A statistical view of a player’s impact

Graphic by Pablo Murphy-Torres
Graphic by Pablo Murphy-Torres

Heading into the season, the men’s ice hockey team is ranked eighth in the Hockey East preseason poll.

Despite being projected to finish in the bottom half of the league, there are a few notable players that could make a difference for the Catamounts this year.

Measuring performance in hockey can be difficult, as seasons can be affected by injuries and hampered by under-performing linemates or defense pairings.

In an effort to predict how the men’s hockey team will do this coming season, I took nine players with a specific set of criteria and analyzed their stats.

I selected players with at least two years of stats in order to ensure a more accurate prediction, thus excluding transfer students and underclassmen.

Junior Mike Stenerson had the highest statistical gains – a 600 percent increase in points from the year before.

He went from having only two points in his first year to 14 points in his sophomore year.

The main reason for this was extended ice time.

It’s not realistic to expect Stenerson to experience the same statistical gains this year, but his stat lines last year (four goals and 10 assists) are a realistic expectation.

Like Stenerson, junior Brady Shaw experienced quite a hefty increase – 181.82 percent, to be exact.

In his first year, Shaw finished with 11 points, while last year he was second only to team captain Mike Paliotta in points, scoring 19 goals and 12 assists for 31 points.

Like Stenerson, Shaw accumulated more ice time, but with the absence of junior Mario Puskarich from the lineup with an ankle injury, Shaw stepped up in a big way by leading the team in goals.

He also became a much more well-rounded player by becoming more defensively responsible in his own zone.

Only two defensemen qualified for analysis – current senior captain Yvan Pattyn and junior Rob Hamilton.

Hamilton had a stellar first year on the squad – he notched one goal and 12 assists for 13 points, a very respectable total for a defenseman. This past year, Hamilton suffered an injury that prevented him for getting back to his first-year form – he only tallied one assist.

Expect Hamilton to receive a larger role on the back end as an upperclassman.

Oddly enough, Pattyn was the only player analyzed to receive a zero percent difference – in both of the past two years, he has notched five assists per year.

A model of defensive responsibility, I’d expect Pattyn to remain consistent with his previous production.

The Catamounts will begin their season Oct. 4 against Acadia University at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

The team’s regular season begins Oct. 10 against the university of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Hockey East play begins Oct. 29 in Boston, Massachusetts against Northeastern University.