NHL is fast approaching, and Sportpunter are giving predictions for the NHL season again. You can sign up by clicking here.
However, a lot of people ask about preseason. How good is it and what point is there in analysing it? Does the preseason have a lot of impact on the main season? Or is there nothing much to be gained by analysing the pre season play?
Well when looking at total goals scored, we can look back on the years to see how pre season went compared to how the season went throughout the year.
Shown below is a table of the average goals scored in a match for preseason as well as the Whole season not including the end of year playoffs.
Year PreSeaon Whole Season Diff
2005 6.31 5.69 0.62
2006 6.05 5.53 0.52
2007 5.75 5.22 0.53
2008 5.70 5.45 0.25
2009 5.74 5.32 0.42
2010 5.80 Average 5.89 5.44 0.47
One can instantly see that during preseason the amount of goals that are scored is generally a lot more than during the season. In fact, on average, 0.47 goals are scored per game than in the regular season.
So doesn’t this give some weight to the fact that preseason data is not worth analysing in full? Well not really. As shown by the table below, we can use the preseason data of that year, or perhaps the previous years average season totals to predict the current seasons total goals.
Season Season Av. Pre Season Previosus Year
2006 5.53 6.05 5.69
2007 5.22 5.75 5.53
2008 5.45 5.70 5.22
2009 5.32 5.74 5.45
Whilst there isn’t much data to look at, we can observe the correlation between the average score for the regular season compared to the preseason, and compare that to the average goals scored per game for the regular season compared to the previous season.
An r squared value of 42.8% is found for the correlation between the preseason and the scores that season, whilst an r squared value of only 0.78% is found between the regular season and the previous season.
So for those not statistically inclined, what does this mean? It means that the average preseason scores for a particular year are a lot more correlated than the scores for that year than the previous years.
Strong evidence, that we should pay a lot of attention to the pre season scores in NHL every year.