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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trade Deadline Report Card, Part 1

Back before March 4th, On Goal Analysis offered the opinion that the trade deadline came too late NORMALLY each season, and that this year’s extension into March would make movement of players even less relevant for this season. Is this a correct or incorrect statement?
OGA has kept an eye on the 48 players that moved at the Trade Deadline (T.D.) through the first five games with their new team. To determine whether our statement is valid or not, we have done a simple comparison of a traded player’s contribution to his new team in terms of: goals scored; assists earned; fight participation (for its potential momentum changes in games); games won by a goalie; and/or games lost by a goalie. So how did the League as a whole fair, and what contribution did individual teams receive for their T.D. efforts?


We cannot assess the claims above without providing you some statistics. For the sake of transparency, we must also say that this is a one-season study.

There were 48 Player moves which occurred on T.D. Day. From this pool of evaluees, there were a total of 17.385 players who did not play in available games. (The “.385” represents a portion of the potential five games not played by a player. An example is BOSTON’s STEVE MONTADOR only playing four-of-five games, making him a “.8 Player” for the evaluated timeframe.) These ‘DNP’ Players include the likes of ATLANTA’s ERIC O’DELL, a 17-year old prospect playing for the SUDBURY WOLVES where he has scored 46 points in his first 26 games with that club. His trade value to the THRASHERS is obviously as a future, potential starter with the club.

From these 48 players, there were a possible 240 games where any of the five actions stated above could have taken place. Based on the DNP’s above, 99 total games were ‘lost,’ leaving 141 ‘ACTIVE’ games’ statistics to pour over. The five activities fell out like this:

24 Goals
36 Assists
4 Fights
2 (Goalie) Wins
2 (Goalie) Losses

This can be interpreted in one of four ways:

1. Average Events For ALL Players = 1.42
2. Events For ALL Players/For ALL Possible Games Played = 0.284
3. Average Events Per ACTIVE Player = 2.22
4. Events Per ACTIVE Player/Per Game Played = 0.482

How do these averages stack up? If you look at PITTSBURGH’s EVGENI MALKIN, he has been a part of 102 of the event types listed above over 71 games. This gives him an event per game average of 1.42, almost one entire event more on average than those traded at the deadline.


Those last, four statistics seem to indicate teams are not getting much bang for their buck when measured against our five possible events. Who IS getting value for their efforts?

There are two ways to look at team value for their trades in this comparison. First is overall value, and second is per Player value.

In terms of overall value, here is how teams have fared so far:

PHOENIX – (4G, 9A, 2 Fights) +15
ANAHEIM – (2G, 4A) +6
CALGARY – (6G) +6
CAROLINA – (1G, 5A) +6
COLUMBUS – (2G, 4A) +6
NY RANGERS – (2G, 3A) +5
PHILADELPHIA – (3A, 2 Fights) +5
PITTSBURGH – (1G, 4A) +5
TORONTO – (2 Wins, 2 Losses) +4
TAMPA BAY – (3A) +3
BOSTON – (2G) +2
EDMONTON – (1G, 1A) +2
SAN JOSE – (1G, 1A) +2
DALLAS – (1G) +1

In the analysis above, PHOENIX seems to be running away with the race to prove their trade value contrary to the initial outcry from fans thinking they were giving away the team. Indeed, there is not one game in their first five that at least one T.D. Player has failed to make an impact in one of our five categories.

But also in PHOENIX’s case, the numbers come from the combined efforts of six Players. So perhaps a better way to look at it is the average value per active player:

CAROLINA – (1 Player) +6
COLUMBUS – (1 Player) +6
PHILADELPHIA – (1 Player) +5
PITTSBURGH – (1 Player) +5
TORONTO – (1 Goalie) +4
CALGARY – (3 Players) +3
NY RANGERS – (2 Players) +2.5
SAN JOSE – (.8 of a Player) +2.5
PHOENIX – (6.4 Players) +2.34
ANAHEIM – (3 Players) +2
TAMPA BAY – (2.6 Players) +1.15
BOSTON – (1.8 Players) +1.11
DALLAS – (1 Player) +1
EDMONTON – (2 Players) +1
COLORADO – (.4 of a Player) 0
FLORIDA – (1 Player) 0
BUFFALO – (1.2 Players) 0

In this case, PHOENIX drops from number 1 to number 9. But COYOTES fans should not get down on management – the average value per active player could be much lower given the number of Players we are talking about here. And of the six T.D. Players we are speaking of, four of them have contributed at least three of the events we are assessing. (Nice job out in the desert!)


There are six Players/teams of note as you can see from the average value per active player above:

CAROLINA’s reacquisition of ERIK COLE paid immediate dividends when he provided 1 goal and 5 assists in the first three games after the T.D. COLE’s goal was the third in a 3:31 span of the first period in his first game back, and four of his five assists came in Game 2’s 9-to-3 defeat of TAMPA BAY. All three games in which he contributed with an ‘event’ were HURRICANE victories.

ANTOINE VERMETTE has had 3 goals and 3 assists since arriving in COLUMBUS spread out over four of the first five games. While his first game as a ‘JACKET was a loss, the others in which he contributed were all victories.

DANNY CARCILLO is the horsepower behind PHILADELPHIA’s ranking. He provided a total of 3 assists in Games 2 and 5, and fought in both Games 2 and 3. In all three of those games, PHILLY won. Conversely, Games 1 and 4 in which he did not contribute an event, the FLYERS lost.

PITTSBURGH’s +5 is all BILL GUERIN. He came right in and was put on a line with SIDNEY CROSBY, scoring 1 goal and four assists in the his first three games as a PENGUIN. As with CARCILLO to his east, the two games in which he was absent from the score sheet were losses for the PENS, although they were both ‘1-Pointers’ (a Shootout).

Of the 30 potential games in which T.D. goaltenders could have played, only five were. MIKAEL TELLQVIST spelled PATRICK LALIME for a BUFFALO loss in the third game following the deadline. But TORONTO’s MARTIN GERBER evenly split the first four games after the T.D. between wins and losses.

Finally, CALGARY’s OLLI JOKINEN came right in and was placed on the top line with JEROME IGINLA and MICHAEL CAMMALLERI in Game 1. He promptly netted 2 goals, including the game winner. He scored a total of 3 more goals in Games 4 and 5 including the un-counted Shootout winner against DETROIT in Game 5. Not added in here are the five points he scored in Game 6, a losing effort in TORONTO, but a game in which he personally was involved in 83% of all FLAMES’ scoring. Many have said, and it is hard to argue, that JOKINEN is the best catch of the T.D.


As is always the case, some teams are getting value, some are possibly going to in the future, and some have yet to reap any rewards in terms of T.D. Player performance.

Is OGA’s claim that the T.D. comes too late to really help teams correct or not? For 36.4% of the 22 teams acting on that day, play through Game 5 as assessed indicates OGA is right on the money since they have no events from their new Players on the stat sheet. It is hard to argue with the fact that for all ACTIVE Players, the average contribution is less than one-half of one event per game. And when viewed in terms of average value per active player, all but four teams fail to receive an average positive value of at least one contribution per game played from any of the T.D. Players they secured.

These may not be YOUR measurements of Player impact after the T.D., and as always, you are cordially invited to get into the crease and call us out for our analysis. We won’t end it here, but you won’t get the final report card until after the Playoffs where we can judge overall effort per game with more data to pull from.

From the desk of The Colonel, as always, there will be more to follow…

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