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Tweetmail No. 64: Staal vs. 2003, Analytics & Movies

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it.

How are Eric Staal’s numbers compared to the rest of his draft class? – Danny G. (@rkhd96)

This is an interesting question, and it piqued my curiosity. 2003 is widely regarded as one of the deepest and most complete talent pools in NHL draft history.

So, I fired up the ol’ Google machine and found hockey-reference.com to be a very handy source.

Eric Staal leads the 2003 draft class in a number of categories: games played (846), goals (312) and points (742). Ryan Getzlaf paces the group of 292 players with 470 assists, ahead of Staal’s 430. Given the depth of talent in the class, Staal’s numbers are incredibly impressive.

NHL.com and Sportsnet agree. Prior to the 2013 NHL Draft, the league’s website and network each reassessed the 2003 class and conducted a mock redraft. The No. 1 pick? Staal, who was originally selected second overall by the Hurricanes.

Since the 2003 draft, Staal has proven himself a consistent, durable and all-star performer. The now 30-year-old center has recorded 20 goals or more in nine of the last 10 seasons, and he’s the only player in franchise history to post six consecutive 25-goal seasons. Including the playoffs, Staal has missed just 22 games in his NHL career, playing in 98 percent of Carolina’s games since the beginning of the 2003-04 seasons. He appeared in four consecutive All-Star Games from 2007-2011, captaining “Team Staal” at the 2011 All-Star Game in Raleigh and being named MVP of the 2008 All-Star Game in Atlanta. Finally, Staal became the 23rd player in history to enter the “Triple Gold Club,” which consists of an Olympic gold medal, a Stanley Cup and a gold medal in the World Championship.

How much analytics/advanced metrics do the Hurricanes use in decision making? – Seth D. (@The_Hockey_Prof)

This is going to be a vague answer, but that’s just how it is. To put it simply, the Hurricanes employ analytics in decision making.

This was something we explored in some detail last summer after talking with Executive Vice President and General Manager Ron Francis and Assistant to the General Manager and Video Scout Darren Yorke.

“The general public is probably most familiar with possession analytics, which help paint a picture about a player in terms of how often they’re gaining the offensive zone and driving possession,” Yorke said. “There are other metrics and analytics we use to help paint a total picture on a player.”

The Canes aren’t going to say much more than that in regards to analytics and how they are utilized, but rest assured they are used as one evaluation device among a varied toolbox.

“The main purpose of using quantitative data is to try to get an unbiased view on some things that your eyes don’t necessarily catch,” Yorke said. “We want to use everything. Combined with traditional scouting and video scouting, analytics can give you as much information as possible to find the best players.”

This season, NHL.com made common advanced statistics readily available through their revamped stats section in a partnership with SAP. Metrics such as SAT (shot attempts) and USAT (unblocked shot attempts) – the Corsi and Fenwick of yore – are now tabulated by the league itself and will likely become a mainstay in hockey lexicon moving forward.

What summer movies are at the top of your list to see? – Sammie M. (@sammiemar)

Three come to mind: TOMORROWLAND, INSIDE OUT and TRAINWRECK. Three completely different films, but all definitely on my radar. I’ve been following TOMORROWLAND from inception, and it’s incredibly intriguing. Hard to go wrong with a Pixar film in INSIDE OUT, and TRAINWRECK looks to be one of the top comedies of the summer.

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Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you have any #HockeyBands you’d like to add to the discussion, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes (or drop an email here).



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