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Started looking into some stats, and then decided to write something up about Johnsson's case for sweeping the D-man awards this season. By the time I realized how far I'd gotten with just the Valiq, figured I'd finish the post and then just submit it as a MS when my current Media Spots run out in a few weeks lol.

 

Spoiler

The case for Mats Johnsson to sweep the Defenceman trophies

 

When the league decided to split the Labatte into two trophies, the thinking was that the top offensive defenceman usually won the award, and the league would like to give some love to the top defensive defenceman. That trend was debunked early on in that era of the VHL, where the league awarded trophies to the league’s offensive and defensive specialists on defence, but left a very realistic chance that the best 2-way defender, the one who would most often win the Labatte-proper, could miss out on winning any awards. This was a very realistic possibility as recently as last season, when it was clear that Maxim Kovalchuk was the league’s top offensive defenceman, as a rookie no less, but had his struggles defensively. On the other side of the puck, there was much debate over who should win the best defensive defenceman award, as consideration for both Sebastian Ironside and, true-specialist, Boner were bandied about, before the Awards Committee decided on Mats Johnsson as the league’s best defensive defenceman. There was a very realistic possibility that, Johnsson, who would have won the Labatte-proper last season had it been around, could have walked away with no awards to his name last season - a big part of the league’s reasoning in reinstating the Labatte-proper, and renaming the offensive specialist trophy the Alexander Valiq Trophy.

 

This season, in regards to Mats Johnsson, there is another very real possibility that he walks home with no hardware, but that is due to the emergence of Joseph Bassolino, who switched positions to man the blue-line for the Riga Reign this season. Here we take a look at some advanced stats that show why Johnsson very well may have a case at winning all three defenseman awards. We’ll begin with the specialist trophies, starting with the:

 

Alexander Valiq Trophy

At first glance, there is very little reason to believe that, if the season were to end today, Bassolino would not win the Valiq trophy. The New Jersey native leads the league in assists with 67 (12 more than 2nd place Johnsson), and leads defensive scoring by 7 points, ahead of Johnsson’s 72, sitting 2nd overall in the league with his 79 points. What then, could be Johnsson’s case for winning the Valiq?

 

While he sits 7-points behind Bassolino in scoring, the first argument is that Johnsson leads all defencemen with 17 goals, 5 more than Bassolino’s 12. Many will argue the value of assists vs goals, but Johnsson’s goal total currently leads his position. Another argument is that while Bassolino is racking up assists, they may be coming more from having more offensive teammates, as Podrick Cast and Edwin Preencarnacion currently sit 3rd and 4th, respectively, in league goal scoring, with a combined 14 more goals than Calgary’s top duo of Jasper Canmore and Keaton Louth.

 

Moving away from individual performances, we can take a look at the teams on a whole, and glean some interesting information, as well. Team strategies have Riga pushing the pace a lot more than Calgary, as they are averaging nearly 8 shots more per game. So, while Calgary is actually shooting better than Riga, with a 9.52% success rate on shots, vs. the Reign’s 8.86% mark, the Reign have netter an extra 21 goals to this point in the season. Taking this into account, Johnsson’s point percentage on his team’s goals scored is actually slightly higher than Bassolino’s, at 42.11% vs. 41.15% (interestingly, Joseph McWolf leads all defencemen in point %, being involved in 44.19% of New York’s goals). Another factor in Bassolino’s points lead is that Riga has received 17 more Powerplay opportunities than Calgary, to date (213 vs. 196), so while both are operating at a similar success rate, it has afforded Bassolino more opportunity to increase his point totals - when looking at Even Strength and Short Handed points, the two are much closer at 58-56, with Bassolino taking the lead there.

 

When the season comes to a close, it is very possible that Johnsson closes the gap on Bassolino, but it is equally likely that the raw points gap increases, between the 2. Sometimes, it’s important not to get too caught up in raw numbers, and look at the underlying factors when deciding these types of awards, just as they are usually taken into account when deciding the:

 

Jake Wylde Trophy

Where the Valiq is strictly a 2-horse race, the Wylde, in its nature, has a lot more players who can make a case for themselves in who deserves the award. In fact, Sidney Crosby, who has a staggering 67 more shots blocked than 2nd Place McWolf, would be a shoe-in for the award, until one notices his -31 rating on the season. He has put up a valiant effort for the short-handed Helsinki Titans, who only recently added a 2nd defender to their roster, but the team’s overall defensive play (having given up the 2nd most shots in the league) will almost certainly be factored into the fact that his shot blocks being inflated, vs. his competition.

 

When judging the Wylde recipient, the three most important stats that the awards committee looks for are Hits, Shots Blocked, and Plus/Minus. Plus/Minus is usually heavily factored into qualifying, as it helps to eliminate inflated hit/shot block totals. In this exercise, we will look at players with over a +25 rating, giving us the top 10 defenders in that category. From there, we can narrow it down to defenders with over 85 hits, and over 70 shots blocked, which gives us our Final 3 of Johnsson, Bassolino and Luc-Pierre Lespineau-Lebrunette (LPLL for short).

 

When looking at these three defenders, it seems clear that, if you look strictly at hits, there are two true candidates, between Johnsson and LPLL, as both are within 10 shot blocks of Bassolino’s 87, but both are out-hitting the new defender by more than 80 hits. Once narrowing it down to those two defenders, the case for which is more deserving of the Wylde comes down to minor details. As of right now, Johnsson leads LPLL in hits by 23 (200 vs. 177), and Plus/Minus by 22 (49 vs. 27), while they are currently within 1 shot block of each other, with LPLL edging Johnsson 78-77. Some may argue the Plus/Minus is skewed, with Calgary possessing a more potent offense thus far, but the hit totals may be just enough to give Johnsson the edge in claiming a 2nd straight Wylde Trophy! Which brings us to the:

 

Sterling Labatte Trophy

Returning to its rightful place as the award for the league’s best overall defender, after a 4-season hiatus, it is difficult to argue that Johnsson, who is in the conversation as a very possible winner for both the Valiq and Wylde Trophies, would have any difficulty in claiming the Labatte-proper for the first time in his career (after winning what was then the Labatte, but is now called the Alexander Valiq Trophy in S61). While the league has many top-flight defencemen in its ranks this season, Johnsson has continued to improve his game, and is valiantly fighting off all challengers to his title as the league’s top Defenceman!

 

>1200 words in total ?

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4 minutes ago, Quik said:

Started looking into some stats, and then decided to write something up about Johnsson's case for sweeping the D-man awards this season. By the time I realized how far I'd gotten with just the Valiq, figured I'd finish the post and then just submit it as a MS when my current Media Spots run out in a few weeks lol.

 

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>1200 words in total ?

 

Next you can do Keaton for HOF Honors 

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7 minutes ago, Beaviss said:

 

Next you can do Keaton for HOF Honors 

Gotta work on MJ's HOF first ;) 

 

Spoiler

First 2 seasons really screwed me out of points. With them, he's on pace for ~650. Without them, he'd be on pace for around 750, and 2nd half of his career is a 850 point career pace... ?

 

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12 minutes ago, Quik said:

Gotta work on MJ's HOF first ;) 

 

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First 2 seasons really screwed me out of points. With them, he's on pace for ~650. Without them, he'd be on pace for around 750, and 2nd half of his career is a 850 point career pace... ?

 

 

tell me about it......

 

image.png

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13 minutes ago, McWolf said:

Predicting future HoF classes could be an interesting article subject

Hmm...

 

Well, aside from the players currently on the ballot, the next 3 ballots will likely include (or could include, I should say)

 

S56 - Gabriel McAllister (1st Ballot, easy). AAR had his chances tanked by being moved to forward lol, nobody else really has stats that could make a case

S57 - Stopko, Johnsson, maybe Louth, maybe Jones

S58 - Don't see anybody really

S59 - Maybe Bassolino, but he'd have to really kill it his last 3 seasons after switching.

S60 - Early, but Dragomir and Iseult are the only ones who may have a case at this point

S61 - Super early, but Thompson/Cast/Preencarnacion are already looking like locks

S62 - Ok, now we're getting silly

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14 minutes ago, Quik said:

Hmm...

 

Well, aside from the players currently on the ballot, the next 3 ballots will likely include (or could include, I should say)

 

S56 - Gabriel McAllister (1st Ballot, easy). AAR had his chances tanked by being moved to forward lol, nobody else really has stats that could make a case

S57 - Stopko, Johnsson, maybe Louth, maybe Jones

S58 - Don't see anybody really

S59 - Maybe Bassolino, but he'd have to really kill it his last 3 seasons after switching.

S60 - Early, but Dragomir and Iseult are the only ones who may have a case at this point

S61 - Super early, but Thompson/Cast/Preencarnacion are already looking like locks

S62 - Ok, now we're getting silly

 

 

6D5F5465-DC59-4F69-8046-17D9382FE8B9.jpeg

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@Beaviss I'd expect you to get in, probably not first ballot but given that there are so few people adding to the ballot the 3 seasons after, you ought to get in. There's no requirement to induct 2 every season, but there will be at least one time if not two where we won't have two new people added, so it'll be you vs an empty space. I certainly think you have enough of a case to beat leaving an induction empty.

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25 minutes ago, diamond_ace said:

@Beaviss I'd expect you to get in, probably not first ballot but given that there are so few people adding to the ballot the 3 seasons after, you ought to get in. There's no requirement to induct 2 every season, but there will be at least one time if not two where we won't have two new people added, so it'll be you vs an empty space. I certainly think you have enough of a case to beat leaving an induction empty.

 

Well at least I'm good enough to beat empty space 

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