Ulf Samuelsson and Advanced Statistics
Back when big Ulf Samuelsson was playing hockey, he was known for his brutish hard headed approach to the game. However these days he is becoming more concerned with the numbers behind the plays.
Ulf Samuelsson. Image provided by azcentral.com
Advanced statistics have become a sort of dirty word in hockey. People tend to hate the idea that you could take a sport so based on passion and heart, and break it into a series of equations, but the more we look, the more we see the “numbers” start to be incorporated around the league.
Advanced analytics usually refer to things like Corsi and Fenwick. For the most part these stats measure shots for as compared to shots against. The logic behind it being, that you have to have the puck to score, which brings us to possession numbers. When we talk about the new age of hockey we are looking even closer at the game. As new advanced statistics are aimed at showing what kinds of plays work more than others.
Ulf Samuelsson isn’t new to analytics, he examined the subject during his time with the Arizona Coyotes. Samuelsson told Gunnar Nordstrom in a discussion about analytics “this ability to use statistics in a more detailed way, has been around for a few years. One can, for example, look at what happens when you dump the puck in and a lot of other categories.”
These stats aren’t new but they seem to be taking hold of the game in a different way. Samuelsson went on to say that he didn’t really have the time to dive into the stats himself because of time constraints. This makes sense as NHL coaches tend to be bombarded with tape, their own players, and occasionally living their own lives.
If you ask me, the Rangers have a four man coaching staff to try to deal with analytics. Daniel Lacroix seemed to have that role to some degree last season. His main duty was providing the Rangers with a different perspective of the game which is essentially what analytics does.
Teams all around the league have made moves to try to better understand the realm of “analytics” in hockey. One of the most controversial moves was by the Edmonton Oilers who brought in a fan and critic Tyler Dellow who used analytics to bash the team on the internet. Dellow will now be providing a different kind of insight to the organization. Even the Maple Leafs have made a move in the analytics direction by bringing in Darryl Metcalf, Cam Charron, and Rob Pettapiece. What we can take from the news of these organizational moves is that teams are looking outside of the”old school” realm of thought.
This is why they are hiring bloggers, and other people not involved in “traditional” hockey. They provide a different prospective of the game. This doesn’t mean that old time hockey guys can’t ever grasp the idea; the transition just seems a little harder, because these guys have been on the ice and see the game in a unique way that made them professionals. Whether or not advanced statistics are here to stay remains to be seen, all we know is that the next 5 years are crucial.
Darryl Williams will replace Daniel Lacroix in the Rangers organization.
You can follow me on Twitter @StevenLoffredo