Rangers Analytics Department more advanced than people realize

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Sports in its simplest form is a numbers game. In hockey, it is a plethora of stats that ultimately comprises an outcome. Whether that be the final score to a game or how to view a performance of not only the team but an individual through a different lens. This has always been a reality since it was done with pencil and paper to super powered digital devices.

Yesterday, there was an intriguing piece in the Athletic on how the Rangers could further involve advanced stats in their approach. In it the author states that “John Davidson is looking to add to the Rangers analysis” and that there wasn’t “many indications that the Rangers were analytically inclined over the years.”

In the article’s final conclusion, it states that John Davidson in order to build an analytics department must identify, “qualified analysts and commit to embracing this part of hockey analysis.” The Rangers declined to comment to the Athletic.

After reading the story my first reaction was confusion. I mean, it is 2019 and I know I’ve heard both David Quinn and Jeff Gorton say they use analytics in their decision making process. So do the Rangers not have an analytics department already? I did some digging around and reached out to the Rangers themselves to get clarification.

As was stated in the Athletic piece, Jim Sullivan is the Director of Player Care & Development/Analytics and Hockey Technology. A person that wasn’t mentioned is Adam Virgile, who is a Performance Analyst. Per a Rangers spokesperson, “he does extensive data analysis for us.” Both can be found on the Rangers Directory.

Another key player in the Rangers Analytics Department that isn’t listed in the directory is Richard Dry. Per the spokesperson, he is the “Director of Sports Technology and creates custom programs for both the Knicks and Rangers.” Richard’s LinkedIn profile reads:

As the Director of Sports Technology it is my responsibility to maintain, develop and innovate data technologies for the NY Knicks, NY Rangers, Hartford Wolf Pack and the new D-League franchise in Westchester. 

In this role I work with the staff on each team (coaches, trainers, general management) on a daily basis. I also coordinate with corporate-level MSG IT and Chief Technology Office to work on wider projects for the group and teams.

LinkedIn

The Rangers also told me they work with SportsLogiq which as they state on their website is an “A.I. powered sports analytics company.” It is clear that the organization has a comprehensive analytics department and approach that would rival most other NHL teams.

When I asked why they declined to comment, the spokesperson said, “we aren’t a team that likes to talk about the inner workings of what we do.” That was fair enough, no organization needs to divulge what stats they use or how they use it. The one thing that was stressed to me is that they do.

Ultimately, this isn’t to say that the heart of the Athletic piece is incorrect. Matter of fact, it does an amazing job diving into setting up an analytics department. John Davidson just got here and will be reviewing and looking to improve all aspects of the organization.

The bottom line is that the Rangers do have an analytics department and they combine it with a plethora of other information and tools to strive for success.

I would like to thank the Rangers organization for giving me their time for this article.

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