Rangers looking to add more people to their analytics department

new york rangers training camp
Rangers bench boss, David Quinn – Getty Images
“Shoot more?” (A Beautiful Mind)

In the last few months the Rangers have made some amazing additions that have received great publicity. It started in late April with the acquisition of Adam Fox, continued with the hiring of John Davidson, drafting Kaapo Kakko, acquiring Jacob Trouba and signing Artemi Panarin. These are all high profiles moves, but the Rangers are adding and improving everywhere with little to no fanfare.

Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control

Professionals in the business world know the basics for improvement is the acronym DMAIC. It begins by defining a problem, measuring it, analyzing it, implementing a solution, and finally monitoring and adjusting based on the results. This can be applied in any business, especially sports.

In the hockey world a team will define the areas they feel need improvement which is done from the head coach all the way up to the President. Then you work with data analysts to decide what and how to measure it, analyze the data and present to management for a solution.

This is where a team’s analytics department comes in and the Rangers are hiring to bolster that division. Per the job posting description it is straight forward and looking to add to an already strong and impressive department.

The Performance Analyst will be responsible for collecting and interpreting data surrounding the team and its individual players as it relates to in game stats, practice stats, and player conditioning. Data provided to enhance coach feedback, and subsequently enhance player development through the provision of analytical interventions that underpin improved performance.

Unjustly Maligned

Quinn and his Rangers (Getty Images)

When it comes to analytics, too many in the hockey community incorrectly assume that because of poor corsi performance the Rangers don’t have a department. We proved that wrong in June with our reporting that the organization not only had one, but it was diverse and in some cases spanned beyond just the big club.

Some outlets reported that the only person they could find in the Rangers organization was Jim Sullivan, who is the Director of Player Care & Development/Analytics and Hockey Technology. That’s because he is the only one listed on the team’s website with the term analytics in it. 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

Beyond The Inner Workings

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 don’t publicize it more, 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.

The bottom line is that the Rangers have an analytics department and they combine it with a plethora of other information and tools to strive for success. It is also an area of the team that they are working on growing. Just like the hiring of Tanner Glass in Hartford to help mentor the prospects, the Rangers are working on every possible aspect to improve. That includes analytics.

So to all you Spreadsheet Samurai out there, keep it up and why not apply and be a part of making the Rangers even better next season.