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 email@example.com