Thursday, August 28, 2014

(Relatively) Simple math. 2014-15 Sabres team goal projections

Reprinted with permission from

As our good friend and fellow Sabres fan, dadeadhead, may attest to, tips in the restaurant/bar business eventually balance out.

For instance, as a bartender, he might get stiffed on a $20 tab with a tip of $2, then get $10 on a $50 tab and later on he might get someone plunking down $10 on a $30 tab.

Add it all up and dd, pulls in $22 on $100 in sales. That number comes in at just above 20% which is the benchmark for all good bartenders and servers.

Despite the stiff, in the long-run it all works out.

While trying to figure out where the goals will come from this season, and how many the Sabres team may end up with, I took the same balanced approach using simple figures and a steadfast base.

The numbers gathered were from a projected lineup of 12 forwards and 6 defensemen:
Matt Moulson, Tyler Ennis, Cody Hodgson, Brian Gionta, Drew Stafford, Chris Stewart, Zemgus Girgensons, Marcus Foligno, Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell, Cody McCormick, Johan Larsson; Tyler Myers, Josh Gorges, Andrej Meszaros, Andre Benoit, Mike Weber, Mark Pysyk.

For each player I used 82-games as a benchmark and broke it down into three columns: Goals scored in 2014, Goals/Season, and Goals/Season over the last three years.

Once again, this is based upon 82 games.

For instance, Chris Stewart scored 15 goals in 63 games last season, but projected out over an 82-game season his total is 20. (goals/games played*82)

Same with the other two columns.

Stewart has played in all, or parts, of six NHL seasons, scoring 115 goals but has only played in 382 games. His career goals per 82 games is 25. (goals/games played*82)

Over the last three years he has scored 48 goals in 190 games. Using the same formula (goals/games played*82) Stewart has scored 21 goals per 82 games over the course of the last three seasons.

Finally, to get a 2014-15 projection, I took an average of all three columns.

In Stewarts case it averaged out to a 22-goal projection for this season, something that's very reasonable.

Using that formula, the projection with those 18 players on the roster I laid out is a team total 204 goals on the season. Which would constitute a very optimistic, high-end number.

To balance things out, one must also recognize that the 2013-14 Buffalo Sabres team was historically bad. They scored a post-expansion era low of 150 goals last season.

Only an extreme cynic would believe that they would fall that low again.

But if you take my projected line-up and use last season's goal totals projected over the course of an 82-game season, that roster would project out at 188 goals. It's a difference of 38 goals over the actual total or about 20% more.

A 20% increase in goals is substantial, even for a team as bad as Buffalo was last season, but 188 is attainable as an adjusted high-end number.

Using the extremes of last years 150 goals scored by Buffalo and my projected 2014-15 team total of 204, the mean is 177, which constitutes the low end.

With a basis using (relatively) simple math and the "dadeadhead/boos balancing principle" (soon to be trademarked,) the projection for the number of goals scored by the Buffalo Sabres this year is between 177 and 188 goals.

Over the course of the last four seasons, the 29th place team in the goals-for department had 188, 186, 188 and 190, respectively, for an average of 188 goals.

So, even if the Buffalo Sabres have a substantial increase of 38 more goals this year than last, they'll still only reach as high as 28th in the league.

That's how bad this team was last season.

2014 Goals G/Season G/Season 3-Column
Career Last 3 yrs. average
Moulson 25 29 30 28
Ennis 22 21 22 21
Hodgson 23 21 22 22
Gionta 18 26 21 22
Stafford 19 22 18 19
Stewart 20 25 21 22
Girgensons 9 9 9 9
Foligno 8 11 11 10
Flynn 6 9 9 8
Mitchell 2 8 7 6
McCormick 4 4 2 4
Larsson 0 0 0 0
Myers 12 11 11 11
Gorges 1 2 2 2
Mezaros 11 8 9 9
Benoit 7 7 7 7
Weber 1 2 2 2
Pysyk 2 3 3 2
188 218 203 204
sabres team 150 161 161
sabres differential 20%  
22% 22%
Last 5 yrs NHL 29th place team goals for
2013-14 188 FLA T-26th
2012-13 186 FLA (82 gm projection) T-24th
2011-12 188 LAK T-26th
2010-11 190 OTT 27th
2009-10 201 CGY 29th

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