The NHL is overhauling its website to include modern possession-based metrics such as Corsi, Fenwick, and PDO.
Following the announcement that NHL.com was set to add ‘fancy stats’ to its repertoire, proponents of the numbers were quick to ask whether or not these stats would be permissible in arbitration cases. Elliotte Friedman answered that question during this week’s “Headlines” segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
Corsi, Fenwick, PDO, and whatever other numbers the league implements in its revamped stats section will be allowed to be used in negotiations during arbitration.
Now, in order to see how advanced stats influence a player’s value in arbitration we’re going to have to see some cases actually reach the hearing date.
Twenty-three players had cases settled prior to the start of the 2014-15 season, with most reaching a deal in advance of the hearing date. One of the summer's most notable arbitration cases was that of Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban. Subban and the Canadiens reached a deal after the August 1 hearing, but prior to when the ruling came down.
Under the current collective bargaining agreement, involved parties were permitted to use the following as evidence in hearings:
(A) the overall performance, including National Hockey League official statistics (both offensive and defensive), of the Player in the previous season or seasons;
(B) the number of games played by the Player, his injuries or illnesses during the preceding seasons;
(C) the length of service of the Player in the League and/or with the Club;
(D) the overall contribution of the Player to the competitive success or failure of his Club in the preceding season;
(E) any special qualities of leadership or public appeal not inconsistent with the fulfillment of his responsibilities as a playing member of his team;
(F) the overall performance in the previous season or seasons of any Player(s) who is alleged to be comparable to the party Player whose salary is in dispute; and
(G) The compensation of any Player(s) who is alleged to be comparable to the party Player, provided, however, that in applying this or any of the above subparagraphs, the Salary Arbitrator shall not consider a Player(s) to be comparable to the party Player unless a party to the salary arbitration has contended that the Player(s) is comparable; nor shall the Salary Arbitrator consider the compensation or performance of a Player(s) unless a party to the salary arbitration has contended that the Player(s) is comparable.
Although possession numbers were tracked independently and readily available, they did not fall under the league's "official statistics" umbrella.
So players known throughout the analytics community for 'driving play' could receive a boost in negotiations from this change. Likewise, players who expect to reap the benefits of an inflated shooting percentage could be knocked down a peg if the underlying data tells a different story than an uptick in the goal column.
It's official, the numbers are here to stay.