Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but one month after Patrick Roy’s abrupt resignation comes a report that the Colorado Avalanche have hired a couple of analytics experts.
OK, it’s probably not a coincidence.
From BSN Denver:
Earlier today, BSN Denver confirmed through various sources the organization has hired both Arik Parnass and Zac Urback.
The pair will report directly to Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland, whose influence in the front office seems to show more with every move the team makes. Both Parnass and Urback are well-known in the analytics community for their various works and the hirings signal an organizational shift away from the Patrick Roy-era. Roy was notoriously critical of analytics and despite the team dabbling in them during his tenure, did not fully embrace them until this summer, which might have helped set the table for the curious manner in which Roy departed.
Roy admitted following his resignation that there were only certain things about analytics with which he agreed.
“There’s parts that I like and there’s parts that I don’t agree with,” he said, per Michael Traikos of Postmedia.
In the past, Roy had railed against analytical measures like Corsi, which is simply a way to approximate puck possession via shot attempts.
“The part I don’t like about the Corsi,” Roy said last year, “is you could shoot from the redline, or you could shoot from a terrible angle and your Corsi will look good.”
The counter-argument is that there is a significant relationship between high Corsi teams and winning hockey teams. It isn’t a perfect relationship, but nobody ever said it was. By and large, the analytics community has been right about the Avs.
The hiring of Parnass was originally reported by Garret Hohl of Jets Nation.