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Clayton Keller Contract Really Unpopular

September 7, 2019, 12:37 PM ET [52 Comments]
James Tanner
Arizona Coyotes Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Arizona Coyotes sit in a weird spot on the NHL landscape.

Known, thanks to their GM's past job, as an "analytics" team, many old-school fans dismiss them.

But weirdly, so does the entire hockey amateur analytics community, who are extremely confused about how the Coyotes - who are outside the box on both analytics and traditional ways of doing things - ever got this reputation in the first place.

Micah Blake McCurdy is an extremely good source of information for hockey.

He thinks that Keller improving enough to make good on his contract would take "unprecedented" levels of improvement.

Personally, I think these guys overrate defense. Keller is a 65 point rookie. If he scores a point per game, which I do not think unreasonable, I think even with bad defense, he's probably worth the money.

To my mind, and where I break with the people who are smarter than me and whose opinions I respect immensely, is that goalie effects are so drastic that I think we overvalue defense.

A goalie is a superstar if he makes 93 saves out of every 100 shots. (Usually about three games)

He is struggling to stay in the NHL is he makes 90 saves our of every 100 shots.

Obviously defense matters but in over 90% of cases, a good defensive play is irrelevant because the goalie would have saved the puck regardless.

Scoring, however, doesn't have this problem built into it, and therefore it is not true that a goal stopped is equal to a goal scored.

And so, given the rarity of point per game players (as well as the dirt-cheap prices teams get to pay defensive players who don't score) I think that if Keller can become an 82 point player then his deal will be worth it.

I think people overrated defense in hockey by massive amounts. If you can score, you can play for my team (this is where you point out I don't, in fact, have a team).

Reading the response from my stats-loving friends, I think perhaps I underrated the risk involved in my previous article, but I still love the contract.

The cap will go up, Keller will score more and even if he never learns defense, I don't think it matters as much as others do.

Of course, I could be entirely wrong - there's a first time for everything.
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