Analytics has been the hot topic in sports for the past few years, with hockey slowly adopting the type of advanced stats that have been around in other sports like baseball for years. The ever popular Shots Attempted (née Corsi) has been the spearhead of this new movement, but teams have also begun doing more futuristic things like tracking player biometrics during practices to give themselves a better understanding of how to use the athletes on their roster.
ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com recently published an extensive study of all 121 major sports teams in North America and how much they use and even believe in analytics. They have an overall list and a list sorted by league, and in the NHL category, the Buffalo Sabres came out looking pretty good.
Put into the "Believers" category, the Sabres were in the second-highest tier of analytics users (only Chicago was in the top tier) and their usage of the Catapult technology was called out in particular. This, from the article:
General manager Tim Murray is known for his scouting background and ability to find young talent, but he's also completely on board with the analytics movement.
Murray has been given the green light to spend big on analytics by ownership, and the Sabres are early adopters (along with the Philadelphia Flyers) in using Catapult technology that gathers biomechanical data during practice to monitor intensity, heart rate and fatigue, along with other movements.
There's much more in the article, but my favorite line was a sly wink to how well Tim Murray has constructed this roster to secure the #1 pick this year, and hopefully take off very shortly thereafter.
Like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Sabres have been widely accused of tanking, and a cynic might suggest that it takes a team that really understands analytics to be this bad at just the right time, with Connor McDavid waiting for the team that gets this year's No. 1 pick.
What do you think about the recent analytics trend? What do you think about how the Sabres are using them, and how they stack up to the rest of the league? Let us know in the comments.