Thursday, December 14, 2017

Star Wars: Rey Lineage Probabilities (no spoilers)

One of the greatest unsolved mysteries to emerge from the Force Awakens is where did Rey come from? Who are her parents? Star Wars fans have produced a wide assortment of theories ranging from “she’s a Kenobe” to “she’s the Emperor’s granddaughter”. I’ve laid out the list of possibilities below, and attached some probabilities. The Last Jedi comes out tomorrow, and I won't see the movie until Tuesday. The only spoilers you'll see here are for Force Awakens. I'll be very disappointing if we don't get any resolution on the Rey origin story. The people who left her on Jakku are not necessarily her parents. There is also the possibility that she’s a clone.

1. Rey Born To Two Normal (non-force) Parents: 25%

If we go with the idea that the simplest solution is most likely right, then she’s probably just an orphan born to a commoner and her specific lineage is really not important to the story. Maybe she never knew about Luke’s school and has no part in any conflict. She could be a scavenger, had parents who worked for the Empire or Republic, or maybe had no affiliation at all. The simplest solution may also be the least compelling option cinematically.

2. The force got a common woman pregnant 20%

We’ve seen this happen before, and it’s a likely outcome for how Rey was born. The metichlorians committed another sexual assault on an innocent woman to create a “chosen one”.  They showed a tendency in The Force Awakens to hit plot points from the previous movies, and this is a big one. It would make Rey a “chosen one”, almost like a deity. The immaculate conception theory almost seems too obvious and was the plot from critically unpopular prequel movie.

3. Luke’s Daughter: 10%

When I walked out of the theatre having just seen the movie, I was convinced that Rey was a Skywalker; based mostly on 1) her hug with Leia, 2) how Luke reacted to seeing her. It really felt like Luke had left Rey on Jakku after the destruction of his Jedi Academy before he went into hiding. There really seemed to be a connection between Leia and Rey.

At the end of Force Awakens when Leia learns of Luke’s location, why isn’t Leia the one who goes to meet him? She’s the one who desperately needs to talk to her brother about the rebellion, so sending this young girl doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, unless she’s family. Especially if Rey is Luke’s daughter, then it makes perfect sense why she would be the chosen emissary.

Where the Rey Skywalker theory starts to fall apart is after examining the timeline. According to Wookiepedia, Rey was left on left on Jakku with Unkar Plutt (the portions guy) roughly 17 years after the Battle of Endor, about 7 years before the fall of Luke’s Jedi academy. Luke was still recruiting and training young Jedi at the time that Rey was left on Jakku. Unless she is a clone of Luke. If whoever found his lightsabre also found his hand attached to it, it’s possible someone tried to have him cloned. That Maz lady had the lightsabre in Force Awakens, but we don’t yet know how it came to be in her possession.

Then there is the old man Lor San Tekka who had the map to Luke. He was a Jedi scholar without force powers and was reportedly very close with Luke Skywalker after the fall of the Empire. According to Wookiepedia, San Tekka moved to Jakku after the fall of Luke’s Jedi Academy. Rey had already been on the planet for several years under the protection of Unkar Plutt. San Tekka was not her guardian, but he may have gone there looking for her. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the old man who had the map to find Luke just happened to be on the same planet as Rey.

Problem is, JJ Abrams told us that we don’t see Rey’s parents are not in Force Awakens. This should probably eliminate this theory.

4. Rey Palpatine: 10%

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense why Luke would hide her on Jakku while he’s rebuilding the Jedi and could presumably use all the young force sensitive kids he can find. Moreover, why would Luke leave her with a Scavenger Gangster who is not a good dude?

I now find it highly unlikely that Rey is a Skywalker. I don’t think she was born into the light-side. If Wookiepedia is correct and she was left on Jakku years before Luke’s school was destroyed, then she is either a random orphan or came from dark side parents. My favourite theory is that she’s a blood relative of Emperor Palpatine, that she was born into the darkness and became a beacon of light.

If she was infact being abandoned on Jakku for the purpose of being “hidden”, then it’s more likely that she was being hidden from Luke than Snoke. Maybe her evil parents or guardians figured out how powerful she could potentially be, that she was good inside, and didn’t want her becoming a Jedi.

The fact that she was left on that planet with a Scavenger gangster might be the biggest clue of all that she did not come from noble birth. If you were just some “space nanny” who was trying to hide the Emperor’s surviving extended family from his enemies, then Unkar Plutt is probably the perfect choice of babysitter.

5. Rey Kenobe - 10%

There is a popular theory online that she is a blood relative of Obi Wan Kenobe. The evidence is not very strong, mostly centered around circumstantial evidence like her British accent, Obi Wan speaking in her force vision, how she dresses, and other parallels with things Obi Wan did.

6. Rey Snoke: 5%

There have been some theories popping up lately that Rey is a blood relative of Snoke. I do believe Rey came from the dark side, however it’s just as likely she came from Snoke as it is Palpatine. It’s even plausible that Snoke tried to have himself cloned. He’s not looking to be too healthy in the previews. The biggest problem with Snoke is that they’ve said Rey’s parents were not in Force Awakens.

7. Leia’s Daughter: 5%

It would make for an interesting story line if Rey and Kylo were brother and sister. Personally, I’m not a believer in this theory. The greatest evidence that Rey is Leia’s daughter is the hug. Han had just died and instead of going to console Chewy, Leia goes right to hug Rey. It’s plausible she could be Leia’s daughter but not Han’s. Rey is 10 years younger than Kylo and would have been a teenager when Kylo turned to the dark side and destroyed the Jedi Academy.

Where the Leia theory especially falls apart for me is her being left on Jakku. I can’t imagine any scenario where Leia would leave her female toddler daughter with a nasty dude like Unkar. Would any parent? I have trouble believing that any good parent would choose “The Blobfish” to look after their kid. Plus, Rey was abandoned prior to Kylo turning dark, so what need would Leia have to abandon her daughter

8. Some Other Light-side Force User From Extended Lore: 5%

9. Some Other Dark-side Force User From Extended Lore: 5%

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Buying NHL Corsi

The statistic Corsi For % has become very popular in NHL circles as a means of measuring player effectiveness while on the ice. It's a form of "shot attempt +/-". CF = even strength shots attempts for while a player is on the ice. CA = even strength shot attempts against while a player is on the ice. CF% = CF/(CF+CA) where 50% means a player is on the ice for an equal number of shots attempts for and against.

As this statistic becomes more popular, we see more teams spending money to acquire players who succeed in this category. So how can we expect a player's CF% to change when he starts a new contract with a new team and how much does it cost? To answer this question, I've taken a sample of 435 players who played an entire season with one team, then started a new contract playing at least 1 whole season with a new team, playing at least 30 games with each. I'm not counting players traded mid season. 

The entire sample averaged just over 49% in the first year with their new team on a new contract, a number we would expect to see at exactly 50%, given that there's an equal number of CFs and CAs in every game. Every shot for is also a shot against for the other team. The sample of players going to a new team had an average CF% below what we expect from the entire population.

75% of players with a CF% greater than or equal to 50% will have a smaller CF% with their new team. Conversely 61% of players with a CF% less than 50% will put up a higher CF% with their new team. In other words, players at both ends of the spectrum trend back towards the mean.

*Players with a CF% over 54% will average 51.3% with their new team
*Players between 52% - 54% will average 49.8% with their new team
*Players between 50% - 52% will average 49.2% with their new team
*Players between 48% -50% will average 49.1% with their new team
*Players between 46% - 48% will average 47.5% with their new team
*Players under 46% will average 43.1% with their new team

We do see some very big swings in some individual players. David Clarkson went from 62% in New Jersey to 43% in Toronto. Jarome Iginla went from a 53% in Boston to a 42% in Colorado. Mike Ribeiro went from 45% in Washington to 54% in Phoenix. 

Buying Corsi

In terms of what it costs to buy Corsi on the free agent market, we can look at the expected Annual Average Salaries of players starting new contracts, expanding the sample to include players returning to the same team. There are 1775 players in the expanded sample (the same player can appear more than once, but different years different contracts), the average expected salary of the entire sample signing new contracts is $2.4M AAV.

*Players with a CF% over 54% earn an avg salary of $3.4M on their new contract
*Players between 52% - 54% earn an avg salary of $2.9M on their new contract
*Players between 50% - 52% earn an avg salary of $2.4M on their new contract
*Players between 48% -50% earn an avg salary of $2.3M on their new contract
*Players between 46% - 48% earn an avg salary of $2.2M on their new contract
*Players under 46% earn an avg salary of $1.5M on their new contract

If we treat all other statistics as being equal, players with a CF%>54% will get roughly a $1M premium. Those under 46% will get a similar sized deduction. Players between 52% - 54% get a $500K bonus, those between 46% and 48% get a $200K deduction. Everything from 52% - 48% does not significantly affect salary.

Flaw in NHL Shot Suppression Statisitc

The modern age of NHL hockey has seen a rapid evolution of advanced statistics. We are entering a Golden Age of analytics. There are still flaws in some of the conclusions we are making from these metrics. One skill that current analytics does not properly value are defensive specialists. Players who specialize in preventing the other team's best players from scoring without providing much offense themselves will typically do very poorly in the "shot differential" battle, while still providing a useful service.

The term "shot suppression" in NHL statistics generally refers to "Corsi Against", or how many shots the other team averages per 60 minutes while a player is on the ice. If the opposing team averages more shots on goal while a specific player is on the ice, he is said to be bad at shot suppression. That appeals to our common sense. However, it is flawed in the context of line match-ups. If each line on a team averages the same amount of ice time against each line on the other team, then this suppression statistic is more valid. At the NHL level we see some notoriously complex line matching, where coaches attempt to deploy specific players against specific players.

If Player A gives up 40 shots per 60 minutes and Player B gives up 20 shots per 60m, we could say that Player B is twice as effective at suppressing shots. This might be correct, if A and B spend the same amount of time on the ice against the opponent’s top line(s). However, if A spent most of his time on the ice against Sidney Crosby and B spent most of his time on the ice against Riley Sheahan, then this "shot suppression" statistic is completely misleading.

Shot suppression should not be how well you do relative to your teammates. It should be how well you do relative to your opponent. Let's say the Crosby line averages 50 shots per 60 minutes and the Sheahan line averages 10. Then Player A allowed 10 fewer shots than his opponent averages and Player B allowed 10 more. In that context, we could say that Player A is twice as good at shot suppression. 

Does the opponent you are matched up against average more or less shots when you are on the ice? That's the true "Shot Suppression" statistic that I'd like to know. I'm not aware of anyone out there currently calculating this statistic.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

NHL 2017 Week 10 Fantasy Hockey Report

Players to watch, all formats:

1) Alex DeBrincat, Chicago, (38% Yahoo ownership): The kid can score, and the Blackhawks need scoring. He’s got 8 PTS in his last 7 GP and has the opportunity to see ice time with Patrick Kane. Over the last 14 days he’s in the top 20 in NHL scoring.

2) Tyler Johnson, Tampa, (29% Yahoo ownership): After a terrible start to the season, they’ve been playing Johnson with Stamkos and it’s resulted in 7 PTS in 4 GP.  Worth a gamble while he’s on the top line.

3) Mats Zuccarello, Rangers, (62% Yahoo ownership): If you’re looking for a reliable veteran to add in a standard league, this guy is on the list. He’s scored 13 PTS in his last 12 GP and should be more than 62% owned.

4) Keith Yandle, Florida, (70% Yahoo ownership): Not sure I’d be recommending to add Keith Yandle to your real-life hockey team, but he’s available in some standard leagues and is worth a shot. He’ll get PTS, scoring 8 in his last 7 GP.

5) Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver, (46% Yahoo ownership): I do not trust the Vancouver Canucks to be a good team, especially now that Bo Horvat is out for 6 weeks. In his last 4 GP Markstrom has posted a 1.72 GAA and .937 SV%. If you need to plug a hole in a shallow league, he might be available. Worth owning while this little hot streak keeps going.

Going Deep: players owned in 10% of leagues or less:

1) Sam Bennett, Calgary, (6% Yahoo ownership): I’m thrilled to include Bennett on this list, having dropped him in my 18 Team League a few weeks ago when things were looking bleak. Now he’s got 8 PTS in his last 7 GP. Awesome.

2) Tanner Pearson, LA, (7% Yahoo ownership): With 7 PTS in his last 6 GP, Pearson is putting up good numbers for a guy available in a bunch of leagues.

3) Andrew Shaw, Montreal, (8% Yahoo ownership): Shaw has been averaging over 17m of ice time over the last 2 weeks, adding 6 PTS in 7 GP. If you’re looking for penalty minutes, he can help you there too.

4) Justin Braun, San Jose, (6% Yahoo ownership): In his last 6 GP he’s got 4 PTS while averaging over 21m of ice time. Of all the defensemen owned in 10% of leagues or less, he’d be my #1 add.

5) Kari Lehtonen, Dallas, (7% Yahoo ownership): Looking at the list of goalies owned in 10% of leagues or less, Lehtonen is the best option. He has played in 4 of the last 5 games for Dallas and has played well. If you’re in a deep league and need a guy, he’s a decent short-term option.

The 1%: Top 3 Players to Add that are 1% Owned or Less

1) Michael Raffl, Philly, (1% Yahoo ownership): Rotoworld advised a few weeks ago that Raffl “should not be added in any format”. That is not true. He can be owned in deep leagues, scoring 6 PTS in his last 6 GP. He’s been getting generous ice time.

2) Daniel Carr, Montreal, (0% Yahoo ownership): Since being recalled from the minors, Carr has 7 PTS in 5 GP. Three of those PTS came in the Detroit blowout, but that’s still pretty good for a 0% owned player.

3) Mike Matheson, Florida, (1% Yahoo ownership): He’ a good young defenseman who has scored 4 PTS in his last 7 GP.

Sell High:

1) Artemi Panarin, Columbus, (98% Yahoo ownership): He is perfectly capable of scoring PTS without Patrick Kane, posting 10 in his last 5 GP alone. His trade value might never be higher than it is right now.

2) Tom Wilson, Washington, (36% Yahoo ownership): Over his last 3 GP, Wilson has posted 7 PTS, +6, 11 PIMS, 9 shots, and 10 hits. If you’re in a league that counts all those categories you’ll probably want to keep him. Otherwise, he’d make for great “sweetener” in some trade offers. He’ll cool down soon enough.

3) Anze Kopitar, LA, (94% Yahoo ownership): In his last 7 GP he’s scored 13 PTS. It has been a remarkable bounce back season for the 30-year-old player. However, I fully expect this torrid pace to cool off in the 2nd half. If you wanted to sell high, there is no better time than right now.

Buy Low:

1) Victor Hedman, Tampa, (100% Yahoo ownership): The Norris Trophy contender has not scored a point over the last 7 games. There is no reason to be concerned. This may be an opportunity to acquire him at a discount.

2) Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary, (99% Yahoo ownership): In his last 8 GP, Mr. Hockey has only scored 3 PTS. Now might be the best time to make a trade offer if this is a guy you want on your team.

3) PK Subban, Nashville, (99% Yahoo ownership): Like Hedman, he’s pointless over his last 7 GP, which is far below his owner’s expectations. This would be an opportunistic time to make a trade offer.

Be concerned:

1) Craig Anderson, Ottawa, (75% Yahoo ownership): This is not the first time that Mr. Anderson has appeared on the “Be Concerned” list. If he’s been on your fantasy team all season, then you’re probably already plenty concerned and don’t need me to tell you. On the season he’s sporting a 3.11 GAA and .895 SV%, which does not merit 75% ownership.

2) Justin Faulk, Carolina, (70% Yahoo ownership): His PTS per game has plummeted by half since last season, with 7 PTS in 28 GP. If you drafted him as a 40-point defenseman, he’s been a huge disappointment.  That ownership % is way too high. He can be dropped in standard leagues.

3) Nick Foligno, Columbus, (45% Yahoo ownership): He gets plenty of ice time with gifted offensive players and still has just 4 PTS in his last 14 GP. That’s not what you drafted him to be. He can be safely dropped in all standard leagues.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

10 Best/Worst NHL Goalie Contracts in the Salary Cap Era

Which NHL goalies have signed the best and worst contracts since the salary cap was introduced in 2005?


1) Martin Brodeur, Jan 27 2006, 6 years $31.2M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He won a pair of Vezina trophies on this contract. The last two years were unspectacular, but you can live with that after 2 Vezinas. He put up a .915 SV% and 2.28 GAA over the 6 seasons.

2) Mikka Kiprusoff, Aug 13 2005, 3 years $10M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. He won a Vezina in year one at a bargain price. Averaged 40 wins per season, did start to decline in year three when he was over-30 years old. Still, he earned the whole $10M in year one with a .923 SV% and 2.07 GAA.

3) Carey Price, July 2 2012, 6 years $39M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. He won a Vezina and league MVP on this contract. Those are worth whatever you paid for them. Thus far he’s averaged a .925 SV%.

4) Jonathan Quick, Oct 23 2009, 3 years $5.4M: He won a Stanley Cup and was the playoff MVP. Bargain. Also posted a .919 SV% and 2.16 GAA in the regular season.

5) Henrik Lundqvist, Feb 14 2008, 6 years $41.25M: Signed by Glen Sather. This may not be a “bargain”, but he was one of the best goalies in the league over the span of this contract, winning the Vezina trophy in 2012. Almost every team in the league would have happily traded whoever their goalie was to acquire this contract.

6) Tim Thomas, Apr 3 2009, 4 years $20M: Signed by Peter Chiarelli. Thomas produced a Stanley Cup, a playoff MVP, and a Vezina trophy on this contract. That’s worth whatever you paid even if he sat out the last year.

7) Sergei Bobrovsky, Jan 11 2015, 4 years $29.7M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. It’s hard to say that a contract with a $7.4M AAV is a bargain, but considering he won the Vezina trophy in year two, with a .931 SV% and 2.06 GAA.

8) Matt Murray, Oct 20 2016, 3 years $11.2M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. This kid won 2 Stanley Cups on his entry level contract. I don’t think any goalie in the salary cap era has managed to do that as the starter. Staying healthy seems to be a bit of a problem with this guy.

9) Braden Holtby, July 24 2015, 5 years $30.5M: Signed by Brian MacLellan. Some people might argue that he doesn’t belong on this list due to playoff performance. That could be a valid argument, but he won a Vezina Trophy in year one, and in my books, that’s always a win. He’s earning that money in the regular season with a .923 SV% and 2.14 GAA over the first 2 years.

10) Martin Jones, July 1 2015, 3 years $9M: They took a gamble on a guy who had mostly just been a really good back-up goalie and got a legit #1 who took them to a Stanley Cup final. Not bad.


1)  Ilya Bryzgalov, June 23 2011, 9 years $51M: Signed by Paul Holmgren. He played 110 games for Philly before being bought out after year two. Don’t feel bad for Ilya though, he’ll be collecting $1.6M per year until 2027. Human beings will probably set foot on Mars before Ilya’s Flyers cheques stop coming…

2) Nikolai Khabibulin, Aug 5 2005, 4 years $27M: Signed by Dale Tallon. Do the Blackhawks get Patrick Kane if they don’t sign Khabibulin? I’m not sure you change anything with the time machine. In 4 seasons he averaged a .904 SV% and 2.81 GAA.

3) Cristobal Huet, July 1st 2008, 4 years $22.5M: Signed by Dale Tallon. He finished this contract being loaned to Europe for salary cap circumvention purposes. Had a .902 SV% in the 2 seasons he played in Chicago.

4) Marc Denis, July 5 2006, 3 years $8.6M: Signed by Jay Feester. His best season had a 3.19 GAA and 0.883 SV%. He finished this contract in the AHL before being bought out. It’s even worse considering the size of the cap in 2006. This was an awful waste of money.

5) Anti Niemi, June 29 2015, 3 years $13.5M: Signed by Jim Nill. Niemi was never a good player for the Dallas Stars. His numbers significantly declined almost the moment he arrived. This contract was bought out after year two.

6) Rick Dipietro, Sep 12 2006, 15 years $67.5M: It could be argued that this contract is only bad because DiPietro could not stay healthy. At the same time, he had a 3.00 GAA and .900 SV% the year before signing this, so there were clues he wasn’t that good. He was eventually bought out after posting a .904 SV% over 7 seasons, but don’t feel bad for Ricky…he’ll be getting $1.5M per year from the Islanders until 2029. Humans will be flying around in starships, he’ll still be cashing Islanders pay cheques.

7) Vesa Toskala, July 4 2007, 2 years $8M: Signed by John Ferguson jr, traded away by Brian Burke with another bad contract for another bad contract (JS Giguere). Toskala was awful after signing this contract. In his last season in Toronto before being traded he had a 3.66 GAA and .874 SV% in 26 GP.

8) Dan Cloutier, Sep 27 2006, 2 years $6M: He played more AHL than NHL games on this contract. That’s way too much money for an .887 SV% and 3.44 GAA.

9) Simeon Varlamov, Jan 30 2014, 5 years $29.5M: Signed by Greg Sherman. He had a career year and a Vezina Trophy nomination the season before signing this contract, and hasn’t been the same since. In year one his GAA was 2.56, year two 2.81, year three 3.38. That’s not what the Avalanche are paying for.

10) Roberto Luongo, Sep 2 2009, 12 years $64M: Signed by Mike Gillis. This contract sucks. That’s how Roberto Luongo himself described it. The part that still stings for Vancouver is they traded him away to Florida and are still paying a chunk of his salary. Lou is aging well and is a bargain for Florida, but is another tombstone in Vancouver’s goalie graveyard. I do need to point out, Luongo posted by far the best numbers during his “bad” contract than any other goalie on this list with a .920 SV%. Where this one gets bad is that he's 37-years-old and still has 5 more years left. There's something called the "cap recapture penalty" that's going to sting if he retires early.

NHL Draft Pick Value

What is the expected value of each NHL draft pick? We can measure value by the amount of salary paid to players under an NHL contract (goalies not included), looking at all draft picks from 2004 to 2016 (ergo only players drafted into the salary cap era with streamlined entry level contracts). 

There are some flaws to using only Games Played to measure value, whereas salary does a better job reflecting the player's value to their franchise (with some exceptions). Most entry level contracts are the same (roughly 80% of players on ELC will have an cap hit between $5K - $25K per NHL game). Where salary does a better job of estimating player value is on contracts after entry level.

Salary in this case does not refer to how much money the player put in his bank account, it is what they count against the salary cap (as per, plus a max of $50,000 for those playing AHL games while on a 2-way NHL contract. A lesser sum is awarded for ECHL games, provided the player is on an NHL contract. For example, those who played 1-5 NHL games on an entry level contract and a full AHL schedule average $60,000 in salary. Those playing in the minors on a minor league contract count as $0. 

Age refers to the age of each player on September 15th, such that those born between Sept 15 and Dec 31 count as a year younger. This is necessary because those players are forced to be drafted a year later under current NHL rules. Treating Sept 15th like that's New Year's Eve makes the data analysis more streamlined. An 18-year-old is a player in his first season after his first year of draft eligibility.

There are five different graphs below all examining a different means of measuring value using contract data.

Sum of All Salary per round

The total amount of salary earned by each round of the NHL draft from age 18-27. These are the raw totals only for players who are under NHL contract, or have their rights owned by an NHL team.

1st round picks earned a total of $3.26 billion dollars, which accounts for 61% of all the salary earned by NHL draft picks. The top 10 picks earned $2 billion of those dollars, which reinforces how top heavy the draft pool tends to be. There is an elite tier at the top of round 1, a good tier that extends into round 2 (sometimes into round 3 depending on the depth of the draft class), and everything else is like buying scratch and win lottery tickets. Expected salary really starts to flatten out after the 2nd round. There is not much difference between the 3rd and 4th rounds.

This chart is does an excellent job of showing just how valuable a 1st round pick can be, but doesn't show us rate of decline from one pick to the next.

Expected Career Earnings by pick

This is calculated by taking the expected salary at each age (up to 27) for each pick and then adding them all together (the sum of the average values). The higher picks are more likely to play NHL games as teenagers and thus will earn extra career earnings while other picks have yet to turn pro. If we looked specifically at how good a player will be by a certain age, the difference would be less pronounced than with Total Expected salary.

The 1st overall pick is expected to make almost $60M in future salary (from age 18 to 27) and drops sharply down to around $15M by the 8th pick. The players who go directly to the NHL as 18-year-olds will also get to their second contracts at an earlier age. Using cumulative salary to measure pick value does skew towards the elite tier who plays more games. Over 95% of all picks after the 1st round will max-out their entry level slide.

There is very little difference from the 15th pick to the 30th pick. The 2nd round has a high variance in future salary, then early in the 3rd round we get into the "lottery ticket" zone. The probability of drafting an impact player beyond the 3rd round would be between 5% and 10% depending on the parameters.

Expected NHL Salary at Age 23

Instead of taking what each draft pick earns at each age and then adding them together; this one specifically looks at what a pick is expected to earn at the age when the majority of entry level contracts have expired. At age 22, 87% of draft picks on NHL contracts are still entry level. At age 23, only 37% of draft picks on NHL contracts are entry level.

This chart looks very similar to the one above, except that the values don't drop as sharply from the 7th pick to the end of the 1st round. It does less to punish players for entry level slide, providing a smaller rate of decline in expected value from one pick to the next in the middle of the 1st round. The Expected salary of the 1st overall pick is over $6M, but drops down below $2M by the 12th pick. The decline from the 10th pick to the 50th pick is less severe than with the career earnings graph above.

Probability of NHL Draft Pick Signing Entry Level Contract

What is the probability that any given draft pick will sign an entry level contract with the team that drafted them by the deadline to retain their rights?  Generally, teams have two seasons to sign junior players, four seasons to sign European players, and whenever they graduate to sign college players. This sample does not count players still in the NCAA at age 23 (which is 3% of the draft population).

For this graph the picks are bundled into groups of 10. There is a vertical line at the end of every round, and the dots on the grid-lines represents the last 10 picks of that round.

The probability of a 1st round draft pick signing an Entry Level Contract with their draft team by age 23 (or by the deadline to sign) is 98%. Getting drafted in the 1st round all but guarantees getting offered a basic ELC, 2nd round picks 88%, 3rd round picks 81%, 4th round 65%, 5th round 55%, 6th round 49%, 7th round 38%.

There are some anomalous results. For example, picks 151-160 had a higher % sign entry level contracts than picks 141-150.  Why would the first 10 picks of the 6th round have a higher sign rate than the last 10 picks of the 5th round? My best explanation is randomness. There is a less predictable pattern the later you get in the draft. We get more waves out by the tail. There may be a better explanation hidden in the details, based on the type of player that tends to be taken in those rounds (more European and tier II players).

There was a PhD student who did his thesis project on NHL Draft Pick value, and he also observed the phenomenon of some later picks performing better than some earlier picks. He could not explain it. You can get clusters of good players coming from specific pick ranges later in the draft that defies intuition.

Pick Ownership Percentage (by age)

What percentage of all NHL Draft picks are owned by an NHL team at any given age? These are players either with a contract, or a team simply retains their rights for various reasons (like players heading to Europe before their contract expires).

The steepest rate of ownership decline comes from age 22 to 23, when the majority of entry level contracts expire. There are many players who get an ELC, but never get a 2nd NHL deal.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Worst NHL Contracts 2006

Here are the worst NHL contracts of 2006. This list was compiled in 2017 based on their performance during the 2005/06 season. Free agents signed that summer are eligible for next year’s list, so everyone nominated here has played at least 1 full season under the contract. There is preference given to contracts with more term remaining.

These are only contracts signed under the salary cap. Contracts signed prior to the lost season that got rolled back don't count. Given that I’m only looking at contracts signed in the few months after the new CBA, the sample size is a bit limited. There are a few players on this list who would not be considered a bad contract in other seasons. I do this because for the purposes of my NHL financial analysis, the introduction of the salary cap is where time=0.

1) Nikolai Khabibulin, CHI, 3 more yrs @ $6.7M AAV, age 33: He came back after the lockout and hit a big pay day in Chicago. The best thing he did was help them lose hockey games and secure high draft picks. That kind of money for 17 wins, 3.35 GAA, .886 SV% is ridiculous.

2) Glen Murray, BOS, 3 more yrs @ $4.15M AAV, age 32: Murray’s game was better suited to the old NHL, not the new and faster NHL. He is quickly becoming obsolete.

3) Jose Theodore, COL, 2 more yrs @ $5.3M AAV, age 30: Jose has fallen a long way since his MVP caliber season. 43 GP, 18 W, 3,41 GAA and .882 SV% shouldn’t cost you $5.3M, not even close.

4) Bobby Holik, WPG, 2 more yrs @ $4.25M AAV, age 34: Even after the Rangers bought him out of that previous albatross contract, Holik’s agent was skilled enough to find another team willing to over-pay him.

5) Derian Hatcher, PHI, 3 more yrs @ $3.5M AAV, age 33: In the new NHL, the big slow Hatcher is a dinosaur. He was bought out by the Red Wings following the lockout and landed in Philly.

6) Adam Foote, CLB, 2 more yrs @ $4.6M, AAV, age 34: This was a case of a young team paying a premium to get an old veteran with Stanley Cup rings. It wasn’t a terrible waste of money, but it also wasn’t fair value. Why did Foote choose Columbus? I am assuming that there weren’t a lot of contenders offering a 3-year deal for $13.8M to a 34-year-old defenseman with a declining skill set.

7) Dan Cloutier, VAN, 2 more yrs @ $2.5M AAV, age 30: Prior to the lockout Cloutier posted a 2.27 GAA and .914 SV%. He spent the lockout playing in Austria and in his first season back in the NHL he posted a 3.17 GAA and .897 SV%. He was traded to LA in the summer for a 2nd round pick.

8) Martin Lapointe, CHI, 2 more yrs @ $2.4M AAV, age 32: After taking a year off from hockey during the lockout, Lapointe returned to the NHL to score 14 Goals and 31 PTS. He posted by far the worst +/- on the Blackhawks with -30.

9) Mike Rathje, PHI, 4 more yrs @ $3.5M AAV, age 31: Giving a 5-year contract to a big slow 31-year-old defenseman is a huge risk.

10) Dan McGillis, NJ, 1 more yr @ $2.2M AAV, age 33: He had a good season prior to the lockout, then returned from a year off and played most of his games in the AHL. That’s a lot to spend on a minor leaguer.

11) Adrian Aucoin, CHI, 3 more yrs @ $4M AAV, age 32: Aucoin went from 44 PTS in 81 GP before the lockout, to 6 PTS in 33 GP in his first season in Chicago.

12) Tie Domi, TOR, 1 more yr @ $1.3M AAV, age 35: Tie overshot his optimal retirement age by a bit. He averaged under 10m of ice per game coming off the lost season.

13) Bryce Salvador, STL, 2 more yrs @ 1.4M AAV, age 29: That’s a bit pricey for 44 GP, 5 PTS, and a -24.                                                                      

14) Rhett Warrener, CGY, 3 more yrs @ $2.4M AAV, age 29: Prior to the lockout he scored 17 PTS in 77 GP, and returned to score 6 PTS in 61 GP.

15) Marek Malik, NYR, 2 more yrs @ $2.5M AAV, age 30: The best thing he did in New York was score a fancy goal in the shootout.

Honourable mentions: Vladimir Malakhov, Mark Parrish, Colin White, Nick Boynton, Jay McKee