Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Oilers Lineup Value Metric - Season Summary!

After all the injuries and callups, I decided it was time to put some metrics to it, so I've been tracking the lineups for every game this year and comparing to an ideal lineup.  

To assign the ideal lineup, each line/pair gets a value multiplier As there's no way we are comparing a top line McDavid centre to a 4th line right-winger, each line gets a decreasing ideal value multiplier as it is similar to ice time. So 4-3-2-1 value for forward lines and 4-3-2 for defense pairs.  Goalies too.  This multiplier is then well, multiplied to the sum of the players' value on each line.  For example, let's look at what was often the top line:

Line Multiplier = 4
Taylor Hall = 4
Leon Draisaitl = 4
Zack Kassian = 2
4 x (4+4+2) = 40
Ideal line total = 48, so 40/48 =  83.3% line value.

Make sense?  Good.  If not, have a beer, but you can't deny that this is a pretty good way to put numbers to when we armchair fans say, "We need a 3rd line centre."  Now of course, the player value rating is based on my observations, and other site stats on players showing where they should play. We're not idiots here, so let's move on, shall we?

With the season over, I've calculated the averages and differentials for each position.  The chart is further below. 

The forward lineup was 14% OFF from an ideal lineup.
The defense...ugh.. was 37% WAY OFF from an ideal lineup.  No surprise there.
The team was 23% OFF an ideal lineup.  Essentially 1/4 of this team needs fixin', mostly defense.  It's not rocket appliances, folks.

What I didn't include was line by line and pair by pair.  Let's look...

Lineup Value Metric Line-by-Line:

1st line was 91.6% to an ideal line on average.
2nd line was 87.7% to an ideal line on average.  (Note that the 1st and 2nd line often switched.)
3rd line was 56.5% to an ideal line on average.  Hello, Korpikoski!
4th line was 92.3% to an ideal line on average.  Yes, yes it was.

1st pair was 62.0% to an ideal 1st pair.  Sounds about right, doesn't it?
2nd pair was 61.3% to an ideal 2nd pair.  
3rd pair was  67.0% to an ideal 3rd pair.  They couldn't even get this working.


1st line right-wing, which was often Kassian or Pakarinen this year, normally 3rd and 4th line guys with a 2 value, brought that down.
2nd line left-wing, again, with injuries to Pouliot, this hole was plugged with bottom 6 guys.
3rd line left-wing was Korpikoski. I eventually kept rating him at a 0 as he shouldn't be on the team.
3rd line centre was Letestu most often because Nuge was injured, and Letestu is a better suited 4th line centre.
4th line centre was often Lander, who had a horrible offensive season, but wasn't a difference maker.

I'm not ready to claim that Sekera is a top pairing defenseman.  Not having Klefbom was a huge gap. With Nurse and Davidson playing more, that 3rd pair left side wasn't too shabby, but after Davidson's injury, Reinhart, Oesterle, Pardy, and Clendening were plugs.  And note that often, these lefties had to play the right side, which drops you a value point.

Oilers Lineup Value Metric Averages for the 2015-2016 Season

Anyway, this was a fun experiment that I will try and continue for next season, or when summer trades and drafting happens, I'll update.  Now, think about this lineup:

Maroon - McDavid - Eberle
Hall - Draisaitl - Laine
Pouliot - Nuge - Kassian
Hendricks - Letestu - Pakarinen

Sekera - Shattenkirk
Klefbom - Hamonic
Nurse/Davidson - Gryba

Cam Talbot
Cam Ward

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