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1.10.2013

Debating the merits of Plus/Minus

Just a quick note here. There have been a handful of comments regarding Seattle releasing Rouse instead of Lockhart so I want to address the point quickly.

Yes... on the surface Lockhart is -28 while Rouse was +4 on a team where MANY players are in the minus category. There is most certainly an argument to be made that perhaps Lockhart should have been the player released instead of Rouse but that argument shouldn't and doesn't start and end by simply looking at Plus/Minus.

To look at one statistic (much less a greatly flawed one such as Plus/Minus) to determine the merits of a player is to make an overly simplistic and poor argument.  Rouse might be better than Lockhart but you can't determine or prove that simple by looking at Plus/Minus.  Players bring different things to the table and you have to consider the entire package.

Another overly simplistic and equally as flawed argument would be to say that the team needs scoring and Lockhart has 14 goals while Rouse has 6 goals. So... that must mean that Lockhart is better and the TBirds made the correct decision, right? No, wrong.

Here's another one. Jacob Doty and Riley Sheen. Yes, Sheen is -21 and Doty is not. Anyone who watched the team the last couple of years couldn't possibly think Doty was better than Sheen. Doty is playing for what is likely a better team... so of course his Plus/Minus number is going to be better.

I mentioned earlier that Plus/Minus is a flawed statistic. Some/most consider it to be more of a "team stat" than an individual one. That's not entirely true but it also isn't entirely false either, which makes it a flawed evaluation tool.

I've already spent too many words on this and I think you all get the point. You can't cherry pick stats simply to prove your point. Well, actually you can... just don't expect me to take you seriously when you do it.

Plus/Minus is a statistic that can be used a part of statistical evaluation. To use is as the only tool is simple ineffective.

25 comments :

Anonymous said...

I sort of felt that today was the 2012 trade deadline coming full circle for the T-Bird front office. The Pickard trade could have landed us an offensive player that potentially would become captain to start this season and put a leader and a scorer in the role. Had Russ done his job, we wouldn't be sitting here a year later talking about how the hell we are going to make the playoffs while deciding on who is the weaker of two lackluster Centers. Two overagers that severely lacked trade value. It goes back to having a GM that couldn't move a high value goaltender on a team that was going nowhere. Instead, Pickard and Lockhart both get the golden handshake from the incapable one himself.

Anonymous said...

Plus/minus is as deceptive as assists. I cringe when I hear multiple assists awarded to players who had nothing to do with the goal.

Mr Tell13 said...

Great Post Tyler,
I agree with the argument you are making; that by itself, the plus/minus rating is not the tell all of stats. I do believe that in context (a well defined context)it does tell a lot.

First off, Rouse was not a plus in a team of many minus, he was the only plus player on the regular roster (I do not count Wolf's +1 since he was in only 15 games)
Player positions, time on the ice and situation they play make a huge diffence in the +/- rating. In this case, I would say that other than playing the top line of each team a bit more, there is no difference between the 2 players.
So in this particular case I do think that the +/- is pretty telling. Rouse does not take as much chances and is not off position as much and he is a much better playmaker. Lockhart is more physical, a better finisher, but can be found more off posiition.

Now that said, even if I don't like the move (really don't, I think Rouse ws probably the ,ost underated player in the past couple of seasons) I think it might work. We now can have a third line, a real third line. One of the things you mentionned in a previous post was the lack of regular hitting (and i agree) but that came (in my opinion) from the lack of an actual grinding 3rd line. Now the tbirds have a few options t put with theses 2 guys (lockahrt or Hickman).

In thta mindset, I believe that releasing Lockhart instead of Rouse would have been a 2 step forward/1 step back thing.

Anonymous said...

There isn't very many teams whose captain leads them in scoring and every other statistical category. Usually the players on the team determine the captain. So much throwing Lockhart under the bus solely based on being a captain of a bad team. I didn't think we would lose 12 in a row again, but really were some of you expecting Lockhart to have a 40 goal season or something? He is clearly a better player than Rouse logs a ton more minutes. But I guess we all see the games in a different way. We have generated numerous scoring chances we just have a problem finishing, the real problem with this team is the lack of experience on defense and bad decision making that comes with that, I can't count how many times we get pinned deep and fail to clear the puck resulting in a goal. Either way hopefully some of these players come in and give any sort of a spark.

Anonymous said...

These trades just reek of desperation to me. I'm not saying Russ mortgaged the farm, but to give up two higher picks for two very average forwards just doesn't make sense.

Russ should've focused on the leaky defense who is giving up 50 shots a game and putting Glover in a rough situation night-in, night-out.

BTW the comment at the top about 2012 being full circle is spot on. Russ had a chance to set-up the team for success for the next few years by dealing Pickard, but instead he chose to keep him and we all saw how that turned out.

I never would've thought it could happen, but I wouldn't be shocked if playoff hockey isn't at the ShoWare Center again this season.

Anonymous said...

Lockhart's stats. Just expect more from an overage player and captain

REGULAR SEASON
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS +/- PIM
2012-13 Regular Season Seattle Thunderbirds 42 14 11 25 -28 10
2011-12 Regular Season Seattle Thunderbirds 72 16 21 37 -37 33
2010-11 Regular Season Seattle Thunderbirds 71 21 27 48 -14 27
2009-10 Regular Season Seattle Thunderbirds 66 8 8 16 -22 33
2008-09 Regular Season Seattle Thunderbirds 62 5 10 15 -11 32
2007-08 Regular Season Seattle Thunderbirds 2 0 0 0 0 2
Total: 315 64 77 141 -112 137
PLAYOFFS
SEASON TEAM GP G A PTS +/- PIM
2009 WHL Playoffs Seattle Thunderbirds 5 0 1 1 -1 0
Total: 5 0 1 1 -1 0



Anonymous said...

-28 vs +4 is a no brainer Luke must have some of the same picturebeothers Sumner had

Anonymous said...

We went a Friday without a loss! Wait a second...we didn't play! Oh heck. I am celebrating!

Anonymous said...

there we go, that looks much better. at the very bottom of the division now. TBIRDS should be much more comfortable now back where they accustom to hanging out

Anonymous said...

This is rediculous already 13 Straight loses, soon to be 14 in Tri-City tonite, We have no goalie to steal a game, are Dfence are big and slow, and our forwards seem to of quit........Have I missed anything????? Oh and our GM said after making 2 minor moves at the trade deadline, the team is better than our record.... LOL

Anonymous said...

relegate this franchise to Junior B and change their name back to the Seattle Breakers...that is about where this mess fits right now.

Anonymous said...

Starting Russ Farwell fan club, meet above section 101 during games. Desperately need members. Agenda, boost my, I mean, Russ's ego even higher

Love, Russ

Anonymous said...

At what point does Coach K throw caution to the wind and start Mumaugh regularly? If nothing else the experience will be good for him going into next season and I don't think you are losing much (if anything) in not starting Glover.

Anonymous said...

So an official over officiates because he thinks a Seattle player made contact with the Tri goalie on a Seattle goal and thus waves off the goal. Goal would have tied the game at 3. According to the coach video shows no contact at all but the play is not subject to review, so the goal is disallowed. Great job WHL. Please continue to hire incompetent refs.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that had more to do with the loss than the lack of any heart or talent

Anonymous said...

This team has been missing Connor Honey in a big way. They seem to play with more urgency when he is out there. Any idea when he and Lipsbergs will be back?

Anonymous said...

I love these people.. 4th consecutive year of completely falling apart in January, 14 straight losses this season. Let's talk about a waved-off goal and the poor officating!! The officiating crews are much better at doing their job than the T-Bird players are at doing theirs. Just remember that.

Marc S said...

Watching all the home games, I wouldn't say the refs are better at their jobs than the players.

It sounded like the T-birds played fairly well last night, but they need to break through with a win at Everett.

I agree, I'd like to see the younger goalies get more time, is Glover really that far above and beyond their play with a GAA approaching 4?

Anonymous said...

Brutal!!!!!!!!! Seattle is not only losing non stop, but are losing with a older team, Russ has no idea how to rebuild a team, if your going to lose , lose with a younger team, You dreamers out their that think Gropp will sign when and If Barzal signs, shake your head, and this 14 game losing streak im sure is pumping up Barzal to sign......... Lmao.

Anonymous said...

haha we gotta hope Barzal will sign... 10 more points in 2 games this past weekend in the BC major midget league.... 80 points in 23 games so far this year haha.... Nugent-Hopkins finished with 87 points in 36 games at the same age in the same league!!

Anonymous said...

Older team? Are you nuts. Where are the older players on this team? They may not be the youngest team in the league but they are not old. And they rely heavily on the younger players on the roster. Every team has 3 20 year olds but the T-birds have only 4 19 yr olds and I wouldn't classify any of their 19 yr old forward as 1st or 2nd line material (Swenson, Sanvido, Elliot). 19 of their 25 players are 18 and under. 10 are 17 and under. 8 defensemen and 6 are 17 or younger, 4 are rookies. This is not an older team.

Anonymous said...

More importantly what can you get for Barzal's rights? If he wanted to play for this train wreck of an organization wouldn't he already have signed?

Anonymous said...

I think people who always point fingers at goaltending are forgetting several key points. With the team defense the way it is our goaltenders face more shots than anyone else on the league. These shots come in the form of high % scoring chances from very close in and are being shot by players with high skill levels. Sometimes the players shooting face very little if any challenge and therefore have that extra time to really place it where and when they like to. Having said that, we have goalies that are attempting to and actually keepIng us in most games, their job is to give us a chance to win. Difficult to win when we get single shots from far out with no screen in front and no chance at rebounds. The goalies aren't perfect but team defense is the issue. Glover has held together well under a 14 game losing streak, younger goalies are more likely to bust down mentally and going forward that is not the smartest position to place them in. Last time I checked we are a point behind 7th place and therefore still in the playoffs, if it were to end today. I would be more likely to agree in giving next years goalies a shot if we were out of the playoff picture.The fans who pay for tickets deserve the best we have on the ice each and every game. Too bad we were unable to trade for a solid, steady stay at home defenceman. They are at a premium and the price would have been high.

Anonymous said...

Where we have a lot of youth is on our defense and it shows. Teams can go on a slide like this and end up a better team on the other side if they don't self destruct. Getting Honey and Lipsbergs back can't come soon enough!

Anonymous said...

1000% agree, good and true post. Huge game in Everett Friday. If we turn it around then, the other side is near... Too bad it's the Cheatercaughts on Saturday night but what a thought and monumental game should we win ! Wishful thinking ...

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