• Transparency

    by  • July 4, 2013 • Hockey • 17 Comments

    Mark Spector, who you’d think would be uniquely open to the idea that people billing themselves as experts are fallible at the moment, views the decision of the Maples Leafs to buy out Mikhail Grabovski as vindication for the saw him good crew and inarguable proof that the analytics types are wrong.

    The Leafs seem to have bought out Grabovski in order to free up resources for, amongst other things, retaining Tyler Bozak. This is a table showing how the 18 Maple Leafs with at least 200 minutes with both Bozak and Grabovski did with them over the past five years.

    If reading tables (or, say, emails) isn’t your thing, let me see if I can summarize it. 17 out of the 18 Maple Leafs to play at least 200 minutes with both guys did better in terms their GF/GA ratio when they were on the ice with Grabovski. 18 out of 18 Maple Leafs who played at least 200 minutes with both guys did better in terms of their Corsi% with Grabovski. The only time there’s been an appreciable difference in terms of ZoneStart was this year, when Grabovski’s ZoneStart was about ten points tougher.

    These guys are two years apart in age. The wildcard in all of this is Grabovski’s health – he’s had some GI issues and those can be a killer. If that’s not the reason for the move, it just seems ludicrous and indefensible. If you want to line up behind it because you’re opposed to people using data to evaluate hockey moves, well, fill your boots. I might try and pick a situation in which the response isn’t going to be something along the lines of “Everybody does better at everything with Grabovski than they do with the guy the Leafs are interested in keeping.”

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com


    17 Responses to Transparency

    1. therealfoz
      July 4, 2013 at

      Nothing brings palms and faces together quite like Mark Spector.

    2. Justin
      July 4, 2013 at

      Why compare his to Bozak? Leafs haven’t brought him back yet or might not even bring him back at all? Leafs bought out Grabovski to make room for a second free agent or someone in a trade. They didn’t buy him out to re-sign Bozak. They could do that while keeping Grabovski.

      • ScottieA
        July 4, 2013 at

        They bought him out so that they could overpay for both Bozak and Clarkson.

        • Justin
          July 4, 2013 at

          We will see I guess. I think if you’re a Leafs fan you would rather a top 6 winger with Bozak over Bozak and Grabovski.

          People seem to forget Nazem Kadri took over the job Grabovski has 5 on 5 and on the 2nd PP.

          I think “Leafs Nation” would prefer Bozak to sign some where else (which he might) and the Leafs use his and Grabovski’s money on Clarkson and Weiss.

          If Toronto signs the two of them who in their right mind would be pissed that they don’t have Grabovski anymore?

          • July 4, 2013 at

            Kadri didn’t take Grabovski’s role 5 on 5. Kadri was given cupcake minutes and match ups.

            Leafs fans would rather get Clarkson and Weiss while ignoring that they aren’t even upgrades (marginal at best) on two guys that they will let walk in MacArthur and Grabovski.

            What a shitshow.

            • Justin
              July 4, 2013 at

              You can have 2 top line centers. Last year Toronto had Bozak and Kadri. The new guy on the team was Kadri. How didn’t he take Grabovski’s job?

              You need to watch hockey and not advanced stats.

              Even if Kadri was given an easier role that’s what you would hope. Why give him the hardest chance to produce against the other teams top forwards and defense?

              If you think Weiss is a marginal upgrade (at best) over MacArthur then you’re covering the wrong sport.

              MacArthur has below average skating, and lacks disipline as a winger in the defensive zone. Sure he could get 40 points but doesn’t bring much else to the table. Weiss scores 50 points on a bad team in a bad year with no supports and brings strong defensive play.

              I really like Grabovski, but if he can’t check and play well enough in his own end without turning the puck over and can’t beat Kadri out for a job in his first full year then no way he deserves 5.5 million.

            • James
              July 5, 2013 at

              Justin, I don’t even know if you realize the things you’re saying are demonstrably false.

              Grabovski played top minutes against many of the opposition’s top forwards, and had, over the previous 4 seasons [2008-12], matched up positively against them.

              Against 112/284 opponents in that time, he showed some level of domination, with >50% CF or >50% GF.
              (Players like Krejci, Bergeron, Malkin, Neal, Vanek, Kovalchuk, Elias).
              This means he was either out scoring or out shooting them.

              Against 126 more players, he had >50% CF AND GF.
              (Players like Spezza, Cammalleri, Tavares, Ovechkin/Backstrom, Giroux, etc)
              This means he was outscoring AND outshooting them.

              Over 4 years, he has some measure (or complete) domination of 238/284 opponents.

              While I think Kadri’s great, Grabovski has been putting up points against the game’s best AND shutting them down. There is simply no argument against the facts: he outscores most of the other teams best players and has the puck more than them.

              Carlyle is an idiot and so is Nonis.

    3. ScottieA
      July 4, 2013 at

      So… Spector is making the argument that because the Leafs are buying out Grabovski that this therefore disproves the analytics? Nonis is infallible? (*Audible Sigh*)

      Analytics guys can see that this is a mistake, non-Leafs fans can see that this is a mistake, and the majority of Leafs fans can see that this is a mistake. Spector cannot.

    4. Sah
      July 4, 2013 at

      Seems pretty clear to me that Nonis is building his team around PDO. It worked very well last year for them.

    5. Justin
      July 4, 2013 at

      Can Grabovski be a first or second line center in the NHL on a team that makes the playoffs? Who knows. He was one on the Leafs for a few years but they weren’t playoff teams. The year they do make the playoffs with him they make the playoffs.

      I really like the guy. He brings it but you can’t justify 5.5 million dollars for him anymore. If they get Weiss or trade for a 1st or 2nd line center I would much rather have him and Kadri next season than Grabovski and Kadri down the middle.

      • dawgbone
        July 5, 2013 at

        Yup, it was Grabovski… not the shit teams that were put together (often on the back of some terrible goaltending).

    6. Justin
      July 4, 2013 at

      *The year they do make the playoffs with him on the team he isn’t a top 6 forward****

      • jsoh
        July 5, 2013 at

        the shortened year that they made the playoffs because of small sample size and chance.

        • Justin
          July 5, 2013 at

          Every time someone gives a reasoning behind something positive in a player or team anyone who uses advanced stats brings out the same excuses.

          Small sample size, luck, chance and things like they don’t keep stats for that.

          The Leafs made the playoffs this year because they could score. Kill penalties and they finally got some saves from the goaltending.

          They always missed the playoffs before because of bad goaltending, bad penalty killing and being a disaster in their own end giving up 2 on 1s and breakaways and giving a player 3 or 4 chances at the front of the net to bury the puck.

    7. July 5, 2013 at

      Justin – you’re the best. Keep ‘watching’ hockey bud. Seriously, don’t ever stop commenting here.

    8. Justin
      July 5, 2013 at

      Poll any hockey fan or any Leaf fan or NHL GM and and they would take Kadri over Grabovski on their team going forward.

      Bozak? I doubt it, I know I wouldn’t but all I am saying is I don\t think they bought out Grabovski to give Bozak his 5.5. I think they did that for Weiss or to trade for someone.

      I know Grabovski was used 15 minutes a game last year.. I know those 15 minutes were used as more of a shutdown line. Why would Carlyle used the Kadri in that position when he was scoring? They wouldn’t use Kessel’s line there either.

      They had to use Grabovski and McClement. Nobody else was going to do it the hard work, they were are used to score goals.

      I like advanced stats and I understand them, its just that I watch the game to. No fancy stats will tell me Grabovski was worth 5.5 on this team as a 3rd line shutdown center or that MacArthur is comparable to Weiss.

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