When Jim Rutherford was hired as general manager for the Pittsburgh Penguins, he announced several needed changes. One of these changes would be to bring the use of analytics to the team, which is something the Penguins can benefit highly from.
The Penguins have used analytics before, but never as in-depth. Analytics is an advanced system used to identify statistics that the naked eye doesn’t always see, such as how players perform with or without certain players or how players perform carrying the puck across the opposing blue line rather than dumping it in.
Rutherford knew that analytics was something he wanted to bring to his new team, so he called in some assistance. Rutherford hired Jason Karmanos as the Penguins’ vice president of hockey operations. Karmanos has prior experience working with analytics, so he will be in charge of integrating this new method into their operations.
The Penguins have a talented, star-studded roster, but that isn’t always enough to get the job done. Players, coaches and management need to start looking more in depth into their team, rather than just looking at the big picture. When they can start to pinpoint where players work best and with who, then everyone will start to see some positive changes.
The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks are ideal examples of what analytics can do for a team. These recurring Stanley Cup champions have embraced this modern technique and now have an advantage that most teams don’t.
Bringing analytics into the Penguins organization has been a great move by Rutherford and it will only have a positive outcome.