Looking At Point Projections for Veteran Forwards, Part 2: Assists

Last week, I looked at the projected goal totals for six Veteran forwards on the Devils- Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus, David Clarkson and Steve Bernier. This week, I plan on looking at the projected assist totals for the afformentioned forwards. Of course, my method for assists isn't nearly as clear, but it should be somewhat accurate. Projections and methodology after the jump.

I talked to Eric T over at Broad Street Hockey about his methods for projecting assists. His method is a bit more complex, but bear with me. Basically, his method uses several factors, one being individual points percentage- which is a percentage that looks at how often a player is involved with a goal for when he's on the ice. For instance, Patrik Elias has a high individual points percentage because he tends to be part of the play when he's on the ice for a goal for. On the other hand, Steve Bernier has a low individual points percentage because he isn't involved in a lot of goals when he's on the ice.

The remaining factors include on-ice shots, on-ice shooting percentage and a projected goal total, which will be the projected goal total I obtained with my second method. Like I did with the goals, I used a 4 year average of each player's on ice shot totals per 82 games. Rather than using a 4 year average for the on-ice shooting percentage for each individual, I'll use the league average shooting percentage over the last four years of 8.2%. As for the individual points percentage, I plan on using a weighted average of the player's individual points percentage at 5v5, 5v4 and 4v5 over the last 4 years.

With all this information, the assist total will be determined by multiplying the individual points percentage by the amount of on ice goals, to determine how many goals he was involved in. Then the projected goal totals i've acquired with method two will be subtracted by the amount of on ice goals, to determine the amount of assists each player will obtain.

Player Total IPP% (weighted) On Ice Shots/82 league average Sh% Projected Goals Projected Factored Goals Projected Assists
Kovalchuk 0.7815 897 8.2 42 84 42
Elias 0.805 748 8.2 27 73 46
Clarkson 0.75 540 8.2 17 49 32
Zubrus 0.638 630 8.2 15 49 34
Zajac 0.64 779 8.2 17 61 44
Bernier 0.5775 435 8.2 11 31 20

Like the methods for determining goals, it does have it's flaws, namely that it's based upon another projection- the projected goal totals. Another factor is the fact that i've used league average shooting percentage rather than an average of the indivdual's weighted on-ice shooting percentage. However, I did this to try and prevent luck from affecting the projected totals as much as possible. Other than that, I feel the method I've used is quite accurate.

Player Totals

Ilya Kovalchuk- 42 assists

This seems like a reasonable amount of assists for Kovy. Assuming he plays with Zajac, who tends to have high on-ice shot totals, he might actually end up with more assists.

Patrik Elias- 46 assists

Elias managed 52 assists mainly because the team shot well with him on the ice (around 10% at even strength). Because the 8.2% shooting figure I used is lower than his total on ice shooting percentage. 43 assists should be a good expectation of what we should expect from him, although I do think he'll do better.

David Clarkson- 32 assists

This has a lot more to do with his low projected goal total (17) than anything. Assuming he scores around 20-24 goals like I expect him to, the assist total should be a bit more reasonable.

Dainius Zubrus- 34 assists

I expect him to hit the 30 assist mark again this year. 34 seems abit high for me, but it's reasonable.

Travis Zajac- 44 assists

Travis Zajac is projected to lead be second on the Devils in assists this season. Considering he'll be centering Kovalchuk, 44 assists seems very reasonable.

Steve Bernier- 20 assists

Because a lot of the projections are based upon previous performance, Bernier benefits from this alot. Because he recieved a decent amount of ice time in Vancouver, he had lots of shots when he was on the ice. Assuming the team shoots at a similar rate when he's on the ice like last season, the assist total should drop. 10 assists is a reasonable expectation.

While you do know the projected point totals for the Devils for next season, I will post a summary of my findings next week, as well as some of my thoughts on my projection methods. With all that being said, do you find the projected assist totals for the afformentioned players reasonable? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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