Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Top Secret: An Improved Hockey Stat

I am hockey stat crazy. As an aficionado, the +/- statistic has always irked me. It just doesn't seem like a very telling stat when it comes to an individual hockey player.

By way of example, look at Meszaros in Ottawa. Last season, when the team is tearing it up, he is an amazing plus 34. This year, with the Sens struggling to a 6-10-1 start, he is now an ugly minus 3. Does this stat really reflect his personal level of play, or is it more reflective of the overall play of the team? I have always felt that it is the latter.

To this end, I am creating my own statistic that should give a better glimpse of the players worth as an individual contributor, using off-the-shelf, readily available stats.

I call this stat the "Hockey Intelligence Quotient" or the HIQ. The HIQ is made up of three major components, "Defensive Intelligence" (DI), "Offensive Intelligence" (OI) and "Physical Intelligence" (PI). In mathematical terms, HIQ = DI + OI + PI. The HIQ will have a range similar to that of +/-, with a higher number obviously being better.

Using the above formula, we try to statistically break hockey down into it's raw components, and the big plus is that because it contains three seperate components, we can then rank players based on defensive, offensive and physical contributions, as well as overall HIQ.

I have started to calculate the physical component for the Leafs players this season, and so far the numbers look to be very representative.

Look for more in this space in the coming days.

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