with me, it should make sense at the end).

  1. Find the D pairing that faces the toughest forwards throughout the year, and use that to represent my ceiling for the highest quality of competition ("toughest assignments")
  2. Find the D pairing that faces the worst forwards throughout the year, and use that to represent the floor ("easiest assignments")
  3. I decided to total the top 30 and top 60 scoring forwards, per division, as a way to measure each division's relative forward's "toughness" (points not grit here)

So I took the leagues top scorers and came up with the following tally:

Atlantic Northeast Southeast Central Northwest Pacific
Top 30 Scorers 381 pts 141 pts 757 pts 228 pts 422 pts 573 pts
31- 60 Scorers 251 pts 255 pts 370 pts 398 pts 382 pts 192 pts
Top 60 Scorers 632 pts
396 pts
1,127 pts
626 pts
804 pts
765 pts

 

The Southeast just sorta jumps off the page doesn't it.  The Northeast does too, for a different reason...  yuk!  NorthLeast!

Okay, so if the top D pairings on teams in the Southeast have to face the toughest forward competition throughout the season, which D pairing faces the worst of it?  Well, since D doesn't have to face their own forwards, I chose the team in the southeast with the least top forwards to face, which is Florida.  By that measure, the D pairing that faces the toughest QUALCOMP is

Keith Ballard: +.101 /  Clay Wilson: +.073  ||  Avg: +.087

Using the same logic the other way, the team with the best forwards in the Northeast is Buffalo, and their D paring with the lowest QUALCOMP is

Steve Montador (-.031) /  Andrej Sekera (-.064)  ||  Avg: -.0475

OKAY, I have my floor (-.0475) and my ceiling (+.087), so let's relate them to real world forwards. 

The top scoring line in the NHL that would be our Ovechkin/Backstrom/Knuble line || Avg: 85 points
The fourth line on the lowest scoring team in the league (BOS) is (as of today):
Shawn Thornton
(10 pts) / Steve Begin (14 pts) / Daniel Paille (20 pts)   ||   Avg: 15 pts

So the floor of -.0475 is equal to a line averaging 15 points, and the ceiling of +.087 is equal to a line of 85 points

Conclusions:
Here's where the math and science fails, but it makes sense in my head (and perhaps yours).

I correlate the ceiling, to averaging 85 points, or playing against a line of Alex Semins (84 points this year) versus the floor to playing against a line of David Steckels (16 points this year). 

THAT makes sense to me!  I can understand that. 

So how do I apply that to Flash, Fehr and any other players?

If I assess the effective range between  floor to ceiling in QUALCOMP as  .1345 and in points of 70.  A little math later and I came up with an equation of (QUALCOMP / .00192143) + 39 to give you an average point total for the opposing players.



So... 
Tomas Fleischmann: .013 (in CmA math = 46 pt average opposing player)
Eric Fehr: -.033 (in CmA math = 22 pt average opposing player)

Surprisingly significant.  Flash plays against lines that average 24 points more per person. 

Or you could say Flash plays against a line of:
Brian Gionta / Brenden Morrow / Jason Arnott (all of whom had 46 pts this year)

...and Fehr plays against a line of:
Mike Grier
/ Rob Niedermayer / Chris Neil (all of whom had 22 pts this year)

Please tear my assumptions and methods apart, perhaps together we can make sense of this.




Notes: 

  • The top QUALCOMP in the league amongst players who've played more than 12 min per game, is TBL Mike Lundin: +.159
  • The bottom QUALCOMP in the league amongst players who've played more than 12 min per game, is PIT Deryk Engelland -.196
  • Which is why my "effective" floor and ceiling are not statistically sound (the difference is WAY too big to be outliers, right?), perhaps someone who knows of such things can make it so?

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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