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The Curious Case of Missing Clutterbuck

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star put out an article entitled "The Best and Worst Bargains in the NHL." It uses different metrics being compared to TOI, dollars, etc to determine who is a bargain, who isn't, and who is the most productive using different measurements.

Now, if you are like me, when statistics come up, your eyes glaze over, your brain goes into neutral, and you just want to talk about intangibles. I hate that about me, but it is the way I am. Statistics often resemble math, and I'm not much of a fan of a thirty minute equation to determine who is better in the net, Niklas Back or Jose Theordore.

So reading this post, I missed the overall point of it. I get the idea, don't really care about the result. What caught my eye, and why is this important to Wild fans? Well... it is not in any way important, but it could still be fun. Make the jump.

About half way through the article is a section titled "Bang On," which is described as "Who gets the most hits for the minutes they play?" It goes on to make this list:

BANG ON: Who gets the most hits for the minutes they play:

Player, team, TOI, Hits, minutes-per-hit

Mark Fistric, Dal, 426.6, 88, 4.8

Matt Green, LAK, 611.8, 124, 4.9

Matt Smaby, TB, 145.3, 28, 5.2

Luca Sbisa, Ana, 576.7, 100, 5.8

Andrew Alberts, Vcr, 571.2, 97, 5.9

Best Leaf: Luke Schenn, 980.3, 134, 7.3

Notice anyone's name missing on that list? I bet Adrian Dater could figure it out. Indeed, the NHL hits leader two years running, the NHL hits record holder, and current NHL hits leader, one Mr. Cal Clutterbuck is not on the list. Being a writer who covers the Wild, this caught my eye.

Being a writer who is writing about the NHL, this should have caught the author's eye as well. You are doing the math, would you not start with a list of hits leaders? 

Doing the math (ugh), Clutterbuck currently has 223 hits, and 757:18 total TOI. Hits per minute would be 757:18 / 223, which would equal roughly a hit every 3.9 minutes. 

OK, Mr. Reynolds, you're such a smart guy, how would you have done it? I would have started by looking at the top five hitters and moving on from there. Using my rationale, you find that the top five hitters in the league are as follows:



Minutes per hit

Cal Clutterbuck




Tuomo Ruutu




Dustin Brown




Matt Martin




Troy Brouwer





All five of the top hitters in the league should have been on Mr. McGran's list. I did not do exhaustive research on every players in the league. There are likely others who should have made the list as well. What I don't understand is how this list was created, and what the point of it was. 

Hell, Clutterbuck isn't even the top minutes per hit candidate. Who knew?

As I mentioned above, I did not read the entire post. I skimmed it, and in doing so, found a section so devoid of proper use of the stats that it made me glad I did not read the entire thing. If this portion of the post was done with such wanton regard for what the numbers actually say, why should we trust the rest of it?

Keep in mind this is the Toronto Sun. The same paper that employs Damien Cox, who swears by the journalistic integrity of his co-workers, despite making up facts about the Phoenix Coyotes, and the same paper that stole the work of fellow SBNation blog Pension Plan Puppets.

So hey, maybe the original work is just made up or "borrowed" from another source, right?

UPDATE: From Jeremy Glenn on Twitter: "it looks like he only looked at defensemen." Indeed. Upon further review that is the case. It still makes no sense to only examine that stat in regards to d-men and not include the top hitters in the league. So while I will accept that Clutterbuck is not a defenseman, I still do not understand why the list is what it is. The formatting of the article also makes no sense.

(Stick tap to Puck Daddy for finding the article in the first place.)