Originally written on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Having purchased the latest Hockey Prospectus 2012/13 Annual -- which comes highly recommended to anyone who regularly frequents this blog; especially at the ridiculously low price of $9.90 to download the PDF version – I can tell you that one of the key features that I look forward to reading the most is its Core Age analysis. We see references to a team’s average age thrown around lazily all the time without pause or regard for its limitations. Don’t get me wrong, there’s value to be had in going young at the NHL level. It’s a young man’s game these days, so at least on the surface, it seems natural to associate or equate an abundance of youth with future success. But just like a 69-year-old Canadian Senator’s marriage to a 23-year-old showed us in the real world, going young isn’t necessarily all it is cracked up to be. In the NHL, not all players are created equal (which is why "man games lost to injury" can be misleading) and as such, if your roster is riddled with young, crappy talent, it stands to reason your roster is still going to be crappy.  I have been to many a sport bar, and I have yet to hear fans engaged in a conversation like the following: Joe Fan: Our team sucks. Steve Fan: But they’re YOUNG!!! Joe Fan: By god, you are right!?!? THEY are YOUNG! This changes EVERYTHING!!!! The problem with average team age is that it does not indicate how old the team’s best and most productive players are. Core Age tries to rectify this problem by creating a more precise alternative: "Core Age is simply the sum of each skater’s age times his value in Goals Versus Threshold divided by the sum of the GVTs on the team. It is a weighted average age for each team—the age of its core players—that tosses out all of the strate­gically meaningless replacement-level players and counts each skater more, the better he is. It also puts those troublesome goaltending contributions to the side, because goalies develop and decline differently than skaters, and because their performance is so vol­atile year to year." For the unawares, Goals Versus Threshold (GVT) measures a player’s worth relative to a replacement level player - Shawn Thornton is a good example contributing 0.1 GVT playing in 81GP last year. (Note: I touched upon GVT in a post discussing the merits of Erik Karlsson’s Norris candidacy) Even if you’re not familiar or just don't grasp the concept, all you need to know is that GVT is the cumulative value of a player’s offensive and defensive contributions. The larger a player’s GVT rating, the more valuable that player is. (player GVT ratings can be found here) Using an X-Y graph that has the Skater GVT on the Y-axis and the Core Age on the X-axis, HP plots all 30 teams and assesses the team’s based on which of the four labelled quadrants – Star (young/productive core), Cash Cow (older/productive core), Question Mark (young/unproductive core) and Dog (older, unproductive core). Over the past four seasons the Senators have consistently had one of the oldest core ages in the NHL: Year Average Age Rank Label 2008/09 28.2 10th oldest Dog 2009/10 29.1 5th oldest Cash Cow 2010/11 27.9 11th oldest Dog 2011/12 28.0 8th oldest Cash Cow Although HP notes that intelligent readers should additionally consider a team’s goaltending and the strength of their farm system to evaluate what their future holds, it warns that “people that call Ottawa a young team aren’t looking at Core Age. The Senators were an older team with an infu­sion of young talent. Without Erik Karlsson, they would have been a Dog, and one of the older ones.” Thanks to some good fortune, the team’s best players stayed relatively healthy and productive last season. Michalek and Karlsson enjoyed career years. Spezza and Alfie both played in more than 70 games. And favourable shooting percentages allowed the team to overcome Craig Anderson’s ugly first-half peripherals. Despite these developments, the Senators still finished the season eighth in the Eastern Conference; three points ahead of ninth place Buffalo. With the bulk of the roster returning in 2012/13, assuming...a season actually transpires (am really getting tired of adding that last bit), it may be unrealistic to expect things to break the Senators way again. Cue Jared Cowen injury. Moreover expecting Silfverberg or Zibanejad to quickly be impact players seems a stretch. Outside of Kyle Turris taking his game to another level, the choice of players who can realistically be expected to absorb some of the offensive workload in the event that one of the team’s established veterans succumbs to an injury is small; apologies to German Div II and III scoring prodigy, Erik Condra. With a 38-year-old Gonchar, and soon to be 40-year-old Alfredsson quickly approaching retirement it will be interesting to watch the tact the organization takes to maintain last season's success. Perhaps a more aggressive posture in free agency? Should we expect to see a Jays-Marlins type trade? (a Nash to Ottawa type deal, selling multiple prospects for established production) The team is slated to become younger in the short term, how much better they'll be (if at all) is an open question.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bucs believed to be going for Marcus Mariota with No. 1 pick

Report: Wrigley Field renovation causing massive rat problem

Rex Ryan praises Patriots, calls Deflategate 'unfortunate'

Brady hopes Peyton Manning comes back next season

Report: Thibodeau’s relationship with Bulls 'beyond repair'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Montana pins blame for Deflategate on Tom Brady

NFLPA boss: No Deflategate interviews until after SB

Blandino: Deflategate no sting; PSI in footballs not logged in

Aaron Hernandez’s DNA found on bullet casing, joint near body

Thomas upset he was tested for PEDs over health statement

Marshawn’s press conference to end all press conferences

WATCH: Katy Perry cracks Deflategate, Marshawn jokes

Devon and Leah Still write a book for kids fighting cancer

Five potential heroes of Super Bowl XLIX

WATCH: Timberwolves throw shade at Kevin Love in promo

Tom Izzo: 'The Twitter' may have affected team's confidence

Measles outbreak hits Arizona days before Super Bowl

Proposed pace-of-play rule changes, by the numbers

Super Bowl XLIX should smash TV viewership record yet again

NFL, officials, Carroll disagree on ineligible player rules

Seattle business rolling 12,000 joints for Super Bowl

How Yardbarker got Marshawn Lynch to open up back in 2008

Super Bowl records that won't fall anytime soon

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five potential Super Bowl XLIX heroes

Rex Ryan downplays Deflategate

Brady hopes Manning comes back

The worst Super Bowl commercials of all-time

SB anthem, halftime performers through the years

Super Bowl should smash TV records

Super Bowl records unlikely to fall

15 amazing Super Bowl XLIX stats

Teammate: Manziel not a joke

Ten most underrated SB performances

Knicks ‘in play’ for Kevin Durant?

Ex-QB: Everyone deflates footballs

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.