In an outstanding piece over at NHL.com, Dave Lozo looks at why the Rangers have struggled this season by breaking down their offseason transactions, the disappearance of Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik as well as safe becoming death for the Blueshirts.
However, one area that Lozo explored that I found the most interesting is that maybe the Rangers vastly over-achieved last season and what we're seeing now is closer to what this team really is. Lozo uses hockey advanced statistic to prove his theory...
"From Oct. 31 to Jan. 10, the Rangers went 24-6-1, picking up 49 of a possible 62 points. That translates into 130 points over an 82-game season, and that stretch -- along with a 10-4-1 roll that followed -- cemented the Rangers as one of the NHL's top teams.
A look at the Rangers' PDO during that 46-game clip shows it may have been more of a mirage than a trend that was likely to continue. PDO is a five-on-five statistic tracked by Gabriel Desjardins of behindthenet.ca, and it is defined by Desjardins as "the sum of on-ice shooting percentage and on-ice save percentage while a player was on the ice. It regresses very heavily to the mean in the long-run: a team or player well above 1000 has generally played in good luck and should expect to drop going forward and vice-versa."
During that 34-10-2 stretch, the Rangers had a PDO of 1033, an unsustainable figure that regressed over the final six weeks of the season, when they finished 14-11-2 in their final 27 games. The leaders in PDO in 2011-12, the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins, finished the 82-game season at 1014.
Last season, the Rangers had a PDO of 1010, the sixth-best mark in the NHL and the best under Tortorella. The numbers indicate that last season was more of an outlier than an indicator that the Rangers were ready to take the next step this season."
Lozo then adds...
"With the Rangers scoring fewer goals this season, it doesn't take an advanced statistic expert to figure out that translates into more losses. But a look at the Rangers' PDO numbers the past four seasons show maybe everyone should have been ready for this type of season.
The Rangers' PDO in 2009-10, when the club missed the postseason by a point with a 38-33-11 record, was 1005, ninth in the League. In 2010-11, when the Rangers qualified as the No. 8 seed with a 44-33-5 mark, their PDO was 1007, seventh in the League. This season, the Rangers' PDO is 1003, good for 11th. That's a sign there is room from improvement based on past data, but those figures are based on an 82-game season, not a 48-game season. That leaves less time for the numbers to correct themselves."
...i'm not the biggest fan of advanced statistics. I'd much rather form an opinion on a team based on what I'm watching as I can add factors such as emotion and momentum which cannot be calculated in these type of analytics. Having said that, these numbers are hard to ignore and have me concerned that the Rangers aren't going to be able to turn this around.
...i don't think there's a Rangers fan among us who didn't think the Blueshirts overachieved last season, but despite these stats I'm still at a complete loss as to why this team has lost the drive and intensity that was the identity of last year's team. I know they lost a large chunk of their heart and soul this offseason, but it's not like there aren't any holdovers. (You might have heard of this Callahan guy). Maybe instead of showing the team tape of their mistakes, Torts should start showing them tape of last season.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy has more on this here.
Brandon Prust - key difference! This team shows no sign of personality or life - on or off the ice.
Not even a huge avery fanatic but at least prust and avery made teams hate to play against us. Now we are a walk in the park. We need more bite!!
Brandon Prust - $2.5 cap hit or Roman Hamrlik - $3.5 cap hit? $2.5 hit is fine for the best intangible player in league - NYR 2013 is LAME
Imagine if we kept Prust, Dubi, Anisimov and just signed Semin instead of trading for Nash... ( i love nash but it's not working!)
After Dolan made his "Cup comments" last season. Torts tempered saying he still didn't believe the team was ready. Then he said, he thought the same thing in Tampa even during the season that they won.
I don't buy the advanced stats. The Rangers are losing important games to easy teams. Stars are slumping. Depth can't make up for that. Coach wants to win with the cards he had in the last hand and there's so much pressure with shortened season and last years accomplishments.
What Kevin says is the key for me though. The intangibles. How many nights is Cally gonna leave it all out there, score the team's only goal etc - before the rest of the guys start to bring the relentless passion that provides the wins which build the confidence that any successful team needs?
@TheNYRBlog now I'm depressed :(
@TheNYRBlog boy that got me pumped for the game tonight.. Good piece tho
Everyone's holding on too tight. The players, the coaches, the media and us the fans. Change has got to trickle down from the top. Torts has to loosen up and let this team and his system evolve, and let these guys find themselves and find their game. If we can find ourselves moving forward we can still surprise alot of teams as the league has already written us off as contenders. Torts has got to loosen the reins.
%s 2 different teams,but %s have been .500 team since mid-Feb'12. 14-13 to end'12 season. 10-10 in playoffs. 13-12 in '13.
If we're going to say that last years team over-achieved (which I agree they did), then I think we have to recognize that this team is under-achieving. On paper, this team is better than an 8-9-10 seed. The difference, and what drive the fans nuts, is that last season I think we knew they were overachieving, but we believed it was happening because of heart and soul, black and blue mentality. Maybe it was just luck, but they earned their luck by just plain wanting it more than anyone else.
This season, you look at the number of goals scored by defensemen, and the bottom 6, you wanted the pens just skate through the neutral zone like were traffic cones. You watch guys get slammed in to the board and no one responds, and you realize that this years team doesn't seem to want it as much as the fans do. There is no reason we shouldn't be beating the likes of the Islanders, Devils, Jets, etc. I know were not the Pens or the Bruins, they make this stuff look easy. But it just shouldn't be so hard for these guys, yet somehow, it is.
Maybe they can bring this kid in, try to get a rise out of some of these guys:
Since you went the voodoo stats route, digest these stats. Last year the top 5 scorers on the team were Gabby (76pts), Richards (66pts), Cally (54pts), Step (51pts), MDZ (41pts), Hags (38pts). Here's how they would project this year to the same # of games they played last year:
Gabby - 52 pts
Richards - 49 pts
Cally - 41 pts
Step - 55 pts
MDZ - 31 pts
Hags - 36 pts
And just for good measure, Nash had 59 pts last year and would project to 82 this year. Hard to win a whole lot when your top guys don't produce up to their historical numbers.
Everyone got overly excited after last year but they just weren't that good. They only scored .2 more goals per game last year than this year and Hank was playing at another level. Not really a shocker if you paid attention
Maybe the HBO being around last year offered a little extra motivation rather then the distraction people feared. Obviously not blaming this years struggles on that entirely but they really did seem to enjoy the spotlight that that "24/7" brought last year. and maybe the camera's always being around kind of kept them in line and let them have that said over achieving stretch? didn't see the passionless games when they knew they were going to be on a reality tv series each week.... just a thought.
Guys prust was quality, Anisimov was a Less talented gaborik and dubi was lost all year long.. Lets stop looking at guys we complained about all of last year and look at the fact that we have a lot of new faces and we haven't had them all on the ice together this year at all except for maybe what, 3 games? If you guys really think we are missing Mitchell and Fedotenko then that's just ridiculous. Do you rarely think John Mitchell would have those points if he were on the Rangers?
As everything above points out, last year's team is vastly different than this year's team. There is no comparison. That said, this idiot of a coach still thinks it is last year's team and just expects this team to do what last year's team did. It ain't gonna happen. Early in the season I wrote somewhere that this team was the only team in the league that didn't have five D averaging double figure minutes. Don't know what it is now but I suspect it has inched into having six D with 10 mins or more. Maybe not. A bigger fact is there's no Michael Sauer. He was huge for us in the absence of Staal. Right now there's no Staal, who had been our best dman by far this season. Girardi, who I've advocated trading the last few years because he was at his highest value then, has regressed because of all the minutes he's played the last few seasons and the pain he hides on an everyday basis this year. McDonagh is not the same after that hit that took him out for a few games. His decision making is, well, the decision making of a 2nd year dman. Our best dmen, MDZ and Stralman, cannot be your best dmen if you expect to contend. Ditto for our now best 3rd dman, Steve Eminger. Start there. This coach seems not to want to see the reality and still has this year's team trying to play like last year's team. The difference is the offensive talent we have, starting with No. 61. I don't think any team, on paper at least, has a top six like the Rangers. 61, 19, 62, 19, 10 and 24 are pretty fucking good. Let 'em loose. Throw in JT and bring back Kreids and your top eight are dangerous. 19 will get better. Giving #10 the benefit of the doubt here, he has to be able to play better with a different coach/coaching style. I like Powe, Pyatt and Halpern to shut teams down. Boyle's gotta go. Hank will stop most of the mistakes. This team should be able to outscore most on any given night. They won't win otherwise. Probably won't even make the POs if they don't.
@TheNYRBlog we lost too much grit and did not replace them with players that could provide the same. AA, dubi and prust big loss.
Blah blah blah. Last year's team was greater than the sum of their parts. What we have this season isn't last year's team at all.
@TheNYRBlog Pruster was the glue on this team, even more than we knew. Not worth $10M but he was the straw that stirred the Rangers drink.
@TheNYRBlog the team under torts is an 8th-12th place team, last year happened cuz stars aligned and hank was stellar he has to open it up
@TheNYRBlog "Lies, damned lies, and statistics"
@jschlauch The problem isn't Nash. Anyone with a pair of eyes could tell you that.
@johnnyb3910 LOL! Love that kid.
@_Jack Not even close.
@GarretJoseph1 nash not a problem - he's great... what we lost in the offseason is. Awesome to have a superstar but not when you go from a top team in the league to middle of the road. Teams used to circle games against ud and get ready for a hard nose tough battle and usually lose. Now they skate through us with no problem. No toughness at all. If we were scoring 1 or 2 goals more per game that would be fine but GPG are down!
@greyskies67 the only guy I suggested trading was Boyle. Girardi right now is worthless.
@KevinDeLury @_Jack I really don't see this year's team being that different than last year's. They play solid D, they have a great goalie, they work hard along the boards and they struggle to score. Wasn't that last year's team too? Some of the people are different but the games are the same. If this was an 80 game schedule I don't think we'd be that upset...yet.
@JoeSec.327 Prust was important to this team but the guy had 17 points the entire season last year. 5 goals. I know it isn't all about scoring, but if Richards and Gaborik were doing what they are supposed to be doing and Kreider had been left up here and contributing to the offense we wouldn't be having this discussion.
"I really don't see this year's team being that different than last year's".......... Prust, Dubi, Artie, and Feds were the heart/soul. I would still take Nash in the trade obv, but letting Prust go was the biggest mistake ever. I know Kevin always says you can't pay a 4th liner 4million, but he was more than a 4th liner on this team. Powe, Halpern, Asham, Pyatt are combined 5 goals on the year.