Given Carolina’s sudden transition to become a team based of analytics and advanced stats, what is the reason the team has decided to put their faith in microstats?
For those of you that don’t know, the Carolina Hurricanes have become absolute analytical favorites. They are among the best in terms of most analytics and advanced stats including but not limited to:
Corsi differential (For those that don’t know, Corsi is the amount of shot attempts taken in a game)
x_GF (expected goals for, this is usually based off of the quality of the shots the team gets combined with the amount of shots)
X_GA/60 (expected goals against per 60 minutes, this is the amount of goals any team would be expected to give up in a regular game, but Carolina seem to love overtime so far this season)
X_GF/60 (expected goals for per 60 minutes, this is the amount of goals any team would be expected to score in a game)
With the sudden upturn in the analytical flavor in the Carolina’s bunch of jerks? In the 2014-15 offseason, Carolina picked up a former nanotechnologiest that went by the name of Eric Tulsky. He had been a huge follower of analytics, and had become familiar with even the most advanced analytics, all to get a better feel for what was actually happenening on the ice.
While there is a major debate whether analytics are being overused in the hockey world, there is little denying that when Carolina picked up a little known scientist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it changed the fate of our franchise for the better. Some of the moves made in recent memory have the mind of Tulsky written all over them.
Let’s start off by looking at the Dougie Hamilton acquisition. It was no secret in the analytics community that Dougie had been a big time player in term of microstats. He was one of the faces of the advanced stats movement, long before he was visiting museums and long before he was a part of the Carolina Hurricanes organisation. This entire move seemed like something Tulsky would have asked to make happen.
Other moves that have the look of a Tulsky trade in recent memory, the Jake Gardiner signing. Gardiner has better advanced stats than almost every defenceman in the NHL, he’s another of the analytical darlings. When Carolina signed the 29 year old UFA this offseason, it was almost definite that they would move one of their other D men who wasn’t so great analytically.
Justin Faulk was a man of many talents in his time in Carolina, he divided opinion. However, there is no denying from an analytical standpoint, his game was always overstretched and just seemed unsustainable. Defensively, he was below par for a top four defenceman in terms of the advanced stats. This was another move that has the scent of Eric Tulsky.
Now, the rumour for what Faulk was going to be traded for is what shows me personally that Eric Tulsky plays a much bigger part in the Canes organisation than he is credited with. Ondrej Kase to most people isn’t a big name guy, he’s a 23 year old Czech winger who’s had a lot of concussion issues, but his advanced stats are among the best in the league. He’s one of the top 5 wingers in terms of microstats over his career.
With this all said and to keep in mind that Eric Tulsky is still a member of the Carolina Hurricanes front office (and how grateful we all are for that), so I suspect there will be more cases of this soon enough, and I think that we’ll see more of Tulsky’s great work.