Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Round One Playoff Predictions For 2014-15

Over my time following the WHL, I’ve come to understand that attempting to make predictions is essentially a fool’s game.

Even if you manage to be correct with your predictions, you still manage to piss off a group of fans or team employees for betting against their team. People are passionate about their team (or career) and I can understand that completely.

Despite what I have just stated, I have decided to once again post a prediction piece ahead of the 2015 WHL Playoffs. I guess I am a fool. But, along with providing my own predictions and reasoning for round one results, I have also taken a more advanced approach.

I will also include predictions for the first round of the postseason based on which team in the matchup had the better estimated regular season shot differential (Fenwick), the better overall goal differential for the regular season and simply, which team is the higher seed.

The Fenwick number was grabbed from the fantastic CHLstats.com and the goal differential was calculated manually using the WHL’s standings page. Seed is rather straight forward, simply choosing the higher-seeded team to advance to the next round. My personal predictions are based on my own knowledge of each team’s roster, playing style, strengths, weaknesses, injuries, etc.

It is my intent to do this process for all four rounds of the WHL postseason in 2015, and in the end, see which of the prediction method ends up with the best results.  

In case you missed it, I did a piece last week that outlined how well regular season estimated Fenwick (shot differentials) can predict WHL playoff success. You can read it here as it turned out that over the past three WHL postseason’s, the team with the better regular season shot differential won 77.7% of all series. We’ll see how this year’s numbers stack up to that once it’s all said and done.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

WHL Lines - Mar. 23


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Mar. 22)  















Forwards















#10 Clague (98) #23 McGauley (95) #15 Quenneville (94) *2




#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #8 Hawryluk (96) *3




#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #22 Shmyr (97) *2




#29 Matsuba (97) #24 Mattheos (99) #21 Coulter (96)













Other F:  #16 Kaspick (98) #28 Lisoway (95) #27 Duke (96)






#25 Campbell (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *12





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *17





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95)













Other D:
#3 Taraschuk (97)
















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  24- came in for 25. 12 came in for 3.






17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 41 games.





13-17-8 have been together for 6 of the past 14 games.





18-19-15 have been together for 10 of the past 26 games.





18-23-15 have been together for 10 of the past 14 games.





28-25-21 have been together for 5 of the past 13 games.





5-7 have been together for 50 of the past 52 games.





9-6 have been together for 40 of the past 46 games.





12-20 have been together for 24 of the past 31 games.





12-3 have been together for 4 of the past 18 games.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon








Saturday, March 21, 2015

WHL Lines - Mar. 22


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Mar. 22)  















Forwards















#10 Clague (98) #23 McGauley (95) #15 Quenneville (94) *2




#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #8 Hawryluk (96) *3




#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #22 Shmyr (97) *2




#29 Matsuba (97) #24 Mattheos (99) #21 Coulter (96)













Other F:  #16 Kaspick (98) #28 Lisoway (95) #27 Duke (96)






#25 Campbell (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *12





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *17





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95)













Other D:
#3 Taraschuk (97)
















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  24- came in for 25. 12 came in for 3.






17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 41 games.





13-17-8 have been together for 6 of the past 14 games.





18-19-15 have been together for 10 of the past 26 games.





18-23-15 have been together for 10 of the past 14 games.





28-25-21 have been together for 5 of the past 13 games.





5-7 have been together for 50 of the past 52 games.





9-6 have been together for 40 of the past 46 games.





12-20 have been together for 24 of the past 31 games.





12-3 have been together for 4 of the past 18 games.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







WHL Lines - Mar. 21


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Mar. 21)  















Forwards















#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #8 Hawryluk (96) *2




#10 Clague (98) #23 McGauley (95) #15 Quenneville (94)





#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #22 Shmyr (97)





#29 Matsuba (97) #25 Campbell (96) #21 Coulter (96)













Other F:  #16 Kaspick (98) #28 Lisoway (95) #27 Duke (96)















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *11





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *16





#3 Taraschuk (97) #20 Erkamps (95)













Other D:
#12 Gow (94)
















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  10-3 came in. 16-12 came out. 10 played F.






17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 40 games.





13-17-8 have been together for 6 of the past 13 games.





18-19-15 have been together for 10 of the past 25 games.





18-23-15 have been together for 10 of the past 13 games.





28-25-21 have been together for 5 of the past 12 games.





5-7 have been together for 49 of the past 51 games.





9-6 have been together for 39 of the past 45 games.





12-20 have been together for 23 of the past 30 games.





12-3 have been together for 4 of the past 17 games.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







Thursday, March 19, 2015

WHL Lines - Mar. 19


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Mar. 18)  















Forwards















#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #8 Hawryluk (96)





#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #15 Quenneville (94)





#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #21 Coulter (96)





#16 Kaspick (98) #25 Campbell (96) #29 Matsuba (97)













Other F:  #26 Lycar (97) #28 Lisoway (95) #27 Duke (96)
























Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *10





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *15





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *10












Other D:
#10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  17-19 came in. 26-3 came out.






17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 39 games.





13-17-8 have been together for 6 of the past 12 games.





18-19-15 have been together for 10 of the past 24 games.





18-23-15 have been together for 10 of the past 12 games.





28-25-21 have been together for 5 of the past 11 games.





5-7 have been together for 48 of the past 50 games.





9-6 have been together for 38 of the past 44 games.





12-20 have been together for 23 of the past 29 games.





12-3 have been together for 4 of the past 16 games.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Using Regular Season Shot Differentials To Predict Playoff Success

Back in December I did a piece that investigated regular season shot differentials predicting future playoff success in the Western Hockey League.

In summary, it found that during the 2013-14 playoffs, the team who had the better regular season shot differential won far more playoff series’ than they lost. In fact, the “leader” of the two teams in that category won 12 of the 15 best of 7 matchups during the 2013-14 WHL playoffs. I felt that was a pretty substantial amount, especially considering someone like a sports bettor would be more than happy to predict individual games at a 60 or 65 per cent rate.

But at the end of the day, that was only one season worth of data. Many would say that it’s hardly a big enough sample size to really draw any major conclusions from. But, since then we’ve seen some additional data come forward thanks to Josh Weissbock at CHLStats.com.

He recently updated his website to include data going back two more seasons, allowing me to dig further into this idea with a larger sample size to draw from.

As stated in my last piece, the results are once again interesting even if they’re not overly surprising given the concept of what we’re talking about.

The Estimated Fenwick data measures shot differentials, so one would expect that the better the team, the better they are at either getting or suppressing shots. That’s not a ground-breaking concept. Teams that generate more chances than they surrender tend to win more often.

As mentioned, the data from the 2013-14 WHL playoffs found that the team with the better regular season shot differential number won 12 of the 15 series throughout the entire postseason. That included going 5-3 in round one before going perfect (7-0) through the subsequent two rounds and WHL Championship series.  Breaking it down into games, the team with the higher regular season Fenwick number won 49 of the 74 games. That’s 66%.

Going back to the year previous, 2012-13, the overall series winning percentage was identical in the WHL playoffs. The team with the better regular season Fenwick had 12 series wins compared to only three losses:
2013 WHL Playoffs

Once again breaking that information down game by game, the numbers weren’t quite as impressive as 2013-14. With that being said, the team with the higher regular season Fenwick number still won 62% of all WHL postseason games in 2013, going 48-29 overall.

Going back further, to 2011-12, we finally see the series winning percentage dip just a hair compared to 2012-13 and 2013-14. The only real difference was that Edmonton beat Portland in the WHL Championship Series, despite Portland having a slightly higher regular season Fenwick:

2012 WHL Playoffs

But breaking the 2011-12 playoffs down game-by-game, we see the highest individual game winning percentage out of the past three postseasons. The team with the higher Fenwick number in the regular season won a whopping 68% of all playoff games in 2012, winning 51 times and losing only 23 times.

Now we look at the three years at hand combined. This is what you get when you combine the playoff series winners as a whole:


Combining the three playoff years into game-by-game data, we get a record of 148-77 when simply choosing the team who had the higher regular season Fenwick. That’s nearly 66%.

So to recap, over the past three WHL postseasons:

- The team with the higher regular season Fenwick has won 77.7% of all series.
- The team with the higher regular season Fenwick has won 65.7% of all individual games.

Now that we have three full playoff seasons combined it provides a much safer sample size to draw basic conclusions from. Teams who get more shots than they give up tend to win more in the playoffs. That makes total sense when you are not just dealing with one-off situations, but extrapolate it over a full series. The team who has a recent history of generating more chances will give themselves a better chance to win games, and eventually a full series.

Keep that in mind when making your predictions for the fast-approaching 2014-15 WHL playoffs.

Thanks for reading.


(The Estimated Fenwick data used is courtesy of Josh Weissbock and can be found here)

For reference, here are the year-to-year WHL Fenwick rankings used in the article:

                  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

WH Lines - Mar. 18


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Mar. 18)  















Forwards















#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #8 Hawryluk (96)





#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #15 Quenneville (94)





#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #21 Coulter (96)





#16 Kaspick (98) #25 Campbell (96) #29 Matsuba (97)













Other F:  #26 Lycar (97) #28 Lisoway (95) #27 Duke (96)
























Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *10





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *15





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *10












Other D:
#10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  17-19 came in. 26-3 came out.






17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 39 games.





13-17-8 have been together for 6 of the past 12 games.





18-19-15 have been together for 10 of the past 24 games.





18-23-15 have been together for 10 of the past 12 games.





28-25-21 have been together for 5 of the past 11 games.





5-7 have been together for 48 of the past 50 games.





9-6 have been together for 38 of the past 44 games.





12-20 have been together for 23 of the past 29 games.





12-3 have been together for 4 of the past 16 games.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon