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Sunny Mehta hired by Devils as Director of Analytics


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#21 thefiestygoat

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 06:24 PM

I'm pretty sure Vishal Hussain's tweet is just meant to be a joke.


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#22 MadDog2020

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 06:54 PM

Tom Gulitti ‏@TGfireandice:

Lamoriello said Devils have always looked at analytics/advanced stats. "It's just now it's the buzz word."

Tom Gulitti ‏@TGfireandice:

Lou Lamoriello said Devils are in process of putting analytics department together, but haven't hired anyone yet.
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#23 nessus

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:25 PM

Should have hired you....

I was about to say: hopefully Triumph's real name is Sunny Mehta


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#24 Jas0nMacIsaac

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 09:59 PM

Just at sea and only now had a chance to look at this. I hope they also use his opinion on scouting as well.


Edited by Jas0nMacIsaac, 19 June 2014 - 09:59 PM.

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#25 devilsrule33

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:02 PM

Well something was bugging me when Lou confirmed that Mehta was hired to run the analytics department, and it bugged me again while reading James Mirtle's article on the Oiler's hiring of former blogger Tyler Dellow.

 

Here is what Dallas Eakins says about Dellow:

 

 

“I heard through the grapevine [during the year] he was being highly critical of our team,” Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins said on Tuesday.

“That didn’t bother me. I’m like, ‘How can he not be highly critical of our team? We’re in 28th place.’ So of course he was.”

 

“A coach’s job is not to sit there and say, ‘I already know it all. I don’t need anybody else’s opinion.’ I want to hear everybody’s opinion. Then it’s my job to make that final decision. I’ll listen to [new assistant coaches] Craig Ramsay and Keith Acton and Rocky Thompson and Craig MacTavish. And we’re going to listen to Tyler Dellow, too. He’s going to have a voice in our room on certain matters.

http://www.theglobea...1&click=dlvr.it

 

While this is what Lou said to Gulitti:

 

 

Lamoriello said the coaches will not directly receive the raw data that Mehta’s department collects. Instead, Lamoriello will pass along whatever he feels might be helpful to the coaches from that data. It will work similarly with the scouting and player development departments with Lamoriello serving as the intermediary.

“The coaches will worry about and do what they do,” Lamoriello said. “There will not be overlapping situations in different departments: Not in scouting, not in coaching, not in (player) development and it will not be in statistics. It’s my responsibility to bring in what trends or anything (that can help) so people can just focus on what they’re doing. They are totally separate situations, but will all intertwine at one time or another.”

- See more at: http://fireandice.no...h.nn7vosoA.dpuf

 

In one situation you have a coach that was active in the hiring of this person, while in the other you have owners that may have forced (certainly encouraged) a department for analytics. In one situation you have a coach ready to use this person frequently and seek out advice, while in the other you have a GM that is overseeing the data that the coach receives and may or may not share everything with a coach.

 

I don't like that at all. We know Lou is very hands on, but I think the Edmonton situation is a lot better. At least we know their coach wants his opinion and beliefs challenged. Maybe Pete does too, but he'll have to go through Lou first.


Edited by devilsrule33, 12 August 2014 - 09:17 PM.

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#26 Daniel

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 10:32 PM

Well something was bugging me when Lou confirmed that Mehta was hired to run the analytics department, and it bugged me again while reading James Mirtle's article on the Oiler's hiring of former blogger Tyler Dellow.

Here is what Dallas Eakins says about Dellow:

http://www.theglobea...1&click=dlvr.it

While this is what Lou said to Gulitti:


In one situation you have a coach that was active in the hiring of this person, while in the other you have owners that may have forced (certainly encouraged) a department for analytics. In one situation you have a coach ready to use this person frequently and seek out advice, while in the other you have a GM that is overseeing the data that the coach receives and may or may not share everything with a coach.

I don't like that at all. We know Lou is very hands on, but I think the Edmonton situation is a lot better. At least we know their coach wants his opinion and beliefs challenged. Maybe Pete does too, but he'll have to go through Lou first.


Dude, you really need to lay off caffeine. Basically, you're bullish on an organization that has been the epitome of futility and incompetence for the past decade because the coach says he wants to listen to an analytics guy. On the other, you have the one of the most successful GMs to ever be part of the game, that is just saying that he's not going to have someone who for all we know has never put on ice skates in his entire life tell the coach what to do, but will use his imput accordingly. I mean, it might have been one thing if people were right about Lou giving Marty another year or two, and making Schneider disgruntled, but, of course that never came to pass.

Analytics appears to be a nice thing, and it's certainly an improvement over some of the old fuddy duddies (which Lou never has been). But it's just a little bit strange that within the course of a summer, it seems that some folks believe you're destined to win the Cup if you do everything an analytics person says, while you'll be a bottom feeder forever if you essentially don't cede control of the team to him. The teams that have won the past three Cups have done so on being in the right place at the right time with top ten draft picks, a luxury Lou has had once in the past 20 years, not because of their analytics departments.
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#27 devilsrule33

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 10:53 PM

Dude, you really need to lay off caffeine. Basically, you're bullish on an organization that has been the epitome of futility and incompetence for the past decade because the coach says he wants to listen to an analytics guy. On the other, you have the one of the most successful GMs to ever be part of the game, that is just saying that he's not going to have someone who for all we know has never put on ice skates in his entire life tell the coach what to do, but will use his imput accordingly. I mean, it might have been one thing if people were right about Lou giving Marty another year or two, and making Schneider disgruntled, but, of course that never came to pass.

Analytics appears to be a nice thing, and it's certainly an improvement over some of the old fuddy duddies (which Lou never has been). But it's just a little bit strange that within the course of a summer, it seems that some folks believe you're destined to win the Cup if you do everything an analytics person says, while you'll be a bottom feeder forever if you essentially don't cede control of the team to him. The teams that have won the past three Cups have done so on being in the right place at the right time with top ten draft picks, a luxury Lou has had once in the past 20 years, not because of their analytics departments.

 

All I am saying is I like Eakins approach. I understand what Lou is thinking, but his approach might need some changing. If Deboer wants to go over certain things with Sunny and get some numbers from him, that would be great as well. Right now I'm not sold that Lou has fully embraced this movement. That's all. I think incorporating analytics is best if the coach is heavily involved. It isn't about someone who "has never put on ice skates in his entire life tell the coach what to do", but rather a coach looking at players and situations from a different angle and getting that information."

 

Dude, we can debate the fuddy-duddy comment. There is definitely a good argument that Lou is that. We aren't talking winning the Stanley Cup right now either for this team, but how about just improving and getting back to being a playoff team. That's what the Devils should be looking to do. That's what Edmonton is trying to do and same with the Leafs. That's a nice start.


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#28 Triumph

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 12:24 AM

All I am saying is I like Eakins approach. I understand what Lou is thinking, but his approach might need some changing. If Deboer wants to go over certain things with Sunny and get some numbers from him, that would be great as well. Right now I'm not sold that Lou has fully embraced this movement. That's all. I think incorporating analytics is best if the coach is heavily involved. It isn't about someone who "has never put on ice skates in his entire life tell the coach what to do", but rather a coach looking at players and situations from a different angle and getting that information."

 

Dude, we can debate the fuddy-duddy comment. There is definitely a good argument that Lou is that. We aren't talking winning the Stanley Cup right now either for this team, but how about just improving and getting back to being a playoff team. That's what the Devils should be looking to do. That's what Edmonton is trying to do and same with the Leafs. That's a nice start.

 

I don't agree, but only because Mehta and Dellow do totally different things.  Tyler's site has since vanished into the ether, but basically over the last year the biggest thing he did was marry video analysis to statistical analysis.  He'd look at certain data, then try to figure out from video why the numbers were as they were.  That's stuff that a coach can use.  Mehta's a quant - he's a guy who's worked with poker and finance, and he's much more of a numbers-only sort of guy.  That's not to say that the Devils' analytics department won't do video analysis, but Dellow is very specifically not a quant guy - he's an intelligent person who understands how randomness functions, but I don't think you'd hire him on that basis alone.  His video work was the real gem, and that work was more for coaches than GMs.


Edited by Triumph, 13 August 2014 - 12:25 AM.

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#29 Marshall

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 03:09 AM

I don't mind the information going through Lou. Heck, it might plant the seed in his mind regarding who is a useful player and who isn't, which might affect him in trades and FA.


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#30 Daniel

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:08 AM

All I am saying is I like Eakins approach. I understand what Lou is thinking, but his approach might need some changing. If Deboer wants to go over certain things with Sunny and get some numbers from him, that would be great as well. Right now I'm not sold that Lou has fully embraced this movement. That's all. I think incorporating analytics is best if the coach is heavily involved. It isn't about someone who "has never put on ice skates in his entire life tell the coach what to do", but rather a coach looking at players and situations from a different angle and getting that information."

Dude, we can debate the fuddy-duddy comment. There is definitely a good argument that Lou is that. We aren't talking winning the Stanley Cup right now either for this team, but how about just improving and getting back to being a playoff team. That's what the Devils should be looking to do. That's what Edmonton is trying to do and same with the Leafs. That's a nice start.


The irony of course is that what DeBoer ends up getting out of his team is high possession numbers, something virtually every analytics person will tell you to look for and try to maximize.
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#31 Colorado Rockies 1976

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:28 AM

The irony of course is that what DeBoer ends up getting out of his team is high possession numbers, something virtually every analytics person will tell you to look for and try to maximize.

 

Three things can kill the advantage of high possession numbers, as we've seen:

 

1) Not creating or finishing off the opportunities that those numbers should lead to.

2) Getting nearly 2300 minutes of .901 save% goaltending (2013-14) and a full season of sub-.900 puck-stopping (2013). 

3) Losing every single shootout (2013-2014) or too many of them (2013). 

 

I expect a mild improvement in #1, a significant one in #2, and as for #3...it can only get better, though probably not insanely so...if the Devils win 30-40% of their shootouts next season, I'll happily take it


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#32 Daniel

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 07:44 AM

Three things can kill the advantage of high possession numbers, as we've seen:

1) Not creating or finishing off the opportunities that those numbers should lead to.
2) Getting nearly 2300 minutes of .901 save% goaltending (2013-14) and a full season of sub-.900 puck-stopping (2013).
3) Losing every single shootout (2013-2014) or too many of them (2013).

I expect a mild improvement in #1, a significant one in #2, and as for #3...it can only get better, though probably not insanely so...if the Devils win 30-40% of their shootouts next season, I'll happily take it


1. I believe they'll tell you there's no phenomenon of "finishing" better than others, except for a few special players like Stamkos.

2. Not an issue anymore, and it was a unique situation while it lasted.

3. Will also tell you coach and GM has no control over it other than to do the obvious and not have Salvador be in your top 3.

DeBoer's big issue was giving too many starts to Marty, but again it isn't relevant anymore and Marty is the only one that would get away with it.

So again, the analytics people ought to be saying that DeBoer is doing what he should. Not sure if you're really disagree teeing with that though.
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#33 Colorado Rockies 1976

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 08:09 AM

1. I believe they'll tell you there's no phenomenon of "finishing" better than others, except for a few special players like Stamkos.

2. Not an issue anymore, and it was a unique situation while it lasted.

3. Will also tell you coach and GM has no control over it other than to do the obvious and not have Salvador be in your top 3.

DeBoer's big issue was giving too many starts to Marty, but again it isn't relevant anymore and Marty is the only one that would get away with it.

So again, the analytics people ought to be saying that DeBoer is doing what he should. Not sure if you're really disagreeing with that though.

 

Re:  the bolded...I'm not.  Like I said, #2 will improve significantly.  The goaltending will be much better now that a large chunk of the minutes won't be played at near-bottom level. 

 

Re:  #1, Lou did what he could to improve the offense.  If the Devils finish somewhere in around 20th in GF, I'll take it.  Last year they were 27th. 

 

Re:  #3, I've been over the shootout thing before...it's one of those things a GM can't really do much to improve on, you just hope your goalie and some of your skaters happen to be good in them. 

 

Basically, if the Devils keep it up with the strong possession numbers, they should make the playoffs...#2 is probably enough to get them there by itself.


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Even when Marty comes back maybe Larry should put Clemmensen to be on the goal during the shootouts.
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It's easy to support a great player when he's playing at his very best. It takes a true fan to support that same player during those rare moments and stretches when he's not. Babe Ruth went 0-4 some games, and sometimes Wayne Gretzky was held pointless. There may be such a thing as greatness, but no such thing as absolute perfection every single night.

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#34 devilsrule33

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 01:01 PM

 

I don't agree, but only because Mehta and Dellow do totally different things.  Tyler's site has since vanished into the ether, but basically over the last year the biggest thing he did was marry video analysis to statistical analysis.  He'd look at certain data, then try to figure out from video why the numbers were as they were.  That's stuff that a coach can use.  Mehta's a quant - he's a guy who's worked with poker and finance, and he's much more of a numbers-only sort of guy.  That's not to say that the Devils' analytics department won't do video analysis, but Dellow is very specifically not a quant guy - he's an intelligent person who understands how randomness functions, but I don't think you'd hire him on that basis alone.  His video work was the real gem, and that work was more for coaches than GMs.

 

Lets not put a cap on what Sunny can and can't do. If there is a department that Sunny runs, who is to say that they won't be doing something similar? 
 

I don't mind the information going through Lou. Heck, it might plant the seed in his mind regarding who is a useful player and who isn't, which might affect him in trades and FA.

 

Can't it be both. Someone in the department can prepare reports to Lou for the things you mentioned, and someone can have reports going to Deboer. We've learned how the scouting operates with Conte taking in all information and doing as he pleases, and it looks like it'll be the same here. Not a big fan out of that methodology. 


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#35 SterioDesign

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 01:11 PM

Dude, you really need to lay off caffeine. Basically, you're bullish on an organization that has been the epitome of futility and incompetence for the past decade because the coach says he wants to listen to an analytics guy. On the other, you have the one of the most successful GMs to ever be part of the game, that is just saying that he's not going to have someone who for all we know has never put on ice skates in his entire life tell the coach what to do, but will use his imput accordingly. I mean, it might have been one thing if people were right about Lou giving Marty another year or two, and making Schneider disgruntled, but, of course that never came to pass.

Analytics appears to be a nice thing, and it's certainly an improvement over some of the old fuddy duddies (which Lou never has been). But it's just a little bit strange that within the course of a summer, it seems that some folks believe you're destined to win the Cup if you do everything an analytics person says, while you'll be a bottom feeder forever if you essentially don't cede control of the team to him. The teams that have won the past three Cups have done so on being in the right place at the right time with top ten draft picks, a luxury Lou has had once in the past 20 years, not because of their analytics departments.

 

and how is that more fair to compare a GM who's been there for 2 years and had nothing to do with the decades of suckness before he got there to Lou who's been there forever? 


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#36 Triumph

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 01:50 PM

Lets not put a cap on what Sunny can and can't do. If there is a department that Sunny runs, who is to say that they won't be doing something similar? [/quote]

 

If they do something similar, it should end up with the coaching staff.  My point is that that's not where his expertise lies.

 

 

 

 

Can't it be both. Someone in the department can prepare reports to Lou for the things you mentioned, and someone can have reports going to Deboer. We've learned how the scouting operates with Conte taking in all information and doing as he pleases, and it looks like it'll be the same here. Not a big fan out of that methodology.

 

 

I don't think there should be reports going to DeBoer because I think the value of analytics is largely in valuing other players instead of your own.  You've skirted what I said which is that one guy's work deals very clearly with tactics and the other guy's work very much does not.  Eric Tu.lsky is also working for some team, and I don't think what he does should end up with the coach first either.


Edited by Triumph, 13 August 2014 - 01:51 PM.

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#37 Daniel

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 01:54 PM

and how is that more fair to compare a GM who's been there for 2 years and had nothing to do with the decades of suckness before he got there to Lou who's been there forever? 

 

It's a GM that hasn't done anything anywhere, a coach that hasn't done anything anywhere, and despite being handed an organization that had three number one picks in the past four or five years, it is arguably the worst team in hockey.    I'm not even really meaning to knock on them so much, other than to just say that people ought to cool their jets a little bit over the analytics craze.  And that's especially the case when Lou actually hired one, but just wants to manage it somewhat differently than the Oilers apparently will, and for reasons that we don't really know. 


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#38 SterioDesign

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:00 PM

It's a GM that hasn't done anything anywhere, a coach that hasn't done anything anywhere, and despite being handed an organization that had three number one picks in the past four or five years, it is arguably the worst team in hockey.    I'm not even really meaning to knock on them so much, other than to just say that people ought to cool their jets a little bit over the analytics craze.  And that's especially the case when Lou actually hired one, but just wants to manage it somewhat differently than the Oilers apparently will, and for reasons that we don't really know. 

 

oh i agree with all that. Just don't think it was a fair comparison bringing the "decades of suckness" as a background when the "accused" had nothing to do with it directly


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#39 dmann422

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:14 PM

Small steps. Lou has been doing what he's doing for 25 years and has been very successful doing it. I don't blame him for wanting to stick to that formula as much as possible, but I'm glad he's willing and now able to have a fresh look on some things.
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#40 DJ Eco

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:27 PM

I don't think there should be reports going to DeBoer because I think the value of analytics is largely in valuing other players instead of your own.  You've skirted what I said which is that one guy's work deals very clearly with tactics and the other guy's work very much does not.  Eric Tu.lsky is also working for some team, and I don't think what he does should end up with the coach first either.

 

Agree 100%. DeBoer should not be involved in the day-to-day of what Sunny Mehta is doing.

 

What Sunny Mehta is doing should inform what players we trade for, sign, or let go. And what Sunny Mehta is doing should inform whether DeBoer is the right coach at the end of the season. DeBoer should otherwise be doing the same job he's been doing.

 

I view it like an HR person at a company. That person's job isn't to consult with every department about the job they're doing every week. The good HR person will lead to the right hires that make the company better down the road, it's a process.


Edited by DJ Eco, 13 August 2014 - 02:28 PM.

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