Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time On Ice: Guessing At Carlyle's Favourites

If you ask your average advanced stat guy what's the single best metric for judging a player's talent relative to the rest of his teammates, most will say time on ice.  You see, contrary to popular belief, most of us don't think NHL coaches are stupid or can't judge talent or any of the things that we're often accused of.  Sure, we point out perceived mistakes when we see them but that doesn't mean we think coaches are inept -- just fallible.

Randy Carlyle falls prey to these critiques more often than most.  Part of it is because the Leafs do so poorly in a lot of the advanced stat metrics that proponents of the discipline have shown correlate very closely to success and the other part comes with the territory.  Leafs fans, you see, are a critical and jaded bunch.

For a lot of last season, I found myself infuriated with Carlyle's player selection.  In my view, Franson, Grabovski, and Kadri weren't getting nearly enough icetime while Bozak was getting far too much.  Add to this the Jake Gardiner demotion and I had ample fodder for my critiques.

Given that three of these underused assets were young, I wondered if Carlyle had an anti-youth bias.  Having given Carlyle the lockout shortened season to figure things out with this roster, I thought I'd have a look at who he's using to start this year and, crucially, in what situations to see if his own assessment of players is closer or further to my own this season.