Checking in with the Flyers' VUKOTA Projects at Three-Quarter Pole

LOS ANGELES CA - DECEMBER 30: The Philadelphia Flyers celebrate after the game with the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on December 30 2010 in Los Angeles California. The Flyers won 7-4. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

It's been awhile (two and a half months) since we've checked in on the Flyers VUKOTA projections, so why not check in now? The season is just over 75% done, so this will be the last time before the end of the season.

To see the post talking about the original predictions, head here. To see the update through 33 games, go here. At the beginning of the season, VUKOTA predicted a fairly similar performance to last year, which we're inclined to believe has been shattered.

Below you'll find the numbers, so if you have any questions, just ask. Maybe Eric can explain it better than I can.

On the left, you'll see the projections and on the right, the current rates. I took into account games missed, which is why Carcillo is projected to play 53 games.  Also, assists aren't listed because that allows for two fewer columns and dramatically fewer numbers. Plus, I figure you can do the math if you really want.

GP G Pts GP G Pts
Blair Betts 62.1 6.3 13.9 76.7 5.29 14.55
Danny Briere 65.2 22.5 53.0 78.0 37.03 67.45
Dan Carcillo 63.7 9.1 20.6 52.9 5.29 7.94
Jeff Carter 77.4 35.8 69.9 82.0 37.03 72.74
Claude Giroux 69.8 19.6 51.3 82.0 27.77 76.71
Scott Hartnell 71.7 20.2 48.9 82.0 25.13 52.90
Ville Leino 53.9 10.1 25.0 80.7 18.52 55.55
Darroll Powe 60.4 8.7 16.7 82.0 6.61 19.84
Mike Richards 77.3 30.1 71.6 80.7 25.13 68.77
Jody Shelley 50.3 2.5 7.4 67.5 2.65 5.29
James van Riemsdyk 72.8 18.7 40.9 72.7 19.84 38.35
Nik Zherdev 75.0 16.0 54.9 63.5 19.84 25.13

We noted how accurate VUKOTA was through 40% of the season, and it still comes off as very accurate. The biggest problems arise from players staying healthy, which VUKOTA didn't predict. And Nik Zherdev's projections are from NHL Equivalencies, not VUKOTA. But people ask about them, so I included it.

Among those that VUKOTA can count as successes are Betts, Briere, Carter, Hartnell, Powe, and James van Riemsdyk. They narrowly missed Richards, but are dramatically off on Carcillo, Giroux, Leino, and Shelley. Only two misses, both on players who emerged after two seasons in the NHL, is quite impressive.

The Flyers are still on track for a very impressive six-50 point forwards and they've even increased to five 25-goal forwards, with Hartnell climbing just above that threshold.

Name GP A Pts GP A Pts
Oskars Bartulis 51.8 7.4 9.0 17.2 0.0 0.0
Matt Carle 72.3 25.7 32.3 82.0 34.4 35.7
Braydon Coburn 72.9 18.3 23.8 82.0 14.5 17.2
Andrej Meszaros 68.3 15.4 21.3 80.7 21.2 27.8
Sean O`Donnell 62.1 9.4 10.8 80.7 15.9 17.2
Chris Pronger 72.0 35.8 45.6 60.8 26.5 31.7
Kimmo Timonen 68.5 26.6 32.4 82.0 31.7 35.7

Again, VUKOTA proves quite reliable, at least when accepting how difficult it is to project contributions from defensemen. They can count Carle, Meszaros, and Timonen as wins. Bartulis is a major miss, but for someone to go from a projection of 52 games to roughly 17, I think there are enough extenuating circumstances to grant them a pass.

Meanwhile, Coburn is a pretty big miss, over 9.5 points below expectations. Pronger is also slightly more than 9 points below expectations, which could be attributed to his healthy. Lastly, O`Donnell is beating his projections mostly in health, but also performing slightly better than the rate VUKOTA predicted.

Conclusion

Once again, VUKOTA comes out looking rather nicely in these little benchmarks we have. We won't know for sure until the season is over, but the biggest problem appears to be the games played projections. Since it's rather difficult to predict health, I think that's slightly excusable.

If one gives a pass for extremely difficult to predict players (like Bartulis, Shelley, and Carcillo), VUKOTA only missed on Giroux, Leino, Coburn, and Pronger. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But for the second ever set of predictions, I think there's plenty of reason to be excited about the progress VUKOTA makes going forward.

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