Monday, April 13, 2015

2014-15 NHL Competitive Balance

With the 2014-15 NHL regular season in the books, let's take a look at how competitively balanced the season was (using the Noll-Scully measure of competitive balance) and compare this with recent seasons.

There are two ways of measuring competitive balance in hockey since unlike baseball or basketball, hockey games can end up tied at the end of regulation.  So I will report both the binomial and the trinomial Noll-Scully measure.  Additionally, there are two ways of reporting both the binomial and trinomial Noll-Scully measure:  one using the standard deviation of a sample and the other using the standard deviation of the population.  Again, I will report both.

Additionally, I will have to compute (for the trinomial distribution) the probability of a tie under equal playing strength.  In the past, I used Richardson's estimate from Stanley Cup playoff games.  In this case I will change and just assume that the probability of games that go into overtime occurs among teams with equal playing strength.  Feel free to quibble with this, as this is simplification of the estimated probability.

OK, with the measurement details noted, here are the Noll-Scully competitive balance numbers for the recent NHL season.  Using the sample the Noll-Scully under the binomial distribution was 1.5634 and under the trinomial distribution was 2.0286.  For the population the Noll-Scully under the binomial distribution was 1.5372 and under the trinomial distribution was 1.9945.

Compared to recent years, this year was less competitive balanced, but overall the level of competitive balance in the NHL is still rather similar to recent historical numbers.

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