Friday, May 14, 2010

Brian Burke and AHL Advanced Stats

NHL Board of Governors Meeting

What the hell is Brian up to?

There is a company called Time On Ice Software that sells programs designed to help teams acquire advanced stats for their hockey team. Depending on how you input the data and present it, you could essentially have the same stats that are available at or ... but for your beer league team.

If you click on the link you'll see a list of their users by logo. As of last year the four AHL teams that were customers:
Manitoba Moose (VAN)
Portland Pirates (ANA)
Rockford Icehogs (CHI ... formerly ANA via Cincinnati Mighty Ducks)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)

The thing that these teams all had in common; Brian Burke has been the GM of the NHL affiliate.

The Texas Stars and Hamilton Bulldogs seem to have started using this system this year as well. They are currently facing each other in the AHL Western Conference finals, so perhaps it has helped a bit.

Now there isn't anything particularly sophisticated about the programs, it wouldn't surprise me if some teams had developed their own software. The nice thing about staying with the same format is that you would be able to share with other teams and easily build an style database. A database that would have a significant sample of underlying stats for most players in the AHL. And of course the cost of the software is trivial compared to the cost of inputting the data for every game. Presumably one doesn't go to that trouble and expense unless they are making use of the resulting data.

Brian Burke has never struck me as a particularly cerebral guy, this investment will tell him nothing of the truculence of AHL players, after all. The obvious thing that this data yields, as has been shown repeatedly on this blog and throughout the Oilogosphere; it tells you the context of a player's results and gives you a better idea of his true value, beyond the counting stats.

At the trade deadline the Leafs acquired Martin Skoula (who was flipped for a 5th round draft pick) and an AHL player named Luca Caputi in exchange for Alexei Ponikarovsky. It will be interesting to see how this player develops.

I don't know what the Leafs (or even the Habs, Ducks, Stars, Blackhawks, Canucks) are doing here. Perhaps I'm giving them too much credit. I do know that I would be very wary about any Oilers trade with the Leafs that involved AHL players, or involved any guys whose track record was principally in the AHL. We've seen that movie once, with Lupul and Smid, I don't want to see it again.


Blogger Olivier said...

Building coding software is absurdly easy, I fail to see why a team would need to buy such a solution. So maybe those teams doing business with that company is the sign of orgs who are behind the curve.

The tough thing is determine what kind of info you should go after and then applying your organisation to become more efficient at getting those data points, so you can build larger and larger data stores.

To me, the truculence bit always souded like Burke playing dumb to and audience he obviously considered a bunch of morons.

5/15/2010 2:39 pm  
Blogger Scott Reynolds said...

Good stuff, Vic though judging from past results, I don't think that Burke has a special talent when it comes to identifying value in the AHL. Over his last couple of years in Anaheim, the AHL acquisitions were Chad Painchaud, Joakim Lindstrom, Brandon Bochenski, Joe Motzko, Mark Hartigan, Gerald Coleman, Doug O'Brien, Stephen Dixon, Jason King, Brandon Segal, Geoff Platt and Michal Birner. Now, he probably didn't give up a whole lot for these guys and some of them were probably meant for AHL depth, but there's nothing there that makes me think he's got an advantage in scouting the AHL.

5/16/2010 12:14 am  
Blogger PPP said...

I know there's a lot of history with Burke as an Oilers fan but he's not a dummy. He seems to be pretty involved in advanced statistics and trying to figure out how to gain an advantage through them.

He's regularly in contact with guys like Polian and Belichick to learn about managing a team under the salary cap. As Leafs GM he has also attended a couple of MIT conferences on the topic as well. Not to say he's necessarily ahead of the curve but he's trying to learn.

5/16/2010 6:31 pm  
Blogger dawgbone said...

Oilivier, building it can be easy, but you need to trust the person to build it.

That's why a lot of people go with pre-packaged software. Finding a competent programmer/developer is a lot harder than finding boxed software, even if the former can be more flexible.

6/01/2010 11:28 am  
Blogger Jim Philips said...

I think that it is quite helpful to get all the kind of stats. It can help a lot. I would like have a portion on that for price per head free demo. It can help me a lot

5/30/2013 11:03 pm  

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