Advanced Stats All-Stars Vs. Over-Hyped Hitting Machines!

Photo by clydeorama

We bloggers can be a serious people. But it’s August. We’re all sitting in hammocks with a cold beer reading Vollman’s new Hockey Abstract on our tablets to avoid equally Screen Deprivation Anxiety and the chance of the sun reaching our pale, pale skin. It’s a time we can relax and stand to laugh at ourselves just a little.

Which is great because let’s face it, honoured readers, we bloggers sometimes pick odd players to love based on process related metrics. Just look at this great one by me on Eric Tangradi. I thought that guy might work out and felt genuine excitement about it. What a dummy.

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But we’re not alone! Our professional partners in print and those of the Sound-Making Media have some hilarious ideas about how hockey works and who is good at it. Where bloggers use incredulity, the mainsteam media is using hype. And we’re all ridiculous!

I think readers can agree there’s no better way to see our foibles than holding an All-Star game. That’s right, The Kyle Wellwood’s Career Memorial All-Stars face off against The Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hawks!

So relax and have a laugh at yourself. And others. (If you have a horse in this race, it’s okay to laugh just a little harder at the others to keep the self-doubt at bay.)

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Let’s start with the premise that the actual all-stars are on, you know, the All-Star teams. The Crosby’s and Stamkos’s are otherwise engaged. These are the guys we spend reams of pixels and hours of our time trying to prove are the real heroes of a 23-man roster. In fact, I’ve gone with 23 man rosters because there are just too many good candidates. 

Okay, okay, the teams:

The Kyle Wellwood’s Career Memorial All-Stars

Photo by Aaron Webb.


Power-vs-Power: Gabriel Landeskog – Frans Nielsen – Alex Semin

This is like Advanced Stats porn. If nerds ran the Hall of Fame, Landeskog would already be in it. Nielsen has had an up-and-down career, but remember when we knew he was good before anyone had heard of him?? We did that! Alex Semin could be paid in rocks collected from the moon and it would be too little according to an analysis that doesn’t have a ‘Nationality’ variable.

Second Toughs Outscoring Line: Sean Couturier – Brandon Dubinsky – Colin Wilson

Wilson has to play his off-wing. It’s an All-Star team and we don’t have a way to track such banal contextual factors anyway. Couturier makes Winnipeg fans cry with his wunderkind two-way talents while Dubinsky doesn’t need to score to earn his paycheque. He has something called shot attempts, bitchz.

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The Foreign Service: Magnus Paajarvi – Mikael Grabovski – Alexander Burmistrov

Oilers bloggers are pulling their hair out over losing Maggie, while Jets fans are still in denial over Burmistrov. DON’T TEAMS KNOW ANYTHING?! Grabo returns to form through the power of regression and bingo! 0.15 more Wins per All-Star game.

Soft Parade: Jussi Jokinen – Kyle Wellwood – Patrick Kaleta from 2010

Wellwood still can’t get ice-time on a team named after him. It’s fitting, really. Also, this team got Jussi Jokinen off waivers because your team was too dumb. If you think Kaleta doesn’t help this team, you don’t know much about ‘Unique Skills’. Just pretend you don’t know what happens from 2011 to 2013 and he’s still better than Kovalchuk.

In Reserve: Carl “The News Cycle is Catching Up on Me” Hagelin / David “Zone-Start Adjusted Corsi” Moss

Those guys are in RESERVE! We don’t even need a goalie. You won’t cross the red-line.


You Don’t Know Anything!: Christian Ehrhoff – Fedor Tyutin

Ehrhoff had a Norris quality season when you control for team effects, dude, and Fedor Tyutin is a keeper in my RelCorsi-based fantasy league.

Sweet Freedom: Jake Muzzin – Jake Gardiner

I don’t know anything about their skating skills, but their spreadsheets are so graceful. 

Bet you didn’t see this coming: Chris Tanev – Tyson Barrie

But you should have. The data is open-source. You thought Erik Johnson was the best defenceman on the Avs!? Please. And just like on the Canucks, Chris Tanev is the best defenceman on this team after the other 5 defencemen who are better.

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7th man: Mike Weaver

“How many cups has he won?” HA! We don’t win cups. We win shifts. 

In Goal

Craig “Everyone’s always trying to replace me” Anderson

Anton “The star signing of every blogger’s offseason” Khudobin

Est. Team Salary: $50.5M

Est. Goals scored over a full season: We… uh, to be honest we’re pretty worried about a Simpson’s paradox scenario and goals might be random. We’ve Monte Carlo’ed it to hell, but our best estimation is between 1.8 and 2.6 goals per 60 minutes of even strength ice time. In other words, somewhere between the worst and the best. Could go either way. 

The Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hawks!

Photo by Peter Evans.


Patrice Bergeron is a line

You tell me he’s not the best and I’ll cut you. I’ll give you some numbers to prove it. Two-thirds of his body weight is one muscle – heart.

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Trio De Triomphe: Joffrey Lupul – Free Agent Brad Richards – Shane Doan

Remember when Richards was still a Free Agent and able to take a team to a cup? Man, the Leafs were crazy not to give that guy $1B over a million years! 

With character like Doan’s on one side, and the exuberance of Lupul to get dirty and shoot the puck on the other, this line is destined for glory.

The Line That Wants to Win: Steve Ott – Jordan Staal – David Clarkson

This line wants it. They want it individually, they want it collectively, and through the mystical resonance of a hockey locker room, their desire has combined to form a specter resembling Christopher Lloyd that shares the ice with them. You don’t need to “see” the results. They’re just there.

Sandpaper And They’re Hard to Play Against: Kyle Clifford – Jim Slater – Chris Neil

This line adds sandpaper and they’re hard to play against. All three of them will stand at the net for a whole shift and not move. That’s how much tenacity these guys have. Block a shot? Pfft. They’ll spend the whole game blocking shots! 

In Reserve: Mike “The Ruppest” Rupp / Brendan “Leadership” Morrow


HIT SOMEBODY!: Anton Volchenkov – Dion Phaneuf

These two will go out of their way to make sure someone gets brutalized.

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SKATE!: Marc Methot – Jack Johnson

Did you notice that both of these players were invited to Olympics camps? That’s how we know they’re the best. Those who have authority have it out of merit and shall never be questioned.

HIT SOMEBODY!: Luke Schenn – Robyn Regehr

Afraid of corners?! Are you kidding me? These guys are more afraid of the open ice.

7th Man: Brooks “HIT SOMEBODY!” Orpik

In Goal

Cam “CLUTCH!” Ward


Est. Team Salary: $84M

Est, Goals Scored over a full season: It hasn’t happened yet, idiot. 400 maybe? Let’s go with a nice round 500. Anything less than 600 is a failure of the skilled forwards unless they really gut it out, in which case they can win through effort. It’s like a whole golden snitch thing, don’t worry about it.


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Who wins this All-Star matchup?

  • Kevin McCartney

    That’s exactly how I feel about him.

    Can’t blame him – you only get one shot. He even sometimes takes the bus home just to touch home. But now he sips champagne when he’s thirsty, so it’s hard to relate any more.

  • Kevin McCartney

    I hate to say this as a fancystats nerd myself but…

    Bergeron isn’t over-hyped.

    Clarkson is a bit better than some of us give him credit for – he’s more Tyler Kennedy (who was shockingly off your fancy stat team) – than he is Milan Lucic.

    Methot, Volchenkov, and Phaneuf really aren’t over-hyped. In fact Methot actually belongs on your fancy-stat team more than the over-hyped one. He’s the guy most people seem confused about re his invite to the Team Canada camp.

    I find it odd that Phaneuf is so “over-rated” by “everyone” that he shows up on lists again and again about how “over-rated” he is.

    As for your goalies – surprised you think Ward is over-rated – I’d have definitely put Johnathan Quick in goal.

    • Kevin McCartney

      Tyler Kennedy totally should have made it!! What an oversight! Maybe he’s got some bad blood with Welly.

      Yeah, some of these guys are genuinely good. Bergeron gets the Datsyuk verbal at this point, where every time anyone talks about the guy it’s with the phrase ‘under-rated.’ At some point we have to accept that Julien’s a good coach, Bergeron plays with some great line mates on a pretty deep team, and yes, he’s very good. Clarkson has 170 pts in 426 games. I like the guy, but the fact that teams were in a bidding war was a testament to his ‘grit’ factor and a bit of hype, I think.

      Quick has a better ev save % if I’m not mistaken, and Ward has just one NHL season with a better than .916 sv% and constantly gets the ‘clutch’ label to explain why he’s a good goaltender.

      Anyway, I love debates like this in August! Thanks for getting involved and please feel free to tell me if I’m out to lunch.

  • Kevin McCartney

    Also – Methot! He reminds me of a Komisarek trajectory. Komisarek was named to the US team in 2010 but was injured and couldn’t play if I remember correctly. Everyone was enamoured with the guy until his partners were bad and his luck ran out. I don’t Methot gets bought out, but I don’t think it’s chance that his best season came with Paul Maclean as coach and Erik Karlsson beside him.

    • The Last Big Bear

      Um, Methot played the majority of last season without Karlsson and still was pretty solid and managed to get a Team Canada invite. So in no real way did he piggyback Karlsson to a great season.