Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do Special Teams Matter?

Well, you'd think they would, just intuitively. But over our morning coffee we took a quick look at the "Index of Specialness" -- the sum of a team's power play effectiveness and that of its penalty kill, and what we found was that 15 of the top 20 teams in the index were in the top eight of their respective divisions (as of this Sunday morning):

But does it really matter any more than how a club does at even strength? Well, 13 of the top 17 clubs in 5-on-5 goals scored-to-goals allowed ratio are in the top eight of their respective conferences:

If you take a moment to combine the two (and we're really too lazy this morning to undertake anymore sophisticated that literally combining the two), then what you suspect is true...

...good teams are good teams on both special teams and at even strength. But there are interesting things to be found within. Buffalo (5th vs. 25th), Carolina (15th vs. 26th), and Calgary (12th vs. 28th) are all substantially better in the Index of Specialness than they are at 5-on-5, yet all are top-eight teams. For you Caps fans, note that the Caps are ranked high in this combined measure, but are none-too-special (18th in the IoS). Boston is first in the combined measure, but only 13th in th IoS.

The NHL is said to be a league of special teams these days? Really?



Anonymous said...

So Peerless - how did you combine the 2 numbers? Sorry, I can't arrive at the same conclusion. Help me out?

The Peerless said...

I just put the 5-on-5 as the same basis as the special teams. Nothing especially scientific about it...just some doodling over coffee.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I see what you did. I don't know any reason why you could not do that. I don't see any 'quantumm leap of illogic'.
Good work - very thought provoking.