September 14, 2008

Boston Bruins

Public opinion in general has a strong sense that Boston will be better or at least as good as last year. Over 60% of the general public thinks they are a playoff capable team.

The falconer asked: Any comments on why Boston falls so hard in your East projections?
My predictions suggest that Boston will loose 14 points over last year taking them from a competitive 94 points to a paltry 80 points.

Here are my reasons why:
Last year Boston scored 212 goals for 3rd worst in the East. They were successful at preventing goals thanks to some great defense and goaltending. You can calculate how many points Boston should have had given their goals for and against using the Pythagorean expectation or 2122/(2122+2222) = 0.477. Multiply that by 82 games and 2 points per game and add on the 10 bonus OTL games (average): 82*2*0.477 + 10 = 88.2 or 88. The main point here is Boston gained about 6 points from what I would consider is mostly luck.

Last season Boston was predicted to be either 14th or 15th in the East depending on who you asked. Not much has changed since then and yet they've gone from a complete disaster to a competitive team?

Now what has changed since last year
Glen Murray is out.
Metropolit is out.
Auld is out, Fernandez is out.
Rask is backup.
Michael Ryder is in.

For the most part Ryder replaced Murray's offense.
However the team has lost Metropolit as well (who is a good depth scoring player)
Since Savard & Sturm had less than stellar starts to their careers their career point averages are lower than maybe we would expect them to be in the upcoming season. This means I've likely underestimated Boston's offense.

Either way, Boston will have difficulty scoring goals and will need amazing defense and goaltending to make the playoffs. 80 points might be a low predictions, but 95 points would be too high for sure.

It's amazing how things change in one year.


Jeff J said...

If Patrice Bergeron is back and healthy, he should be a difference maker.

Hub Hockey said...

Don't see how this article can even be taken seriously. Half the facts were not even brought up and it just seems like another Bruins basher. ISn't this the same blog that said the B's wouldn't make the playoffs (especially if Thomas started)? You mean Tim Thomas the All-Star goaltender who basically was in the top 5 goaltenders all year with S% and GAA?

- Glen Murray is replaced by a much faster and younger player in Michael Ryder, who is proven 30 goal scorer. (advantage: 08-09 Bruins)

- Glen Metroplit is replaced by Stephane Yelle, who brings more career/playoff experience to a young team while still contributing greatly. (advantage: even)

- Manny Fernadez isn't out and will be playing back-and-forth all year with Tim Thomas (advantage: 08-09 Bruins)

- Patrice Bergeron is back and fully healthy and will likely make one of the biggest contributions this year (advantage: 08-09 Bruins)

- Bruins rank in the top 5 when talking about teams prospects, with lots of young players in the wings trying out for a chance to make the roster this year. With most players getting stints last year with the B's due to injuries these players already have been proven to play at the NHL level and now can be used to fill alot of holes in the preseason.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Hub Hockey. This is laughable.

Anonymous said...

While it's true that the Bruins outperformed their pythagorean expectation last season (read: they were lucky), they were also subject to some bad luck in the form of injuries.

As someone else mentioned, a healthy Bergeron should make a large difference.

I tend to think that the two effects basically cancel one another out -- points wise, they should be similar to last year.

T.C. said...

If they can win some games off the Habs that may be the difference between the Bruins making the playoffs and sitting out.


GAA is a misleading stat.

violator said...

Boston is a good team and definitely will make play-offs, but they don't know how to use young talent like Martins Karsums.

The Falconer said...

Thanks for answer. Assuming Bergeron is healthy that might arrest some of the Bruins decline.

What about using a more recent average for players instead of their career average. Did you regress it to see which was more accurate for forecasting the 2007-08 season?

I was working on forecasting individual level scoring rates per minute recently and found that a mix of 75% of 2007 and 25% scoring rates predicted 2008 rates with a R-squared of about .75.

Unfortunately PP rates are much less stable from one season to the next.

JLikens said...

Nice to see that you've got your statistics site up and running again for this season.

A question:

Are your expected goals figures based on a different shot quality model than what you used for last season?

Last year, I know that your model had a 'game-situation' factor built into it in that the team that was leading was considered to take higher quality shots. However, the results for this season don't seem to reflect this. Is my perception correct?

Anonymous said...

Of course luck is a factor in any game, but luck should even out over the course of the season.

The true reason that teams overreach their predicted pythagorean winning percentage is coaching.

A good coach can motivate a team (or play a system) that will earn them points beyond their level of talent.

Anonymous said...

Your an idiot.. Look at the bruins know buddie. Having trouble scoring goals heh???? Ha Ha Ha your laughable.

Anonymous said...

Wow you're credibility is shot. 1st in the East and having no trouble scoring goals. You must be a Habs fan.