… 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?
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