Last week, it was revealed that the Pittsburgh Penguins relied heavily on analytics in deciding to acquire forward James Neal in a trade two years ago.
Given the dividends the trade has paid — Neal is currently fifth in the NHL with 17 goals — the Pens were obviously pleased with what their proprietary numbers told them.
So pleased were that they director of player personnel Dan MacKinnon recently said, “I don’t think we’ve made an impact decision since then without consulting the analytics.”
But general manager Ray Shero didn’t read off a bunch of stats today when asked about his two most recent acquisitions, forward Brenden Morrow from Dallas and defenseman Douglas Murray from San Jose.
“Analytics doesn’t come in to this for me,” said Shero, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “You can’t measure the heart, the character, the fit on your team you’re looking for.”
Neither trade has been particularly well-received by the burgeoning advanced statistics community. Morrow and Murray are both veterans with plenty of postseason experience, but both have seen their roles reduced in recent seasons.
Can Morrow rediscover the form that made him one of Team Canada’s unsung heroes at the 2010 Olympics?
Can Murray provide the big, physical presence Shero says he was looking for?
Or, should Shero have checked the numbers first?