Gus Katsaros

Hockey Analytics

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Online Resources

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


I probably should have written this at the beginning of the season, but considering some of the in-season developments, we would have missed out on some interesting new tools. We will get to those shortly, but this is about finding online resources and their inherent value.

 

The All-Star game is in the rearview, switching the focus front and center to the impending NHL Trade deadline, less than four weeks away. With rampant trade rumor speculation comes a desire to further delve into the menagerie of available players.

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld’s Season Pass is now available for the low price of $19.99. You get plenty of extra articles including the minor league report, the junior report and much, much more. Buy it now!

 

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, and follow @Rotoworld_ HK and @KatsHockey on Twitter.

 

The landscape for online hockey data has changed with more and more entrants creating models, using viz tools like Tableau – or coding charts and graphs using Python – and add-ons to ‘R’ – a statistical analysis and database tool that offers more than Microsoft Excel can for serious data analysts.

 

David Johnson was poached in the summer from the public common by the Calgary Flames and the online hockey world lost an incredibly valuable resources in sites Hockey Analysis and Puckalytics going dark. War on Ice went dark a couple of years back, shortly after Extra Skater was closed down with the Leafs taking the site in-house, and behindthenet.com hasn’t been the same since its inception in the early days of hockey analytics. In their stead, new sites have appeared and adapted with the upgrades in technology to create cutting edge sites and visuals. There’s likely much, much more to come.

 

This is a small walkthrough guide through some of my most used and valuable sites in the current public sphere.

 

Hockeyviz.com has become an incredible site and proprietor, Micah Blake McCurdy has put together an invaluable resource, with cutting edge visuals to aid performance through pictures. You can support Micah through a Patreon page.

 

If you have questions about players and linemates, there’s a viz for that.

 

View post on imgur.com

 

Want to see the matchups from the previous night’s games? There’s a viz for that too.

 

View post on imgur.com

 

Corsica.Hockey

The most customizable and in-depth hockey site available in public at the moment, version 2.0 is revamped in a quicker and more stable iteration. I find it can crash at peak times depending on the browser, but if you’re looking a variety of different options and all available in downloadable .csv files, this is probably the first place to look.

 

In addition to the stats, Emmanuel Perry who runs the site has done his own modelling and incorporated expected goals in his offerings as a result. He’s written about WAR (Wins Above Replacement) thoroughly in the blog. There aren’t many sites that offer ‘expected’ stats, making this already vital resource even more attractive as a go-to.

 

Corsica can be supported through this Patreon page.

 

Natural Stat Trick

 

When Johnson’s sites went dark, there was a void in WOWY information. I was close to the end of writing the McKeen’s Hockey Yearbook, and was lucky to be able to almost seamlessly use Natural Stat Trick to complete the player profiles.  The ‘WOWY’ acronym stands for With or Without You, and splits players performances into components with linemates and without linemates for scope of influence on player stats. In addition to WOWYs, the site also offers stats from ‘high-danger’ scoring areas – one of the few that do – and maybe the only one. I haven’t looked for another resource.

 

NST provides player, team and game data in both .csv files for available download, and copying of the site’s data into a clipboard to be pasted into Microsoft Excel or other database programs. On the main page, there’s a daily roundup of games and different reports to focus on, even to some very obscure details and some visuals.

 

HockeyStats.ca offers similar game day and game event data in tabular and chart form, updated in real time to keep track of the game play when you’re unable to watch live. This in-game experience is essential, and in the hockeysphere if there are writers, bloggers, journalists that require immediate statistical representation of the game state, this site is vital.

 

Once the game is completed, new metrics like Game Score offer more in depth single game performance derived by The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn – go ahead and pronounce that last name .. and then, spell it blind. Good luck with that.

 

 

Dom has a variety of different metrics that he presents through Twitter and on The Athletic pieces, and has been a leading edge in NHL modelling and producing game probability on a daily basis.

 

A similar probability model is housed at Moneypuck.com that also includes Power Rankings and other items. Peter Tanner who runs the site is diligent with this model and a solid resource.

 

Barlowe Analytics

Matt Barlowe has been doing some very interesting work lately and has come up with a unique method of getting a quick answer on a variety of questions one might ponder while killing time on Twitter – or trying to figure out why the Leafs give up third period leads like mad. If you need immediate answers and have little time or access to internet, sending a tweet with query criteria will return a result like that shown below.

 

There’s a guide embedded in the tweet on syntax and how to request specific data and charts from a bot he’s programmed to retrieve query results.

 

 

You want to know how Teuvo Teravainen versus Sebastian Aho compared in points per 60 in 2018 at adjusted 5v5?  Plug in the desired syntax to @barloweanalytic and wait for the return. It looks something like this below.

 

 

Tableau

 

Tableau is great. It has so many useful applications outside of hockey analytics (yeah, I know, as IF there’s a world outside of analytics). There are few prominent Tableau developers on Twitter that offer daily or weekly or timely charts and updates.

 

Sean Tierney may have been the first to consistently update and post charts with Tableau. He maintains a Tableau site that contains a variety of great metrics in appealing Viz’s. He will often post to Twitter and will attempt to handle requests on a timely basis. Even the canned viz he displays are worth exploring.

 

Robb Tufts is a St. Louis fan and contributor to stlouisgametime.com, and I have worked with him on a variety of projects. A Tableau ‘superuser’, Robb is invaluable. His Viz standards, the way he accepts requirements and turns around into a viable product are exemplary. Following him on Twitter and his reports is very common for me.

 

Newcomer, CJ Turtoro, contributes to the New Jersey Devils SB Nation site, ‘All About the Jersey’. He’s taken amassed microstats that have been tracked and amassed by  Corey Sznajder that provide some incredible micro analysis and context for broader statistical categories.

 

He’s used Tableau to create some interesting visuals with the microdata including an adaptation of the HERO charts that were introduced by Domenic Galamini Jr on his site Own the Puck.  

There are more and likely will be even more as the landscape changes. This little primer will be different every season I’d bet.



Gus Katsaros is the Pro Scouting Coordinator with McKeen’s Hockey, publishers of industry leading scouting and fantasy guide, the McKeen’s Annual Hockey Pool Yearbook. He also contributes to popular blog MapleLeafsHotStove.com ... he can be followed on Twitter @KatsHockey
Email :Gus Katsaros



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