Sunday, November 19, 2006

Freshman Impact in the WCHA

Every year before the season starts there is a running internet argument (amongst those who think they know such things) about which team's incoming class is the best. This year was no different. I'm not going to link anyone or reference the conclusions that all those preseason mavens made. Instead, I crawled around inside the statistics. The season is about 25 percent complete. Statistics are starting to be more revealing. I've broken down Freshman scoring totals in this way: take the number of games freshman have played vs. the number of points they've scored and you get a sort of "batting average".
1. St. Cloud
.674 average (43games - 29points)
2. Minnesota
.651 average (86games - 56points)
3. UAA
.580 average (50games - 29points)
4. Denver
.470 average (67games - 32points)
5. CC
.354 average (62games - 22points)
6. MSU-M
.346 average (75games - 26points)
7. MTU
.333 average (27games - 9points)
8. UMD
.309 average (42games - 13points)
9. UND
.307 average (39games - 12points)
10. Wisconsin
.277 average (83games - 23points)
All pretty interesting. While there is little argument among those "in the know" that the WCHA is an upperclassmen's league; I think this analysis reveals a surprising impact that freshman can have. 4 of the top 5 teams in that analysis also happen to be in the top 5 of the current league standings. Again ... it's only 25 percent through the season. These numbers will be more interesting to look at later in the year.


Anonymous said...

Good job, very interesting stats. Leave it to you to figure that stuff out!


Runninwiththedogs said...

What about percentage of scoring by freshmen vs. the rest of the team?

Donald said...

Um ... that would be a different stat that somebody could figure out and post on their blog. ;-)

Anonymous said...

How many Freshman on each club?

Donald said...

The number of freshman on each team is obviously variable which is why I eliminated that factor from the equation by just counting freshman "games" and counting the total "points" they'd scored then dividing one by the other for an accurate assessment of the contribution for each "freshman class".

Anonymous said...

clark, lunden and crowder have been great for the seawolves so far. i love watching the clark-beagle-lunden line this weekend.

Anonymous said...

One issue I could see with this system of judgment is stats only measure offensive impact and ignore everything else. Offensive numbers are mainly generated by forwards. As we all know, there are other areas to the game than that.

Another issue is that if you have a recruiting class with freshman defensemen that get a lot of playing time, chances are they will drag down the scoring average more than a team that doesn't field as many freshman defensemen. Defenseman naturally don't score as much and if you have a team with half as many games played by freshmen defensemen as compared to other teams, the numbers will be skewed in the comparison.

Donald said...

I completely agree. It would just be a sort of measuring stick that is really just useful for a general comparison.

In terms of defenseman ... the people that hand out accollades (league officials or media etc) or otherwise "judge" a defenseman ALWAYS seem to focus on the kids offensive numbers. I suppose because scoring is about the only measurable way of making any sort of determination in a statistical sense.

No method of measuring players by "statistics" is anywhere near perfect ... what occurred to me to post here is equally not perfect.

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