Schuckers is an associate professor of statistics at St. Lawrence University and director of the school’s Quantitative Resource Center. Schuckers is also cofounder of Statistical Sports Consulting [...].
There are numbers, however, that Schuckers and some of his peers in analytics do not like. They are 34, 4, and 13.5 million: Rob Scuderi’s age, the number of contract years he received from the Penguins July 5, and his total salary for returning to Pittsburgh.
Of all the signings during unrestricted free agency, the former Boston College defenseman may have landed the biggest head-scratcher.
“That’s the one that sticks out to me this year,” Schuckers said. “Pittsburgh is supposed to be a team that’s fairly analytic. All the analytics I’ve seen suggest he’s well past his prime.”
According to Schuckers, free agency provides arguably the most efficient window in the application of analytics. Studying statistics [of prospects] is not reliable in determining [...] how he projects as a professional. The standard of stats-gathering in junior, college, and high school hockey is not uniform.
But when an NHL player reaches UFA status, numbers [are more accurate]. In Scuderi’s case, the Penguins had eight full seasons, including four in their organization, from which to determine how much to pay the defenseman.
“At that point in someone’s career, you know a good bit about them and how they play in the NHL,” Schuckers said. [...]
The gold standard is Corsi. A player’s Corsi rating is determined by totaling a team’s shot attempts per game (shots on goal, missed shots, blocked shots) taken while that player is on the ice, minus the number of opposing shot attempts.
In theory, Corsi gauges a team’s puck possession when that player is on the ice. More shots attempted means the team is controlling the puck. More shots allowed indicates the team is on defense.
Last season, Scuderi’s Corsi [...] was 1.42. [...] Doughty’s Corsi was 14.84. Scuderi’s 2013 rating does not project high performance in relation to his generous $3.375 million annual payday. In the final season of his contract, Scuderi will be 38 [...].
Another signing that’s curious to Schuckers is the two-year, $8 million contract Daniel Briere scored from Montreal. Briere will turn 36 at the start of this season. He was bought out by Philadelphia. Briere had a minus-5.7 Corsi last season. [...]
On the flip side, analytics indicate some shrewd summer signings. Among Schuckers’s approvals are Clarke MacArthur (Ottawa, $6.5 million for two years, minus-3.93 Corsi) and Viktor Stalberg (Nashville, $12 million for four years, 10.7 Corsi).