Even as advanced statistics become more prevalent in hockey, it’s still rare to see them used in mainstream media, outside of some outliers like James Mirtle with the Globe and Mail. The doldrums of August can lead a hockey reporter off the beaten path in search of a story, however, and Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe turned to advanced statistics for a story on Sunday, interviewing Michael Schuckers, a statistics professor who does hockey analysis.
Shinzawa clearly asked Shuckers what was the oddest or most confusing free agent signing of the off-season according to his statistical analysis, which is a reasonable question to ask when looking for a story. What was odd was the answer. Shuckers skipped right past the usual punching bags from the past few months and went with Rob Scuderi, who returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins this off-season on a four-year deal.
According to Shuckers, his signing is “the one that sticks out to me this year” as the statistics show that Scuderi is “well past his prime” and not worth what the Penguins are paying him. But is that really the case?