Saturday, April 14, 2012

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Fun With GVT & 5v5


The Stanley Cup Playoffs have already begun.  They are notorious to handicap; last season was only the third postseason since 1982 where every single division winner won their first-round matchup.

Sabermetrics, those advanced stats that have taken over baseball and are turning the tide in their war with basketball, is trying to instill order on the chaos that is hockey.  Consider me skeptical still; many goals are scored through lucky bounces of the puck and being in the right place at the right time.  That’s partially why so many division winners have been upset in the first round.

However, for this 2012 NHL playoff preview, I will highlight two statistics that those who know (or at least say they know) consider to be fairly predictive: Goals Versus Threshold (GVT) and Full Strength +/- per 60 minutes (5v5 +/- per 60).  Think of GVT as roughly the hockey equivalent of baseball’s Wins Above Replacement, the number of tallies a team scores and prevents above what a roster full of Average Joes would.  And, hopefully, 5v5 +/- per 60 is self-explanatory.  It’s not?  OK; when both you and your opponent are playing at even strength, how many more goals do you score than allow?  Divide that by the total number of minutes you’ve played with five skaters, set it in a ratio with the number of minutes in a regulation game, and you have an indication of how good the team is when the game is played most often, with ten skaters on the ice.

The statistics will be given alongside each team for the eight first-round matchups.  Listed also will be the predictions from both Neil Greenberg of the ESPN paywall and the writers of Hockey Prospectus (which also provides GVT; 5v5 +/- per 60 comes from Behind the Net).  I, however, will not make predictions.  I’ve learned my lesson.

Eastern Conference:

·         (1) New York Rangers (39.0 GVT, 0.3 5v5 +/- per 60) vs. (8) Ottawa Senators (9.0 GVT, 0.2 5v5 +/- per 60):

o   HP: New York in 5

o   ESPN: Ottawa in 6

·         (2) Boston Bruins (61.0 GVT, 0.7 5v5 +/- per 60) vs. (7) Washington Capitals (-8.0 GTV, 0.0 5v5 +/- per 60):

o   HP: Boston in 6

o   ESPN: Boston in 5

·         (3) Florida Panthers (-24.0 GVT, -0.2 5v5 +/- per 60) vs. (6) New Jersey Devils (19.0 GVT, -0.2 5v5 +/- per 60):

o   HP: New Jersey in 6 (or 5, depending on who the Florida goaltender will be)

o   ESPN: New Jersey in 4

·         (4) Pittsburgh Penguins 0.4 5v5 +/- per 60 vs. (5) Philadelphia Flyers 0.3 5v5 +/- per 60:

o   HP: Pittsburgh in 6

o   ESPN: Pittsburgh in 6

Western Conference:

·         (1) Vancouver Canucks 0.4 5v5 +/- per 60 vs. (8) Los Angeles Kings 0.1 5v5 +/- per 60:

o   HP: Los Angeles in 7

o   ESPN: Los Angeles in 7

·         (2) St. Louis Blues 0.6 5v5 +/- per 60 vs. (7) San Jose Sharks 0.2 5v5 +/- per 60:

o   HP: St. Louis in 6

o   ESPN: St. Louis in 4

·         (3) Phoenix Coyotes (12.0 GTV, 0.3 5v5 +/- per 60) vs. (6) Chicago Blackhawks (10.0 GTV, 0.2 5v5 +/- per 60):

o   HP: Phoenix in 7

o   ESPN: Phoenix in 6

·         (4) Nashville Predators (27.0 GTV, 0.2 5v5 +/- per 60) vs. (5) Detroit Red Wings (45.0 GTV, 0.8 5v5 +/- per 60):

o   HP: Detroit in 6

o   ESPN: Nashville in 6

We will compare the predictions to what actually happened in a future post.

Posted by WilliamSou at 2:25 AM

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