Sorry hockey writers far and wide, but the Anaheim Ducks lost in the first round to Nashville, thrashing your prognostications the Ducks would win the cup this year. Regardless of final regular season standings, the only thing surprising about this outcome to us was that Nashville did not win it in fewer than seven games. This is because, based on both our research and proprietary metric, the Advanced Bracton score, Nashville minimized mistakes far better than Anaheim throughout the season. In fact we strongly suggest that Nashville would have triumphed last week had it not been roughly 4-5% in power play efficiency in the seven game series.
Why is this the case? It is because we calculated that Anaheim was roughly a -40 AB this season, which resulted in costing them over 67 goals at the margin. This was the second worst in the NHL and last in the western conference. What do we mean goals at the margin? This is the accumulation of Advanced Bracton scores adjusted for time on ice of the individual players. In other words, the propensity of Anaheim to make mistakes that result in goals for the opponent was unequaled in the Western Conference. For this reason alone, we were shocked that they even made the playoffs. We admit there must be some intangible that we do not currently measure that resulted in their success the past two regular seasons but we are at a loss as to what that may be. ANA remains an egregious outlier according to our work; juxtaposed against every other team in the league (except Columbus), they have been dreadful at costing their own team goals.
So, as part of an ongoing column, what follows is a list of players that are part of the solution (meaning keepers) as well as those who are part of the problem (meaning divest of them, hurry, preferably in your own division, like VAN did to ANA with Kevin Bieksa last offseason).
Therefore, the “solutions” are as follows – these are players in the upper reaches of the NHL with respect to AB score – ANA only has two – Richard Rakell, who produced 11.92 goals at the margin and Ryan Kesler who generated 4.15. Relative to other teams, there is not enough heft at the top of the production chart to compensate for ANA players who are part of the problem. These include:
Cam Fowler (-5.29), Chris Stewart (-6.24), David Perron (-10.92), Andrew Cogliano (-7.38), Nate Thompson(-8.24), Kevin Bieksa (told you so, -9.09), Clayton Stoner (-11.85) and Shawn Horcoff (-17.84, one of the top 5 the worst AB in the NHL). There has not been a team with this many players whose propensity to make mistakes is so pronounced, to have made the playoffs in the past three seasons….except ANA. It drives us crazy.
Bottom line; ANA has more problems than solutions; they were exposed in this series; save for a dismal power play by NSH, this series would not have come close to seven games. ANA has a lot of work to do in this offseason and shedding themselves, by either trade or attrition of the players mentioned above, may give them a better chance for advancement in the playoffs next season.