Pass: A reasonable and deliberate attempt to get the puck to a teammate which maintains possession or results in a shot attempt. This excludes zone clears, dump-ins, and anything that is akin to a desperate swipe at a loose puck. If a player passes a puck into space or off the boards, it finds a teammate, and it appears it was done deliberately, that shall be a pass. When in doubt, common sense will prevail.
What you see below is a chart illustrating pass completions, pass attempts, and pass percentages for each player in all three zones. A pass that goes across a zone or two will be marked as occurring in the zone it originates from. For example, a pass from the defensive zone to the neutral zone will be marked as a pass in the D-Zone columns. Additionally, you’ll see data totals for each group of players for each zone. This will help answer questions such as, “Was the entire team off tonight? Or just a few players?”
Each completed pass that results in a shot taken by a teammate counts as one “shot attempt generated” or “SAG” in the chart below. This is tracked to attempt to determine which teammates are better at generating opportunities to shoot. Not all shot attempts are generated from passes, so these numbers will not be an exact match to Corsi and Fenwick ratios.
The final column displays how many pass attempts each player took in order to generate a shot attempt. You’ll also see totals for each position group (defenseman and forwards) for all stats.
One of the first things you'll notice is Anton Volchenkov completing 7 of 8 passes in the offensive zone. This is because several of those were completed early on when the Devils kept the puck in on a delayed penalty call. Good on Volchenkov for helping to keep possession there, but I don't expect to see him transform into a puck-moving defenseman anytime soon. Though, Volchenkov's numbers are consistent with the rest of the Devils defensemen last night. They completed 83% of their passes as a group. During transition in the neutral zone, they weren't as sharp, but generally connected more often than not.
The problem was in their own end. We all witnessed a number of turnovers (see below) and the group was under 73% passing. I had guessed that 75% would be a "good" target for passing stats, but maybe that's not good enough since it seemed like the Devils had plenty of trouble getting out of their own zone last night.
Of the forwards, Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder had efficient nights in the offensive zone, especially with Henrique generating 6 shot attempts. Henrique, along with Damien Brunner, were most active in the defensive zone as well. Brunner was strong on his zone exits and maintaining possession while doing so. He and Danius Zubrus were most efficient in the neutral zone of the forwards. When I saw the numbers, I was optimistic about Brunner since he tended to "disappear" unless he was putting up shots. Maybe he has more of a complete game than originally thought? Something to keep in mind when I check the cumulative stats.
Zone Exits Explained
Zone Exits: Any attempt made by a player to advance the puck from their defensive zone. These actions fall into the below categories (as illustrated on the below chart).
(P) Pass: When a player passes the puck out of the zone and it successfully finds a teammate.
(FP) Failed Pass: When a player passes the puck out of the zone, but it fails to find its target.
(PT) Pass Turnover: When a player fails to clear the zone with a pass and it results in a turnover to the opposition.
(C) Carry: When a player skates with the puck out of the zone.
(FC) Failed Carry: When a player skates with the puck out of the zone, but loses possession shortly thereafter.
(CT) Carry Turnover: When a player fails to skate out of the zone with the puck and loses possession.
(CH) Chip: When the player lifts the puck out of the zone or throws it off the boards and out.
(I) Icing: An attempt to clear results in icing the puck.
(T) Turnover: Any action that results in a turnover not already covered.
(X) Other: Any action that results in a successful zone exit not already covered.
At the end of the chart, you’ll see totals for successful zone exits (P, FP, C, FC, CH, X) and total attempts. It may be odd to think of a failed pass or failed carry as a “Success,” but if the puck exits the zone, that is the threshold for determining whether or not it a zone exit was successful. In the following column you’ll see a Success Rate % on the likelihood a player had a successful zone exit.
The final two columns indicate successful possession zone exits (P, C), and the percentage of possession exits. These are used to chart separation between those players that maintain possession and assist with transition from defense to offense versus those players that are just getting the puck out of the zone. While a zone exit is a good play, those that keep possession and transition the pressure from defensive zone to offensive zone are the ideal plays.
These are broken down into totals both for the individual players and the forwards/defensemen as a whole. This allows us to see how the group performed and who individually was dragging the team down or holding them up.
His horrible couple of turnovers aside, Adam Larsson actually had the best zone exits of any defenseman, including 70% of them maintaining possession. Peter Harrold was the next "best" performer last night of the group, but everyone else needs improvement. Marek Zidlicky was not efficient going forward (compare his stats to Larsson). Anton Volchenkov made only a handful of attempts.
I mentioned Brunner's zone exits about, though he did have two turnovers. Of the other forwards with at least 5 attempts, Henrique and Andrei Loktionov were 100%, and Ryane Clowe and Patrik Elias combined to go 11 for 14 with two turnovers.
Every 10 games or so, I’ll post a separate article looking at overall play up to that point.
Have any questions? Comments? Suggestions? Hit me up on Twitter at @RK_Stimp.