So, my partner Nick will be unable to help out the rest of the season, so I'll be doing zone exits and passing for every game going foward. I had to go back do the zone exits for games 12, 14, and 16 since they hadn't been done. I'm getting caught up and will hope to do the Predators/Rangers tomorrow and Friday.
Zone Exit Stats vs Tampa Bay
Forwards: Not a great night for the forwards not named Dainius Zubrus or Patrik Elias. Both of them went 100% on zone exits and were 50% or higher on possession, Zubrus doing a bit better at 57%. Travis Zajac finished at 66%, but only had 3 exits. The forward group attempted 60 exits, which is a lot for one game, but it makes sense given how low the possession rate was. The more often you exit the zone without possession, the more likely it is you’ll just have to turn around and get the puck out of your own end again. I’ll delve more into averages at the 20 game mark.
Defense: Mark Fayne had a solid day, exiting with possession 75% of the time. The next highest was Anton Volchenkov (55%). Eric Gelinas was the only other defenseman at the 50% threshold. The reason why Adam Larsson, Marek Zidlicky, and Andy Greene were so much lower than their fellow defensemen? Chips.
Chipping the puck out of the zone is sometimes a good play; it can relieve immediate pressure, allow a line change, or both. However, nearly every time a puck is chipped out, you surrender possession to the opposing team. Greene was 100% on his zone exits (great!), but still only had a possession exit rate of 27% (not great!), or, put another way, of the 11 times Greene exited the zone, 6-7 of those he surrendered possession. Larsson only attempted 6 exits and finished with 33% possession, while Zidlicky attempted the most (15) and finished at 40%.
Zone Exit Stats vs Minnesota
Forwards: Compared to the Tampa Bay game, this time the forwards only attempted 43 zone exits, or nearly 1/3 less. Not surprisingly, they averaged nearly 20% points higher on possession exits. It was spread out pretty evenly among the group: everyone had at least two attempts and no one had more than 6, so possession rates for individuals may be skewed for one game, but the larger point is that collectively, the team did very well in this department. Jaromir Jagr was the best individual performer at an 80% possession rate.
Defense: Playing down Jon Merrill, who did not attempt an exit, the other defensemen got plenty of work, except for Mark Fayne. Fayne attempted 5 exits, whereas the other defensemen attempted 10, 12, 12, and 15. Fayne also had the lowest possession rate at 40%. Marek Zidlicky had the best night, going 9 of 10 with 80% possession. Adam Larsson had a solid night as well, going 14 of 15 zone exits with 66% possession. Eric Gelinas (58% possession) had a solid nighs that might have led the team if not for Zid and Larsson putting in top quality efforts. Andy Greene was wasteful with 4 turnovers, but still exited with possession at the same as Gelinas; he just gave the puck away whenever he could.
Zone Exit Stats vs Toronto
Forwards: 50 attempts for the forwards in this one, with an astounding 58% possession rate for the entire 12 forwards. Steve Bernier was only 20% with possession and Stephen Gionta and Cam Janssen finished at 0%, but everyone else was at or above 50%. Impressive stuff. Michael Ryder, Andrei Loktionov, Jaromir Jagr, and Dainius Zubrus were the most impressive in terms of attempts and possession rate. Only 3 turnovers and 1 icing out of the entire group as well.
Defense: Peter Harrold attempted 9 exits and only 2 were successful with possession (22%). Eric Gelinas finished lower at 20%, but had only 5 attempts total. Anton Volchenkov had another effective game (60% possession). Andy Greene was the only defenseman to have 100% exit percentage, but finished with only 3 of his 7 exits maintaining possession. Marek Zidlicky and Adam Larsson both had a few turnovers and misplaced passes, but still finished with decent nights.
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.
Every 10 games or so, I’ll post a separate article looking the cumulative data.
Have any questions? Comments? Suggestions? Hit me up on Twitter at @RK_Stimp.