The Dutch Perspective: Jim Fox and Recent Career Norms

… In case you may have missed it, Jim Fox had a live chat earlier today, in which he revealed his feelings about the critical element of the Kings – the offense, or lack thereof:

I don’t want to talk about the system here, I would like to concentrate more on your point regarding top players. The system that the NHL has, which is very similar other sports promotes parity and makes it difficult to have numerous world-class, high-skill players on the same team because sooner or later it becomes to expensive to pay everyone and stay under the cap. SInce the Kings went through so many years of struggle, they have been able to add enough skilled players and they tried to do even more last summer. It is disappointing that the offense has not improved as much as everyone had hoped but I think it would be fair to expect that sooner or later the Browns, Williams, Penners, Stolls, etc. will start producing at the same rate they have in the past.

… So, the thought that obviously came to mind was “what if the players DID begin to produce over the last 56 games of the season as they have over the last several years of their respective careers?”  Being a numbers guy, I thought it would be interesting to try and come up with a way to foresee what we can fairly expect the rest of the way.  I took each player’s basic statistics over the last three seasons (or their entire career, whichever is shorter), measured the rates over a 56-game period, and assumed everything else to be the same; a somewhat dangerous assumption, I know, but I wanted something that I could reference that was relatively simple and easy.

The only adjustments I made with the forwards were with Stoll and Hunter.  I thought it to be ridiculous to apply their raw recent career norms, since they’re primarily on the lower lines now.  I cut their production by 50% and rounded the numbers up from there.  I felt that was a conservative enough estimate.

Let’s start with the forwards:

Anze Kopitar … 20 goals, 31 assists, 52 points

Mike Richards … 19 goals, 29 assists, 48 points

Dustin Brown … 17 goals, 21 assists, 38 points

Justin Williams … 12 goals, 22 assists, 34 points

Simon Gagne … 19 goals, 24 assists, 43 points

Dustin Penner … 17 goals, 17 assists, 34 points

Jarret Stoll … 7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points

Brad Richardson … 6 goals, 10 assists, 16 points

Ethan Moreau … 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points

Trent Hunter … 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points

Andrei Loktionov … 11 goals, 8 assists, 19 points

Colin Fraser … 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points

Now for the defensemen.  Obviously, I nor anyone else knows what to do with Voynov – so, what I did was I took the last three seasons he’s spent with Manchester, and cut that production by 35%.  Again, these are estimates:

Jack Johnson … 5 goals, 19 assists, 24 points

Drew Doughty … 8 goals, 22 assists, 30 points

Slava Voynov … 6 goals, 12 assists, 18 points

Matt Greene … 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points

Willie Mitchell … 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points

Rob Scuderi … 1 goal, 9 assists, 10 points

Last, we have the goalies.  This gives us an idea of how many goals the team will likely give up the rest of the way.

Jonathan Quick … 81% playing time, 45 games, 1364 shots faced, .912 save percentage, 120 goals allowed

Jonathan Bernier … 19% playing time, 11 games, 333 shots faced, .911 save percentage, 30 goals allowed

So, if we total all of this up – we have 170 goals for and 150 against.  If we add that to what the team has already (59 for, 56 against), we have a total season output of 229 goals scored and 216 allowed.

If we want to estimate their record the rest of the way based on the goals for and against, there’s a neat little thing called Pythagorean Expectation we can use.  Running that formula, we come up with an expectation of a .526 points percentage, which means a record for the last 56 games of about 26-23-7 without the shootout.  Adding in the shootouts and the “loser points” is a bit tricky.  The Kings have won one out of three shootouts this season.  Let’s estimate them to have seven more shootouts, and to win three of them.  Adding an OTL gives us an estimated record of 29-19-8, and a total record for the season of 42-28-12 – 96 points.  If we go by the standings of last season, 96 points means they’re out of the playoffs, finishing 9th.

But.  The X factor in all of this is Quick.  Over the last three seasons, from 2008-09 to 2010-11, he’s posted a .912 save percentage, as I’ve noted above.  The issue with this is that his save percentage this season is .936, a very elite number.  The obvious question here is:  which is the real Jonathan Quick?  Can we expect Quick to stay in the .930s, or will he come back to the pack?  If, IF he can maintain a save percentage of .930, he’ll give up just 95 goals the rest of the way – and the Kings will close out the season scoring 229 and allowing just 191, which would be a Pythagorean expectation of .581.  That would mean a final record, shootouts and all, of 45-25-12 – that’s 102 points, and very likely home ice advantage in at least the first round of the playoffs.

This concludes Hockey Math 101.  What do you think?



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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38 replies

  1. Great stuff, JT. Very impressive.

  2. so basically if the team produces at it’s normal rate, we need Quick to be in the Vezina race to make the playoffs. I think we should just get a new coach lol, not that I doubt Quick, but that’s a huge burden on our goalie. I just think the team needs a change, anything, to get it going. I see the same looks on their faces that the Washington players had earlier in the year. They’re lost, sad, and confused. Those looks tell me a change is needed, the signs are there.

    • That is one way to read it. JT’s projections are pretty straightforward and logical. Math can be a stubborn thing. Now, there are a lot of variables but the basic premise that if things keep progressing as they are now, we may be in trouble absent Quick maintaining his elite level of play is the conclusion of this very well written article.

  3. ah wow.. are you a stat freak or a math geek or what…
    well whatever I get the point.. I thank you.. and I hope you and all are correct
    and we do start to pick it up .. stagnant coaching and all.
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  4. Impressive stuff JT. I like the angle you took here. I’ll need the rest of the night and half of tomorrow to fully digest it.

  5. This is why I love math so much

  6. But what if they fire Murray? Add +8 points for a total of 104 and I think we win the division.

  7. Very Nice… Now lets see those numbers begin to rise.

    The sucks are a good team to start with….

    Go Kings!

  8. Quick…”Regression to the mean”…last game is in April unless something changes on the offense.

  9. Penner…1 down 16 to go.

  10. BTW, Jim Fox was an outright pussy in his refusal to answer tough questions. He dodged and ignored them at every chance. I lost a lot of respect for him as a professional.

    I know he’s employed by the team (as are all the announcers and Hammond) but there is a time when you have to be a voice of honesty and stand up and say what you believe is true.

    He could have said something to the effect of “I think the fans are wrong. Here’s why, and here’s what the fans need to understand, and the players must…”, he could have unloaded on TM — whichever is how he really feels. But “I don’t want to talk about the system here, I would like to concentrate more on your point regarding top players.” Is an outright cop out.

    If the emperor really has no clothes you have choices:

    * Tell he’s hung like a field mouse (or a donkey, whichever is true)
    * Tell his wardrobe is wonderful

    We got the latter, we needed the former. And then Fox got his kneepads out.

    Shameful.

    (Get rid of the fucking snow flakes)

    Piss and Vinegar Jim
    (Since “Surly” is taken.)

    • Of course he does that. So do Nick and Darryl on the radio. Particularly Jim and Darryl. They are former players and it is bred into them to go down with and defend the ship. I don’t really blame them. It bugs me because I would like their unabashed opinions, and Jim did such a good job during broadcast of being fair and honest and not a homer that you would hope that carries over to harsh criticism against the company line when it is due, but ultimately these guys aren’t paid to critique the team as a whole, just each game as it comes. Hammond is the one I expect more of, or want to expect more of, because paid by the team or not, his entire career exists for the sole purpose of asking questions, generally those which their interviewees wouldn’t want to answer. If journalism doesn’t put people in charge on the spot then journalism may as well not exist.

      • Journalism died long ago.

      • Well written responce Surly..I am impressed!
        Expanded my thought process..accountability of our
        announcers and media guys. As a mere fan I think my few in depth conversations with said people has allowed them to have a more relaxed conversation.
        Next opportunity I will throw in a on the spot question and see what I get in response.
        GO KINGS GO!!!

    • The flakes come when it snows and go when it doesn’t. Take it up with mother nature

      • When was the last significant recorded snowfall in Los Angeles?

        You guys change the website theme more than my wife does her purses.

        • Hey hey, don’t lump me into this. I look at the site primarily on my phone which didn’t show the change, so I was two days behind seeing it than the rest of you were!

    • BTW, Jim Fox was an outright pussy in his refusal to answer tough questions. He dodged and ignored them at every chance. I lost a lot of respect for him as a professional.

      … He’s still an employee for the Kings, making a lot of money doing a job that many people (myself included) would consider to be a dream job.

      I don’t see what logic there is in being deliberately combative and anti-Kings with his commentary. His job is to sell the team to the public. ALL of the visible employees of the team are there to sell the team. You don’t go to buy a car and expect the salesman at the dealership to go out of his way to tell you how bad the car he’s selling you is or what a terrible decision you’ve made to do business with him, do you???

      I thought Fox answered the questions as best he could, and he did well to include his opinions wherever he had the chance to do so – how he was surprised by Lombardi’s comments regarding the Richards hit, his assertion that 15-20 teams play the exact same style of defensive “home plate” coverage (which is dead-on by the way, if anything there’s more than 20 teams who do it), his feeling that Bernier playing after Quick posted three straight shutouts was “the most second-guessable” move that Murray has made this season with the goalies, and his opinion that Murray’s system has been LESS restrictive this season than in seasons past.

      One of the things Fox touched on was puck possession, and I totally agree with him. This team doesn’t have the puck nearly as much as they used to, in the Frolov and Handzus days, and it’s affecting how much time they spend in the offensive zone as well has how many shots on goal they’re giving up. It was a very good point that I haven’t seen many people make.

      I think it becomes a case of … what in the hell would you want him to say? Did you expect him to come on and say “yeah the Kings suck, Terry Murray should be fired, Dustin Penner is fat lol … oh and by the way, you fans know nothing about what you’re talking about, and oh btw tickets are on sale for the rest of the home games this season”? You say you lost respect for him as a professional when he completely carried himself like a professional with his comments. He addressed the coach, the offense, the players, the league, the system – what more would you want?

      It’s not like Fox (or Miller) haven’t criticized the team’s management or makeup before. I remember around the time that Andy Murray was fired that both of them had some VERY critical comments about the team and their mental approach, their lack of intensity, etc. and Fox has made the same comments about intensity in the very last game the Kings played. I don’t know what more you’re looking for or expecting out of him, but I think he’s a helluva color man and a great ambassador for this team. The Kings are very fortunate to have Jim Fox.

      • Both Fox and Miller commented on intensity…twice this season including the last game. The Miller-Fox team is truly among the best in hockey. There are a few teams almost as good ( I was impressed last week by the Rangers’ team), but really none better that I have heard.

        On your point about Quick…I would expect his number to drop by .02-.04 should the Kings make (real) adjustments to their offense.

  11. You have massive issues with your estimates, these are way too high for a Murray team:

    “Dustin Penner … 17 goals, 17 assists, 34 points”

    “Andrei Loktionov … 11 goals, 8 assists, 19 points” (???- he will get just a few more games before being sent back to Manchester)

    I would say that is at least 15-20 goals too many. This makes Quick even more important. How many more games does he have to steal for the Kings to make the playoffs?

    What indication do you have that the Kings will go back to their “normal” produciton when it is clear that it isn’t working? Hope is not a good way to run a sports team.

    • these are way too high for a Murray team

      … Many of these guys have played for Murray the past three seasons.

      Andrei Loktionov … 11 goals, 8 assists, 19 points” (???- he will get just a few more games before being sent back to Manchester)

      … I’m just doing estimated projections for who’s up with the team now. I’m not for a moment projecting that the team will make this roster move or that one. I think that sending Loktionov back down is a dumb move that doesn’t benefit him or the team, but this IS the Kings we’re talking about.

      I would say that is at least 15-20 goals too many. This makes Quick even more important.

      … Perhaps it is too many. Maybe they score under 210 goals for the season, maybe they’re under 200. If that’s the case, they could have Jacques Plante in the nets and still miss the playoffs.

      How many more games does he have to steal for the Kings to make the playoffs?

      … NOTE: Just because a goalie won a low-scoring game does not mean he “stole” the game. A goalie can even shut out an opposing team without “stealing” the game. Quick has arguably stolen three games for the Kings this season. Three games where the team had no right winning if it were not for him, where he stole victory from defeat. That’s what the term means.

      On another note, why is it that when the team holds their opponent to fewer than two goals and wins the game, the goalie seems to get all the credit for the win, and everyone bitches about the rest of the team not getting enough offense? Why is that? Does everyone else on the team outside of Quick (and his majesty, lord, and saviour Mike Richards) suck? Pretty hard to expect anything special from a team that is 95% suck I guess.

      What indication do you have that the Kings will go back to their “normal” produciton when it is clear that it isn’t working? Hope is not a good way to run a sports team.

      … The indication is that these are proven levels of ability. I’ve said time and time again what the problem with the offense is. It’s not the system. It’s the shooting percentages. The Kings 5-on-5 shooting percentage is the second lowest in the NHL, ahead of only Colorado.

      Look at the percentages that certain players have this season when compared to their career norms:

      Williams … 9.3% career, 4.5% this season
      Brown … 10.1% career, 7.8% this season
      Penner … 13.1% career, 5.0% this season
      Stoll … 9.5% career, 4.0% this season
      Richardson … 7.0% career, 0.0% this season
      Moreau … 9.4% career, 3.6% this season
      Hunter … 8.4% career, 0.0% this season

      I don’t buy that they haven’t had chances this season, or that they’ve forgotten how to shoot the puck. In my view, this is nothing but a bad luck situation.

      It’s not about “hope running a sports team”. It’s about looking for a player to do what he has done in the past. It’s not like I’m projecting huge numbers for unproven guys, here. All of these players have put up better numbers in the past, and like I said, many of them have done so for Terry Murray. It isn’t about the system, here. It’s about players playing at or near their level of ability.

      • “Quick has arguably stolen three games for the Kings this season. Three games where the team had no right winning if it were not for him, where he stole victory from defeat. That’s what the term means”

        To be fair and correct your terminology, Quick has DEFINITELY stolen 3 games and ARGUABLY stolen upwards of 6.

        • To be fair and correct your terminology, Quick has DEFINITELY stolen 3 games and ARGUABLY stolen upwards of 6.

          … I think he’s stolen every game the Kings have won in the past three years and the Vezina Trophy should be called “the Quickie” in honor of him

      • So luck just explains everything? You don’t have to look at why someone isn’t scoring at the same rate as their career average? Ponikarovsky came to the Kings with a greater than 10% career shooting percentage. 1 season with Murray, it drops it to 5.3%. Now it is back to 11.1% with Carolina.

        If it is just luck and bounces, why have coaches and systems anyways? Do you think, like Murray does, that players don’t need outside motivation from their coach?

        I don’t have time to go through your career estimates for all players, but Brown has the following S% totals by season:

        8.8%
        8.7%
        15.1%
        8.2%
        9.7%
        12.3%
        7.8%

        His current 7.8% looks pretty normal if you throw out his season of 15.1% as the anomaly. He has almost 5 years under 10%, the number you picked as his “average”.

        Bad luck hitting your entire team at the same time isn’t bad luck, it’s a sign that something bigger is wrong.

        Stoll, Moreau and Hunter have all been “Ponikarocky’d” this season. It’s not a surprise they have all seen their percentages drop.

        It’s a motivation or system issue with the Kings. It’s not like Murray has ever had the Kings into the top half of the league in 5-on-5 scoring. It’s not like they were 7th last year and have dropped, they have been terrible 5-on-5 his entire tenure as head coach. I believe the Kings are near 30th in 5-on-5 scoring since he was hired as head coach. That is a hell of a bad run of luck.

        • Ponikarovsky came to the Kings with a greater than 10% career shooting percentage. 1 season with Murray, it drops it to 5.3%. Now it is back to 11.1% with Carolina.

          … If you’re going to blame Murray for Ponikarovsky, then you gotta praise him for Richards (17.5% this season, career is 11.7%) and Gagne (14.0% this season, career is 13.0%), right? Or is that just luck, as well?

          His current 7.8% looks pretty normal if you throw out his season of 15.1% as the anomaly. He has almost 5 years under 10%, the number you picked as his “average”.

          … First off – I didn’t “pick” anything. That’s his career shooting percentage, spanning eight seasons and over 530 games. If anything, Brown’s career mark has dropped because I’m including this season in his career numbers. Before this season, his career shooting percentage was 10.2%, not 10.1%.

          And, if you want to throw out his 15.1% season, then let’s throw out his worst recent season (8.2%) too, OK? That’s only fair. That gives him a career percentage of 9.7%. if you take Brown’s time just playing for Murray, it’s 9.8%.

          If Brown was around 9.7, 9.8% this season, he’d have an extra goal or two – which would make a world of difference on this team.

          Stoll, Moreau and Hunter have all been “Ponikarocky’d” this season. It’s not a surprise they have all seen their percentages drop.

          … Stoll’s career shooting percentage was 8.9% before joining the Kings. Since then, playing for Murray, it’s been 10.1%. And that’s including this season’s numbers. Obviously, he’s seen all his numbers decline since being dropped off the two scoring lines.

          Take Williams, also – before this season, his shooting percentage was 8.6% for Terry Murray. This season, it’s at 4.5%. What’s the difference??? He’s playing for the same coach, in the same system.

          Moreau and Hunter – you’re grasping at straws with these two. It’s not like they were setting the World on fire last season. Moreau was at 1.8% last season and Hunter was at 3.3%. That’s the problem with projected estimates – they don’t take into account that the player involved may just not have it anymore. Maybe those two are done. I’ve gone on record all season long saying that they didn’t belong on this team. I don’t see where Murray is to blame for anything involving the two of them; if anything, Murray is giving them FAR more of a shot than I feel they even deserve.

          It’s a motivation or system issue with the Kings. It’s not like Murray has ever had the Kings into the top half of the league in 5-on-5 scoring. It’s not like they were 7th last year and have dropped, they have been terrible 5-on-5 his entire tenure as head coach.

          … The Kings have NEVER had numbers this low at 5-on-5 before, not even in 08-09 when Murray had so little to work with up front.

          2008-09 … 2.0 goals per 60 minutes (tied for last with two teams)
          2009-10 … 2.4 goals per 60 minutes (tied with seven other teams in the middle of the pack)
          2010-11 … 2.4 goals per 60 minutes (again tied with seven teams in the middle of the pack)

          The Kings have gone from the middle of the pack to the bottom, with arguably better offensive talent than what they had in the recent past, and (according to Jim Fox) a system that has been LESS restrictive than in seasons past. I think there’s a big element of luck in there, and I think that it should work itself out, given time. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t.

          • What I would like is an explanation of the “new” system that we were told is “difficult’ to adjust to.

            It seems clear that successful teams incorporate a style which creates passing and shooting lanes, the Kings do not.

            Also clear is the team with more shots on goal from less then 15′ out wins 90% of the
            time (last game was an exception)

          • I think you just proved that your whole point is flawed. Good job, I was just getting you to see how your numbers don’t mean anything THIS season. Whatever Murray has done to create more offense has failed.

            The Kings finished 30th in 5-on-5 scoring Murray’s first season. Guess where they are right now. That’s not luck. That’s by design. The Kings sacrifice offense for defense because Dean and Murray still believe that defense wins championships. You need balance to win in today’s game. I would take the 10th ranked defense and 10th ranked offense over the Kings 4th ranked defense and 28th ranked offense.

          • I think you just proved that your whole point is flawed. Good job, I was just getting you to see how your numbers don’t mean anything THIS season.

            … I don’t know how in the World you read my response to you and came up with this. You really didn’t read it, did you? Have fun not reading things, I guess.

  12. Funny thought occurred to me this morning. In my line of work, “Dutch Perspective” (or really ‘Dutch Angle’) quite literally means a perspective that is canted, or skewed. :)

  13. “The Kings have gone from the middle of the pack to the bottom, with arguably better offensive talent than what they had in the recent past, and (according to Jim Fox) a system that has been LESS restrictive than in seasons past. I think there’s a big element of luck in there, and I think that it should work itself out, given time. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t.”

    Here’s what Brown had to say about why he is hitting less:

    “Definitely (the league) is looking at it more closely. But, I don’t think it’s changing my game,” said the Kings captain. “I think what’s happening is our system is starting to get more detailed. There are opportunities to get hits. But, you don’t want to run out of your way to get hits. We’re starting to learn our system a little bit better. On the forecheck, if I’m F1, I can get my hits. If I’m F2 or F3, I have to make some reads. Again, hitting, I try to be as physical as possible. I think it provides a spark for this team. However, I think there are definitely instances where maybe I pull back, not from a standpoint of the league rules or whatever. But, just from trying to stay in a better position on the defensive side of the puck and really focusing on doing all of the things right – as opposed to making the big hit and maybe taking myself out of the play.”

    Doesn’t sound LESS restrictive to me. Sounds even more complicated. The players can’t even read and react, they have to worry about being the F1, F2 or F3 forward. Way too much thinking. Murray is probably over coaching at this point to try and squeez out more offense.

    • There are opportunities to get hits. But, you don’t want to run out of your way to get hits.

      On the forecheck, if I’m F1, I can get my hits. If I’m F2 or F3, I have to make some reads.

      … What??? Having the players not go out of position to make hits? Having the players use their heads out there and make reads and get in good position? Heresy!!! Dump this coach!!! How dare he coach the players, and get them to understand positioning and discipline???

      They should just go out there with little or no strategy! That’s how my team won our bar league!

      • You don’t think that you can over coach? If a player is more worried about if he is in the right spot based on A, B or C, you don’t see how that can make the team play slow and be step behind the other team that is playing on instinct? It’s year 4 of Murray and Murray is still changing the defensive system? Brown had no trouble hitting last season when the Kings finished 6th in total defense. Why did Murray have to make it more restrictive and complicated this season? The Kings defense didn’t need to be fixed, it’s the offense that is the problem. How is being in a more defensive position going to improve the offense? It doesn’t and that is why the Kings are worst with more talent right now.

        I would say that Quick has had a bigger effect on the Kings defensive numbers than any changes that Murray is trying. Having Brown play less aggressive isn’t the way to fix the offense.

        Do you remember many hits from Brown that resulted in a goal against like Johnson’s hit this season? Brown should be able to hit on the forecheck whenever he wants, that is why you have 4 other guys on the ice to cover for him.

  14. Nice effort on the numbers, but you make several very big assumptions that I don’t think necessarily hold true and in the end I don’t think there’s much strength to draw from all of the analysis except, maybe they’re just unlucky. Your first assumption, and then stealing that pythagorean formula from baseball. Is there evidence of correlation to hockey? It’s a different game.

    Also, what are the chances of so many players having such bad “luck” at the same time? Whether it’s his fault or not, his players as a whole are grossly underperforming all at the same time. Maybe it’s only by perception, but that is a part of reality, and it is a coaching issue to fans, the media, and very likely many of the players as well. Things are not clicking offensively overall, it is not just that pucks are hitting crossbars all the time.

    Also, shooting percentage is dependent not only on luck, but also on where the shots occur, how much time and space is available, and how dangerous the chance was. It’s not just about bounces and how the puck came off the stick that affects shooting rates. If you are consistently forced to the outside and can’t penetrate the middle of the ice, or get players open in the slot, you aren’t going to put a lot of those shots in.

    There were at least 3 ridiculously stupid shots tonight, 1 by Lokti, I think another by Penner, where they put a shot on the net on a rush when it was the wrong play. I’ve gotta suspect that these decisions were made because of coach’s focus on shot mentality, not because these players are inept offensively or can’t be patient with the puck, because these plays were just so glaringly, obviously bad. I watch a lot of other games and I don’t see these types of plays very often. In each instance, the player had sufficient time to hold the puck and make the goalie consider a possible cross-ice pass, but the player just put his head down, put a shot on goal, and then went to the bench to get a pat on the back.

    This is the problem with coaching your team using stats. You end up focusing on ancillary issues like putting more shots on the net, versus doing the things you need to do in order to get more QUALITY shots on net. You can’t coach to stats, because they’re just abstractions. They’re best left to wagering, imo.

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