Posts Tagged ‘fantasy hockey’

Today I talk about some fantasy hockey strategy, and the advantage of short-term pickups. Everyone wants that home run off the waiver wire, but it can be just as effective to pick up guys who may be hot for just a month or six weeks and then find the next guy. I run down a number of player who could give your team a short term boost.

In today’s fantasy hockey podcast, I talk about a number of players I am holding onto or buying low in the early season, who I am walking away from, and who I am running away from!

Today I do the hockey birthdays, take a look around the league, and showcase 10 players who have provided nice early season value in fantasy hockey.

Today we celebrate my becoming an uncle by cracking some Surly anniversary brew and some double-oaked bourbon and talk about the Wild’s new jerseys, their offseason moves, and fantasy hockey.

Hockey is a game, and fantasy hockey is a game based around a game (though not a game within a game, that would be Inception!)

In game theory, an important distinction is whether the players have perfect information or imperfect information.

In games with perfect information (chess and checkers are good examples,) all the factors are known by all players. Each player can see all of his opponent’s pieces, and there is no ‘hidden’ information except for the plans and strategies inside the other guy’s head.

In games with imperfect information (most card games, blackjack and poker for example,) some of the factors are unknown by the players, which is where the complexity, the skill, and the intricacies of the game come into play. If everyone knew the dealer’s face down card in blackjack, or what everyone else at the poker table had as their pocket cards, those games would be a lot less fun.

So, do we have perfect information or imperfect information in fantasy hockey? Some would foolishly say it’s the former–they look at the stats for last night’s games or a guy’s production last season, and think it’s perfect information. After all, there’s the numbers right there in black and white, there’s everything that happened in the game, right in the box score. But when I think about how advanced stats like Corsi, PDO, zone starts, and qual comp contribute to fantasy, I think about how they make those boxcar stats look imperfect in an awful hurry. Sure, this guy got that many points, but he did it against really soft competition, or he got some really good puck luck, and those points may not really be an accurate reflection of his skill or a predictor of how many points he can put up going forward.

But on the other side of the coin, fantasy doesn’t care about a player’s QoC or his PDO…goals are goals. Let me clarify: if you drafted Patrick Marleau or Thomas Vanek this season, you got yourself a whole heap of goals in the first few games of the season, and you almost certainly won your first couple matchups. Whether those goals came on ridiculously high shooting percentages (they did) or came easier because of favorable zone starts (they did,) they still counted. Last April, I got myself on board the Pascal Dupuis express during my fantasy playoffs, and I enjoyed a nice little hot streak, to the tune of around a point per game over a couple weeks. Did I know that production was unsustainable? Certainly. Did I keep sending him out there night after night? You’re damn right I did! But I digress…

The point I’m trying to make is that the role of more sophisticated stats (or advanced stats, or underlying stats, or fancy stats, or whatever you want to call them, ultimately it doesn’t really matter) is to provide more *context* to a hockey player’s production. And in fantasy, that context can be supremely helpful. It can give us strong signals on whether to buy low or sell high on a team or player, and those signals (if we choose to heed them) can give us a leg up on our competition who is ignorant to even basic stuff like individual Sh%.

These stats don’t give us perfect information, by any means. No self-respecting stat guy (or gal) would tell you that. And we as a community are constantly trying to improve our methods, to develop new numbers and metrics that are meaningful and useful and not downright crazy (if you’re plugged in to the #fancystats community on Twitter, you may have heard about the paper that got accepted to the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference that makes that case that Alexander Steen is one of the most important players in the league. But I digress again…)

Bottom line: in fantasy hockey, we are dealing with imperfect information. But the value of Corsi and Fenwick and the usage charts and all that is that they give us slightly *less imperfect* information. One step closer to knowing when the dealer is about to flip over that suicide king, or that the guy on the button is working with deuce-seven offsuit.

^^The podcast is embedded in this page. Click the play button above to begin streaming, or click here to download an .mp3 file.

Today I interview one of my favorite hockey researchers, Rob Vollman of Hockey Prospectus and Hockey Abstract. Rob has developed a number of great tools and stats that have become a major part of the hockey analytics community.

“A good hockey stat first of all has to be useful.”

“The real achievement is to take something that’s complex and make it simple.”


Hockey Abstract

Rob’s personal page where he puts all his work. This site is a wealth of information–everything from Quality Starts to “Oz Coke charts” (AKA player usage charts) to historical comparisons. Your one-stop-shop for Vollman’s writing.

Hockey Prospectus

Another great site with a ton of great hockey writing from a bunch of today’s smartest minds.

>>E-mail me your fantasy hockey questions at hashtaghockey [at] gmail [dot] com, and follow me on Twitter, @Hashtag_Hockey

^^Podcast is embedded in this post. Click here to download the .mp3 file.

Can’t wait to get on iTunes so I don’t have to embed the files! I’m this close too, there appears to be a problem on the iTunes side…waiting to hear back from their tech support >_>

A player spotlight podcast today, with a twist: I did a top-10 list of forwards and defensemen by CorsiOn (min 10 GP). Talked a bit about how underlying stats like Corsi don’t always illuminate how well a player might do for fantasy, and gave lots of examples. For reference he’s the list.


  • 10. Davis Drewiske (LA) 16.4, (1+2=3), +1, 4 PIM, 8 SOG, 13:46, 6.9% on ice
  •  9. Dennis Wideman (CGY) 17.5, (3+6=9), -1, 4 PIM, 33 SOG, 24:53, 7.5%
  •  8. Paul Postma (WPG) 18.8, (1+4=5), -2, 2 PIM, 17 SOG, 16:04, 7.1%
  •  7. Zdeno Chara (BOS) 19.2, (2+3=5), +2, 14 PIM, 31 SOG, 25:29, 9.5%
  •  6. Johnny Boychuk (BOS) 19.3, (1+1=2), +3, 6 PIM, 22 SOG, 20:33, 10.9%
  •  5. T. J. Brodie (CGY) 19.6, (0+4=4), +4, 0 PIM, 11 SOG, 17:57, 9.1%
  •  4. Erik Karlsson (OTT) 23.0, (6+4=10), +6, 8 PIM, 63 SOG, 27:04, 5.8%
  •  3. Marc Methot (OTT) 23.6, (0+3=3), +1, 14 PIM, 14 SOG, 22:22, 7.0%
  •  2. Slava Voynov (LA) 26.8, (2+4=6), +6, 2 PIM, 24 SOG, 21:41, 7.7%
  •  1. Alec Martinez IR (LA) 29.7, (1+1=2), +/- 0, 4 PIM, 14 SOG, 18:56, 5.4%


  • 10. Anze Kopitar (LA), 25.4, (4+4=8), +/-0, 8 PIM, 19 SOG, 20:55, 6.1% on ice
  •  9. Eric Fehr (WAS), 26.4, (3+2=5), +/-0, 4 PIM, 13 SOG, 9:15 ATOI, 13.3%
  •  8. Brad Marchand (BOS), 26.5, (7+1=8), +4, 4 PIM, 16 SOG, 16:40, 8.6%, (43.8%)
  •  7. Tyler Seguin (BOS), 26.8, (2+5=7), +8, 6 PIM, 37 SOG, 17:39, 11.2%
  •  6. Patrice Bergeron (BOS), 27.4, (2+5=7), +6, 4 PIM, 44 SOG, 18:43, 7.3%
  •  5. Jeff Carter (LA), 28.8, (6+1=7), -2, 6 PIM, 31 SOG, 18:34, 7.5% (19.4%)
  •  4. Kyle Clifford (LA), 30.8, (2+5=7), +/-0, 12 PIM, 12 SOG, 11:37 ATOI, 13.4%
  •  3. Henrik Sedin (VAN), 33.1, (0+10=10), +9, 8 PIM, 19 SOG, 20:0 ATOI, 11.3%
  •  2. Daniel Sedin (VAN) 34.1, (4+8=12), +5, 0 PIM, 34 SOG, 19:03 ATOI, 9.1%
  •  1. Justin Williams (LA) 35.7, (1+4=5), +3, 12 PIM, 44 SOG, 16:29 ATOI, 9.0%

Hey! If you like the Hashtag Hockey podcast, check out the NHL Numbers podcast! They’re not on iTunes yet either so in the meantime check out their pod here.

Join me next week when I will have a special guest, fancy stat innovator extraordinaire, Rob Vollman!

In the mean time, send me any show ideas or fantasy hockey questions at hashtaghockey [at] gmail [dot] com and make sure to follow me on Twitter, @Hashtag_Hockey

hashtag hockey podcast logo chiller

^^The podcast is embedded in this post. Click the play button above to begin streaming, or click here to download the .mp3 file.

I’m still working on figuring out how to get the podcast on iTunes, so please bear with me as I get the technical details figured out.

Today, I look around the league and suggest a couple of Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils to pick up, plus a stat toolbox on PDO and a feature on how to make effective trades. Enjoy!

Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @Hashtag_Hockey or e-mail me at hashtaghockey [at] gmail [dot] com.


^^^Podcast embedded in this post. Click the play button above to stream the podcast or download the Hashtag Hockey Episode 3 mp3

I recorded today’s podcast at a lower audio quality so apologies in advance if it’s tougher to hear…I’m still getting this figured out.

Today I gave a quick stat workshop where I covered on-ice shooting percent/save percent, offensive zone start percent, and a general description of corsi-based stats.


Your one-stop shop for advanced stats, including all the stats mentioned in today’s podcast.

Behind the net FAQ: 10-part advanced stats tutorial

A great series of articles explaining the advanced stats that I use in my writing and podcasts.

Hashtag Hockey Stats Glossary

A description of the stats written by me

Thanks for checking out the podcast, you can e-mail me at hashtaghockey [at] gmail [dot] com, and make sure to follow me on Twitter, @Hashtag_Hockey


***The podcast is embedded in this post. Hashtag Hockey Podcast Episode 2 Final

Episode 2 of the Hashtag Hockey Podcast is officially up! Today I take a look around the league and talk about who’s off to a hot start, a cold start, and the most surprising player in the new 2013 NHL season. Then, in my feature segment, I talk about how to play fantasy hockey like a poker player, and finally, I talk about shooting percentage…why you should care and how it can make you a better fantasy hockey player.


^^Good statistical database, including shooting percentage and year-to-year comparisons

Armchair On Shooting Percentages

Arctic Ice Hockey: Luck vs Shot Quality in Shooting Percentage NHL Average Shot Percentage from 1967-68 to 2012-13

^^Awesome charts! League Average Sh% for forwards and defense over time. Love these graphs!

Click here for last week’s show, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, @Hashtag_Hockey