What to Expect When You're Expecting: New York Rangers Edition

Quick blog here today. Apologies for my absence in recent weeks. Been working a lot in R, trying to perfect a model for DraftKings football. Have had some success, but I still have my day job and I'm posting here, so you can only imagine the successes that I have had.

We all know the Rangers are struggling, well, atrociously right now. It's a combination of the fancystats we have all come to know and love, and just, well, really poor defensive zone coverage. Which is kind of shocking considering. Not to get too rambly here, as I've been trying to avoid that on this version of my blogging career, but, it's hard to believe that the d-corps, that has remained largely in tact for nearly three seasons now under the same coaching staff, can have such mental lapses in their own end. I mean, there is no coverage in the slot. It boggles the mind, and not in a fun and exciting way.

Today's blog is just going to be some quick gorilla math. Answering the question that you can make millions of dollars off if you can answer it... how many goals can we expect from this Rangers team from this point 'til the end of the season? Well, I'm not going to say I've solved that conundrum, but this could certainly be one step in the process of getting there.

Basically, I've done the math to figure out how many more goals we can expect from all Rangers skaters 5v5 for the rest of the season if they all regress towards the mean of their career 5v5 shooting percentage. Of course this is faulty logic. There aren't any studies that I am aware of on shooting percentage, and if players tend to move away from or towards their career numbers as time goes on.

I'd imagine the more data we have on a player allows us to be more confident. For instance, since 2005-2006, Dan Boyle has fired 958 shots on goal. We have a pretty good expectation that he'll continue to shoot somewhere near his career 5v5 percentage of 6.26% On the other hand, Dylan McIlrath has 16 shots on goal in that same timeframe, so we cannot truly believe that 6.25% will be his career norm. Conundrum!

Logic aside, here's what it looks like for the Rangers:

It's not the prettiest chart in the world, and I wouldn't go making any gambles on it, but it paints at least a bit of a picture. The column we are most interested in is highlighted in grey at the end. A subtraction of the goals a player currently has, and of what the players total goals would be if he shot the whole season at his career rate.

Certainly the most troubling stat in there is that there are some players who are shooting well above their career averages that the Rangers will need more and then some from as the season goes on. Looking directly at Zuccarello, who is shooting a rabid 25% at 5v5 this season despite his career shooting % being just under half that. If the Rangers plan on going anywhere this season, they are going to need more than two more goals from Zucc at even strength.

Grain of salt, everyone. File it away and see how far off this is come the end of the season. For the Rangers and a few players' sake, I hope it's pretty far.