Sunday, November 17, 2013

The relationship between successful passes to the slot and goals

The importance of getting the puck into a scoring-area

There are many ways to win a hockey game in the NHL; and just as many ways to lose. As such, it is important to NOT measure the importance of each micro-stat by wins and losses; but by the offensive or defensive results they produce.

Only data-generated scouting can produce the necessary data. The next step in the process is to study the resulting data to determine what relationship each metric has to a team's offensive, and defensive-production.

This post will focus on the necessary components to producing enough even-strength offense to win. The accepted number of goals to produce a win in the NHL is three. Granted, powerplay goal production is included in those 3 goals. But, for the sake of this post we will look at the necessary ingredients to scoring 3 even-strength goals per-game; I'll touch upon powerplay production in a future post.

In order for a team to produce 3 goals in one game they must produce .005 goals per-minute played, or one goal every 20 minutes. In games where the Canadiens have averaged at least 1 goal every 20 even-strength minutes, they have a record of 7-4.







SUCCESSFUL OFFENSIVE-ZONE OFFENSIVE-TOUCH PER-MINUTE PLAYED

A successful offensive-zone touch is earned for every successful pass, deke, or shot on net while positioned in the offensive-zone. The green within this graph does not indicate a win. Instead, it notes games where the Canadiens have scored at least 0.005 goals per even-strength minute played.

As we can see, the Habs have produced at least 0.005 goals per-minute in 7 of the 9 games where they had at least .500 successful offensive-touches in the offensive-zone per-minute. Expressed simply, 0.500 o-touches in the o-zone (PMP) produced the minimum number of goals usually necessary for a win in 7 of 9 games.





SUCCESSFUL PASSES TO THE SLOT PER-MINUTE PLAYED

A successful pass to the slot is defined as any successful attempt to pass to a teammate positioned in the slot. Again, The green within this graph does not indicate a win. Instead, it indicates games where the Canadiens have scored at least .005 goals per ES minute played.

This graph shows us that in 7 of the 10 games where the Canadiens produced at least 0.039 successful passes to the slot per-minute, they also produced 0.005 goals per-minute played. 





SUCCESSFUL PASSES TO THE SLOT PER-MINUTE PLAYED (BY PLAYER)

A mentioned earlier, a successful pass to the slot is defined as any successful attempt to pass to a teammate positioned in the slot. Now that we've determined the impact of offensive-touches, as well as the importance of getting passes to players positioned in the slot, the next logical step is to find the players capable of producing this event. Comparing the players who produce the most successful passes to the slot with their own offensive-output will also provide the opportunity to cross-check our earlier determination.

This graph shows us how many successful passes to the slot (PMP) each Montreal Canadiens player has produced this season. Among defensemen, Andrei Markov and PK Subban successfully complete substantially more passes to the slot per-minute than the other d-men.

The most successful passers among forwards include; Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, Michael Bournival, Max Pacioretty, and Lars Eller.





EVEN-STRENGTH POINTS PER-MINUTE PLAYED (BY PLAYER)

This graph is a visual representation of the number of points per-minute each Habs player has produced this season. When compared to the previous graph we see that the four of the top-five producers (among forwards) of successful passes to the slot are also among the top-five point producers. The only exception being Pacioretty.

Among defensemen with a minimum of  150 even-strength minutes played, PK Subban is second to Markov in successful passes to the slot per-minute, but leads all d-men in points per-minute played.





Only data-generated scouting produces the information that allows us to study both the amount, and the type of successful events necessary for goal production. Here, we were able to quantify the number of goals needed per-minute played, the amount of successful plays needed to produce those goals, and the type of play most often required.


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