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.
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.
via i.imgur.comAs you can see, if you were a defensemen and your name wasn’t Adam Larsson or Marek Zidlicky, you didn’t have the best night in your own zone. Greene wasn’t terrible, but 71% has started to seem…not great. Harrold, Salvador, and Volchenkov all were under 70%. Zidlicky misfired on half his passes in the offensive zone, but still managed to generate 2 shots. I was surprised the group only generated 4 considering how many they fired on net, but you’ll see the forwards assisted with that much more.
Patrik Elias was solid in the offensive zone tonight, connecting on 10 of 11 passes and generating 5 shots. As much as zone exits are a better stat for analysis for defenseman, I feel that offensive zone pass percentage will ultimately be a strong tool for analyzing forwards. Elias was tops tonight. Mattias Tedenby had a decent debut in the offensive zone, going 4 of 6 and generating some shot attempts, but didn’t do so much elsewhere. I’d like to see him, Jacob Josefson, and Steven Bernier on the 4th line for a few games, honestly.
Adam Henrique was more active in the defensive zone as he has more passes (completed and attempted) and more possession exits than any other forward. No one else really stood out in a positive or negative way. Everyone except for Danius Zubrus and Michael Ryder set up at least one shot for a teammate.
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.
(C) Carry: When a player skates with the puck out of the zone, maintaining possession.
Successful Zone Exits without Possession
(FP) Failed Pass: When a player passes the puck out of the zone, but it fails to find its target.
(FC) Failed Carry: When a player skates with the puck out of the zone, but loses possession shortly thereafter.
(CH) Chip: When the player lifts the puck out of the zone or throws it off the boards and out.
(X) Other: Any action that results in a successful zone exit not already covered.
Unsuccessful Zone Exits
(PT) Pass Turnover: When a player fails to clear the zone with a pass and it results in a turnover to the opposition.
(CT) Carry Turnover: When a player fails to skate out of the zone with the puck and loses possession.
(I) Icing: An attempt to clear results in icing the puck.
(T) Turnover: Any action that results in a turnover not already covered.
via i.imgur.comAs you can see, the defense as a whole was poor at keeping possession during the zone exit phase of the game. That’s putting it mildly. When 23 of the 48 attempts to exit are either a failed pass or a chip, the transition game won’t be pretty. Of course, overall, the group was quite successful at clearing the zone; Ottawa would get the puck, throw it back in, and the Devils would clear it out again. One might just look at the zone exits or the possession numbers separately and conclude they had a good game clearing the puck, or they had a poor game maintaining possession when doing so. This is why it’s good to look at them together. You see that the team was strong at exiting, committed only 6 turnovers the entire game, yet was so poor in linking play from defense to offense.
Zidlicky was the only defenseman to exit with possession more often than not, and he actually had an efficient game in this phase. Harrold was the one that dragged down the group’s percentages, as he successfully cleared the zone 66% percent of the time, which was 17% less than the next defenseman.
Same song, different verse for the forwards. And I do agree with Nick that zone exits are a stronger evaluation of defenseman than forwards, but it’ll be interesting to see how the forwards rank as the season wears on. The group was strong on zone exits and had a 53% possession exit rate (I’m starting to think that anything over 50% is a good number, but I’ll post my reasoning at the 10 game mark when I’m satisfied with the data sample). Gionta, Ryder, Loktionov, and Elias exited with possession each time they exited the zone. Henrique was the next highest forward at 75%, and then everyone else was between 20% (Looking at you, Carter) and 60% (Jagr).
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.