Hello again, readers. I've finally finished pondering on, and subsequently building, the vehicle that I want to use to deliver the ever-expanding body of work I began to undertake on this blog in July 2018. This post is going to detail what my thought process was on the way here, and what the New Deal is when it comes to how you're going to be able to access and interact with my work. If you just want the short version, and to skip to viewing the content that's been released publicly now, go to patreon.com/petropraxis. Available for free, to anyone, are the Player Cards of Cooper Marody, William Lagesson, and Mitch Callahan. Player Cards are an aggregation of on-ice/individual shot/goal/points stats from my tracking project - shots, shot assists, on-off shot shares, etc; and the player's ranking among the entire team in each of these metrics. Below, in the text box, are some notes about their deployment, who their linemates were, and my thoughts on their performance as the statistics describe it.
Here is an example:
As for the schedule of free content going forward, it's flexible; I'll be unlocking other Cards slowly over August and September - of course 16 more of them are available right now to anyone who becomes a Patron.
Moving on, the rest of this post is going to go into detail the process I'm going to publish through moving forward, and how we got here.
As I poured time into this project, I faced two main problems. One, the issue of wanting to do something better than what was possible without more labour time. Trying to continue writing essays and doing data analysis on the Oilers, while doing the same with the Condors, in addition to tracking, packaging and analysing micro-stats wasn't gonna happen. Two, I was going to have a deployment problem. Without designing some kind of central hub for the work, people were going to have as many navigation problems as I had organisational problems, and figuring out how to properly present the work was going to eat into these precious hours.
I've been doing this planning for awhile, thinking about how to open up ways to support me now that I know there's a lane for me and my work; as well as massively expand its scope and deliver it in more effective ways, and landed on Patreon. It's a content-hosting platform that lets you release different content to different tiers of subscribers; mine will just be the $4USD tier and the free tier. A lot of hockey content creators are on Patreon, but I want to do something a little different than any of them. Here's why I'm going in this direction-
1. I really didn't want to do ads or click-based revenue. There's more superficial reasons for this - I don't like the presentation of it, the last thing I want is distractions on the page. There's also the really important structural reason, which is that garnering unique page views would become such an inevitably heavy input on editorial decisions -which is lethally toxic for the type of work I'm trying to give to people. Beyond that, putting out the hundreds of hours of work for free is damaging to every other creator (many of which I respect deeply) that should be fairly compensated for their own work, should it be in demand.
2. I want to open up the data from the Condors project in a more direct sense that just injecting it into my pieces, or sharing bits of it in my conversations. This way, it makes more logistical sense on a human level for me to spend hours upon hours meticulously tracking it and opens up more time to do so, speeding up the timeline in which I can inform you radically more than anyone else on this critically-timed farm team season. There's nowhere else to find the level of depth that will be provided on what is likely to be the most important facility to the transition from the current Oilers team to a championship one.
The needs that need to be met - cheap skill to surround the thermonuclear core that's in place can only be provided by a strong farm system; any other way costs much too much in assets. The Oilers are up against strong development teams in the Pacific Division. Becoming Syracuse-West all but guarantees some version of a championship window. Dissecting this season will provide, among other things, multiple measuring sticks:
Marody's zonal-transition artistry will challenge every centre that comes through the pipeline. How will, say, McLeod's exit/entry carrying and passing compare?
Benson's primary shot contribution shares (shot and shot assists) will inform us on how each and every playmaking forward is progressing in their rookie season.
A mature utility prospect must approach Gambardella's forechecking recovery rates, resultant shot impacts (on-ice and individual) and goalscoring in order to earn an NHL shot from a long way out.
Ethan Bear's exit passing will help us contextualise what will almost certainly be exit-passing dominance from Bouchard. How far ahead will the 10th overall be of gifted passers past?
What's also critical here is the amount of players (and their distinct ability) vying for NHL jobs in the fall from this Condors roster, the lack of potent challengers for those spots currently in the system, plus the difficulty in creating strong enough barriers for the more likely players to earn those roster spots by outside acquisitions - you can't sign a Tyler Benson in free agency. Because of the likelihood of some of these players to make the NHL next season, we can really underline the value of the benchmarks set by those players in this AHL season, and figure out how translatable each and every level of performance and facet of the game is from AHL to NHL.
3. There's a ton of areas I want to improve in that are crowded out by the amount of labour time that's needed to put into what's on my plate already. Expanding the video content here beyond the basic level of what I know how to do right now has been an ambition of mine for awhile, as well as getting better with Excel and Tableau. The Condors project data will be so, so good with some visualisations. Whether I learn that myself, or can use support funds to pay another person to make some vizzes for us, this work can get a lot richer and cleanly accessible in short order.
4. I'm wanted to open up some editorial input to you. Particularly the readership that gets enough value, entertainment, and thought provocation from the work to be compelled to support me. That's the pre-publishing input you guys are going to have: since I'll always have more theories, ideas and impulses for content to create, than time to create it with the level of effort I want to, we're going to conduct polling to collectively decide which article or project ideas for the bonus content are the most popularly anticipated and I'll execute on that. Beyond that, I'll have the final say on the constitution of the content schedule in order to balance the Serious Analysis pieces (player profiles, hard target searches, projections) with, say, the irreverant and occasionally antagonistic media critique and other lighter, less serious work.
With all of that process in mind, I had to figure out what I was going to open with, what I was comfortable with asking for support in return for. There had to be a good enough backlog of content to be worth subscribing for at first, and an easily-communicable program that will be built on.
The rewards for being a patron will always be visible on the front page, but here's a rundown for launch:
- Access to the constantly-updated Condors Data Project works, which at launch includes all 21 regulars' player cards and in-depth overviews of full roster charts and rankings.
- Access to the exclusive constantly-expanding shift-by-shift and clean highlight video archive, beginning at launch two videos - a 16:50 minute long-form compilation of Ryan McLeod's defensive and transitional game and a video of all points scored by Evan Bouchard.
- A vote in the polls to decide what the bonus written content is, what the next video archive addition is, and a question of your choice to be answered in-depth in the mailbag posts.
Details from what content is available now, also excerpted from the Patreon front page:
At launch, we currently have a near full set of player cards - those are compilations and visualisations of individual (shots per game/per hour; shot assists per game/per hour; shot contributions per game/per hour; % individual contribution of total on-ice shots-for) and on-ice (shot share %s; on-off shot share %; shots for/against per hour; shot differential per hour, goals for/against per hour, goal differential per hour, GF%Rel) and the player's ranking among the 14 forwards and 7 defensemen who have more than 20 games tracked in each of these metrics.
All of these stats are found on one page, as well as an explanation below of what their deployment history was, and my general thoughts on their season along with any other little details that are pertinent to getting an accurate overview on where the player's at.
You can click on the Player Card button on the left side of the front page under Featured Tags and it'll filter everything else out so you can scroll freely among just the Player Card posts. From there, each player will have a tag you can use to filter out everything but posts that involve that player. Ergo, if you want to find everything that's been written about that player, click their name among anywhere tags are, on the left panel or at the end of any post that mentions them. I'll be cleaning up my blog posts about Jones and Benson and posting them over here to centralise that here as well.
We also have two video archive posts - a long-form (16:50) gathering of Ryan McLeod's work in the defensive and neutral zones in checking and in transition and a compilation/replays of all points by Evan Bouchard with the Condors during the playoffs last spring. There's also a tag for Video Archive posts, meaning you can click on that and all of the Video Archive posts that have been uploaded will appear.
And finally, I wrote a rundown on the full rankings of each Condor by their individual rate metrics, through charts and typical musings, as well as some notes on deployments.
One last thing though: It's inevitable that a lot of the content behind the paywall is going to get smuggled out. If you see it copy+pasted in some Reddit thread or Twitter or anywhere else, don't bother telling me about it - just reply to them drop a line or link this Patreon page for anyone else who sees it, letting them know whose work it is and where they can support the author and find more.
Either way, as always, thank you for reading.