I preface this by stating that the hard work was done many years prior to penning this post by the guys at Behind The Net and Hockey Prospectus. I also directly leverage some additional work performed by Glen Miller of SNYRangersBlog.com. All credit goes to them. The stat I created was simply an easier way for me to judge a player’s worth in terms of goals, points, and wins.
This is a stat I created about a month ago, and posted it on my blog. It is very Rangers-focused, as I am a Rangers blogger, but the theory and the formula (simple formula) is universal.
Since I started reading River Ave Blues (a Yankees blog that relies heavily on metrics) many years ago, I started to "distance" myself from counting stats (goals, assists, etc) and tried to learn metrics to better quantify a player’s real worth to a team. However, as readily available as metrics were to baseball fans, it was equally unavailable to hockey fans. The guys at Behind The Net have done a great job at keeping track of a lot of advanced stats like GVT (Goals Versus Threshold), which was created by the guys at Hockey Prospectus, but it has been tough to really combine everything into one stat, like WAR in baseball, to really give you an idea about how useful a player is.
Then along comes Glen Miller of SNY Rangers Blog, who took GVT to a whole new level, and made it into a quantifiable statistic that we can use to see how many wins a player really brings to a team. First, Miller does a great job at truly defining GVT (here), and gives readers a way to really compare it to the Rangers:
…GVT…represents a player’s value above a "replacement" or "threshold" player in a term (runs for baseball or goals for hockey) fans are familiar with. A "threshold" or "replacement level" player would be defined as the top AHL/minor league player in the organization or the highest ranking free agent on the market in-season (not a prospect) and carries a GVT or RAR value of zero. Basically the guy a club would go get in the event one of their regular players went down to injury or something to that effect. For Rangers fans think Chad Kolarik, Andre Deveaux or Kris Newbury.
In essence, you really find out a player’s worth to a team when he is replaced by someone like Newbury or Kolarik (like we saw last year with the Rangers when injuries took their toll). Miller then takes the GVT of each Ranger from last year (courtesy of the guys at BTN), and with the assistance of Tom Awad (hockey metrics guru), created what he is calling Wins Above Threshold, or WAT.
Taking Miller’s work –with Awad’s help– a step (very simple step) further. Calculating wins in the standings is great, but sometimes I get the feeling that points could be better, considering the "loser" point that teams get. Following up on Awad’s comment to Miller that 6 goals = 1 win, and 3 goals = 1 point, I am just going to use that information to create Points Versus Threshold, or PVT. PVT gives you the number of points in the standings that a player is worth when compared to a replacement player.
Just a note, you can also use these numbers and compare them to any other player on last year’s New York Rangers roster to see the difference. For example, subtracting Erik Christensen’s PVT (or WAT) from Brad Richards PVT (or WAT), and you get the difference in points or wins that the addition of Richards should bring to the Rangers for this season.
I’m going to follow that up by saying this really isn’t my work, it’s combining what Miller and Awad did already into something that I personally find to be a little easier to track. Hockey is based on points, not wins (see: shootout loss/loser point), so points may be a little bit easier to judge.
Essentially WAT is just GVT/6, where 6 is the number of goals equivalent to a win in the standings, and PVT is GVT/3, where 3 is the number of goals equivalent to one point in the standings. If the "loser point" continues to be a factor in the NHL, quantifying the number of points a player can bring to the roster will go a long way to building a successful team.
I want to end this post by again thanking Glen Miller, Tom Awad, and the guys at both BTN and Hockey Prospectus. This metric I made here is a product of their hard work and dedication to creating metrics for hockey.
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