Oilers Part Ways With Analytics Guru, Tyler Dellow

Mark Spector was the first to break the news this morning that the Oilers have not renewed the contract of their stats man, Tyler Dellow. If you count me retweeting his tweet, I was the second to break the news. 

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The Oilers were arguably one of the first teams in the NHL to jump on the fancy stats train. Call it revolutionary thinking, or call it a fad — that has yet to be determined. In 2014, the Oilers hired Dellow, a lawyer/stats writer out of Toronto, to help the team understand a new way of looking at hockey, and to approach the evaluation of gameplay and player skills a different way. 

Two short years later and Dellow’s contract was not renewed. Does this mean the Oilers have acknowledged that analytics are not essential and will be getting out of the fancy stats business, or does it mean Tyler was not a fit for the organization and they are looking for a new analytics guru to hire?

After Montreal fired their analytics man for (in my opinion) being resistant to the Subban trade, one raises the question on whether Dellow’s release had anything to do with the Taylor Hall trade. Though I don’t know Tyler’s stance on Hall, as a stats man, you have to believe that he was Team Taylor for life. 

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Tyler Dellow’s skill set makes it easy to believe that another NHL team will pick him up fairly quickly. If this is true, chances of Tyler bringing back his controversial Twitter account, @mc79hockey, as well as his website, mc79hockey.com, is slim.

Twitter Reaction

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Fancy stats has taken the NHL by storm in the past few years. Do you think the Oilers will be hiring new analytics staff in the near future? Or are we going back to the old-school way of evaluating players and gameplay, by looking at point production and watching with our eyes? 

      • Serious Gord

        Not peanuts – 3 pitching prospects and lawrie (an injury prone headcase) The a’s are a perennially cash strapped team, Donaldson was going to be far ro expensive and the pitching prospects would be cheap currency for future hole filling.

      • Dan 1919

        Yeah they couldn’t afford him, then they replaced him with three players who would all produce similar on base stats(I dont know baseball) instead of hoping for an astonishingly lucky draft pick as the only replacement.

        This is similar to what Chiarelli did when he traded Hall for Larsen, signed Lucic, drafted Pulijoaalvdsi, told Demers no, and signed Pitlick and opened the new arena.

  • Speed Junky

    stats have there place.

    but money ball is different than Hockey

    5 skaters and a goalie are hard to coordinate

    20 players is rough.

    Chemistry is the name of the game.

    Hall and Leon had it.

    anybody that has played hockey knows chemistry is Golden

  • morsecode89

    When I first started twittering in 2010, like most of the oiler twitter verse, I was turned off by Dellow. As time went on, I saw more and more of what he was saying had value. I didn’t like the way it was delivered – the guy could be prick – but what he was saying was backed up by logic.
    Yeah, maybe the Fayne signing didn’t work out for the best, but Fayne is still an NHL D man and he’s not ridiculously over paid (maybe by 1 million).

    All I know is this. Dellow isn’t an idiot. He will most likely end up working for another NHL team. The Pittsburgh Penguins also just won the Stanley Cup after years of floundering (with injuries) and mediocre players outside of their core in large part because Jim Rutherford used analytics to find quality players in trades and Free Agency.

    I also know that business shouldn’t be run with one select mind set. A diverse amount of opinion and debate should be fostered and actively sought out by Management. If what happened to Dellow is like what happened to the Habs analytics guy (who lost his job over the his opposition to the Subban trade) then the oilers Management isn’t doing their jobs. Yeah, Chia and MacT could have disagreed with Dellow’s analysis of the Hall for Larsson trade, or other players Dellow targeted, or even his suggested systems. But management should at least respect where those arguments are coming from.

    Despite this recent push back ‘advanced stats’ numbers in hockey, these aren’t going anywhere and year after year teams that lead the league in these categories of Corsi and Fenwick seem to be contenders.

  • madjam

    Sounds like the value of analytics was simply not worth the money/benefit overall being put into it , so they scrapped it . Results insignificant or questionable overall . Gets more in the way , than helping by complicating things unnessarily perhaps at coaching level . The benefit just did not meet the requirement and cost .

  • Why doesn’t the nation hire him? Is he under gag order with Katz bucks?

    His site was great, given the amount of traffic that this network generates and the polarizing nature of his persona….. he is a veritable motherlode of click bait opportunity.

  • Obelisk

    The Oilers were using analytics long before Dellow. Darkhorse Analytics were first mentioned in an article about the Oilers 5 years ago and was mentioned again when the Oilers hired Dellow.

    “The Oilers had already been experimenting in this field, as the video shows. The featured speaker therein, Dan Haight of Darkhorse Analytics, is already employed by the team. ”


  • Roberto

    To me, Dellow is just some Donkey that was hired by the Oil as a PR move to keep him quiet. He probably made some good points and made the Old Boys look worse when things were already awful in Oil Country. Smart move by the Katz evil empire, and working for an NHL team will look great on Dellow’s resume. Now, thankfully, things in the organization are different, or at least appear that way from the outside. There’s no reason to keep Dellow around, and by the sounds of it he’s a bit of a dink. I’m sure at some point he signed some sort of confidentiality agreement or release for him to keep his yap shut, which I also don’t mind. Thanks for your contributions to the Oil Dellow, now move along, ya dink.

  • Kr55

    It’s not like he was a stats wizard or innovator of stats. He was good at presenting and arguing with them, but the Oilers can do a lot better if they want someone that is going to develop unique ways of parsing the available data. He seemed to have a pretty abrasive personality and was pretty obsessed with always being right too, so that makes it harder to get straight up unbiased opinions from him. Don’t really see this as a big loss for the org.

  • BubbaZanetti

    Tyler who ??

    Why is this a story…oh yeah I forgot, this is Oilersnation where analytics is king.

    When can we look forward to the quadratic equation vs exponential 5on5 degree inverted to a linear function on stats in defensive zone vs logarithmic percentile x 10 to the power of 50 square thesis ?