Here at THN.com we don’t ask how. In fact, we don’t even ask how many. What we really want to know is how many actually mattered?
That, in a nutshell, is the premise behind Campbellnomics, a stat unique to THN.com that measures situational scoring and important offensive contributions. We’re not interested in which player scored the sixth goal in a 6-2 win, but we do want to give credit to the player who opened the scoring.
Here’s how it works: The first thing you have to realize in this system is that goals are worth one point and assists are worth half a point. So there is a bias toward players who score goals as opposed to set-up men. That’s because we think goals are more important than assists. It’s an age-old argument, but it’s our statistic and that’s the way we do it around here.
Instead of simply giving one point for a goal and half for an assist, an emphasis is put on goals that are scored during crucial times during the game. Players receive one point for scoring the first goal of a game; a goal that puts his team ahead in a game or pulls his team into a tie in the game; a comeback goal (which must be part of a succession of goals that leads to a tie); a game-winning goal; an overtime goal; and, a shootout goal. Players receive half a point for assists on those goals.
So, a player who scores the first goal of the game automatically receives two points in Campbellnomics – one for the first goal of the game and one for putting his team ahead in the game. A player who scores an overtime or shootout winner receives three points – one for putting his team ahead, one for the game winner and one for the overtime/shootout goal. If that goal comes in a game in which the player’s team wins 1-0, the player gets four points for that goal.
So if a player scores the game-winner in a 1-0 shootout victory, the way Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres did on Saturday night, he receives four points – one for the first goal of the game, one for putting his team ahead, one for the game-winner and one for the shootout goal.
Another wrinkle unique to Campbellnomics is how we consider game-winning goals. In this system, a game-winning goal is the goal that puts a team ahead in a game to stay, not the one that provides the margin of victory. So if a team wins a game 3-1 after jumping out to a 2-0 lead, the first goal of the game, not the second, is considered the winner.
Is Campbellnomics the perfect stat? Of course not. Players on winning teams have more opportunities to score big goals and usually do better in this stat. We realize it has built-in flaws, but it’s the best way we’ve been able to come up with that recognizes goals that are scored during crucial times during the game.
And, as you can see, the results sometimes vary greatly from the conventional NHL statistics. Milan Hejduk is ninth in NHL scoring, but is nowhere to be found in the top 25 in Campbellnomics. Conversely, Anze Kopitar is 32nd in NHL scoring, but tied for second in Campbellnomics.
Campbellnomics is updated Tuesdays only on thehockeynews.com. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.