Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Adjusted Goal Scoring: Single Season

In sabremetrics and hockey one problem is to adjust scoring between different eras. The hockey outsider has a method that does this as well as any. It is not the only method. Similar methods are used by Darryl Shilling and Total Hockey.

All methods try to normalize away differences in games played, ice time and scoring rates in different eras of hockey. None are successful in removing the effect of quality of opposition, which is a significant factor that remains in the data.

One problem is to figure out the ten best single seasons in terms of adjusted goal scoring. Accoring to the hockey outsider method these are:

Top 10 Adjusted Goal Scoring Seasons of All Time
Name Team Year Games Played Adjusted Goals Actual Goals
Brett HullStL1990/91788286
Phil EspositoBos1970/71787776
Mario LemieuxPit1988/89767585
Wayne GretzkyEdm1983/84747387
Wayne GretzkyEdm1981/82807292
Mario LemieuxPit1995/96707169
Babe DyeTor1924/25297138
Pavel BureFla2000/2001826959
Pavel BureFla1999/2000746858
Phil EspositoBos1971/72766766

Only six different people appear in this table. Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Pavel Bure and Phil Esposito appear twice each. According to this statistic, Brett Hull had the best goal scoring year ever. The only other player appearing in this list is Babe Dye. Nobody in the original six era makes this top ten goal scoring list. Seven of the ten years occured within 3 years of an expansion year (the exceptions are Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux in 1989 and Wayne Gretzky in 1984). This shows the effect of decreased calibre of opposition. In a couple future articles, I will look deeply into why these results were produced and if any flaws can be fixed.

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