NHL gamers and coaches usually discuss in regards to the little issues that must occur for a group to achieve success.
Most of these issues are intangible. ‘Compete stage’ is a buzzy time period that scouts attempt to quantify. And even with puck and participant monitoring now in place, we nonetheless haven’t got sufficient publicly obtainable knowledge to really assess whether or not a skater is taking part in an ‘trustworthy, 200-foot recreation.’
However on the NHL’s stats pages, there’s a tantalizing ‘Miscellaneous’ class. Among the many goodies there, you will discover breakdowns of hits, blocked pictures, giveaways and takeaways by group and by participant.
This week on the NHL Stat Pack, here is a have a look at whether or not the actions which might be quantified on the Miscellaneous web page appear to correlate in any respect with wins, losses and championships.
When the New York Islanders made their back-to-back journeys to the Japanese Convention Remaining in 2020 and 2021, we heard so much about how the membership’s bodily taking part in fashion was a key to their success.
Since Lou Lamoriello took the reins as GM in 2018, the Islanders rank third in hits-per-60-minutes of play at 25.62. The main group over that span is the Ottawa Senators, at 26.67 — however they have not made the playoffs since 2017. Second place goes to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who’re a perennial playoff participant however have not been out of the primary spherical because the 2017-18 season.
Taking a look at hits in particular person seasons, it looks like physicality is on the rise lately. Of the six highest-hitting groups since 2018, 4 are from this yr: Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Nashville. The 2021-22 Senators and Predators spherical out that high six.
Surprisingly, regardless of the undisputed toughness of their coach, Craig Berube, the St. Louis Blues ranked twenty fourth in hits-per-60 in the course of the 2018-19 season earlier than they received the Stanley Cup. The Tampa Bay Lightning had been extra bodily, rating seventh in 2020 and ninth in 2021, and the Colorado Avalanche ranked twenty third within the 2021-22 common season.
This season’s high 4 hitting groups are all at the moment outdoors a playoff spot by means of video games performed on Monday, Jan. 16 (Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Nashville). The Islanders, Rangers, Capitals and Lightning are the heaviest hitters who’re in playoff positions.
And whereas Vancouver’s Luke Schenn leads the league in hits up to now this season (201), he performs extra minutes as a defenseman than the league’s most bodily forwards. The highest three gamers in hits-per-60 with no less than 20 video games performed this season are Nicolas Deslauriers of Philadelphia (23.59), Kurtis MacDermid of Colorado (23.56) and Michael Pezzetta of Montreal (21.52).
Coach John Tortorella is thought for asking his gamers to dam pictures, and this yr is not any completely different. With 17.14 blocks per 60, Tortorella’s 2022-23 Philadelphia Flyers rank second within the class because the 2018-19 season.
The group forward of the Flyers could shock you, although: Bruce Cassidy’s 2022-23 Vegas Golden Knights, with 17.97 blocks per 60.
With their many accidents, particularly on the again finish and in purpose, the Golden Knights’ dedication to shot-blocking could also be born extra out of necessity than a stylistic desire. Cassidy’s Boston Bruins maxed out at 13.22 blocks per 60 within the first yr of his tenure, in 2016-17, and are literally blocking extra this yr than they ever did for him, at 14.15.
In mixture, because the 2018-19 season, the New York Islanders have been the NHL’s high shot-blocking group, at 15.48 blocks per 60. They’re adopted by the Ottawa Senators, Golden Knights, Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks.
Once they received the Stanley Cup in 2019, the St. Louis Blues ranked 18th in blocks per 60 (13.71). The Lightning had been twenty third in 2019-20 (12.68) and twenty eighth in 2020-21 (11.42), whereas Colorado ranked twentieth final season (13.09).
Individually, Alec Martinez of Vegas leads the league this season in whole blocks (141) and blocks-per-60 (10.74). He is adopted by Joel Edmundson of Montreal (8.59) and Philadelphia’s Rasmus Ristolainen (8.00).
This stat looks like it needs to be tightly correlated to success, proper? Maintain the giveaways to a minimal, and experience that wave to a deep playoff run.
The Minnesota Wild purchased into that mindset and lead the NHL with simply 5.51 giveaways per 60 this yr. And whereas the Colorado Avalanche are a non-playoff group proper now, it is not a stretch to imagine that their Stanley Cup pedigree is a part of why they’re second at 5.89.
However 5 of the subsequent six groups are additionally non-playoff golf equipment, and this a part of the listing could blow your thoughts. Subsequent lowest on the giveaway scale in 2022-23, so as: Buffalo, Columbus, Vegas, Detroit, Vancouver and Philadelphia.
Does a bigger pattern dimension ship outcomes that make extra sense? To a point.
The Wild have additionally had the fewest giveaways-per-60 general because the 2018-19 season, and we have got Cup-winners Colorado, Tampa Bay and St. Louis in second, third and sixth, respectively. The opposite two groups within the combine are a bit odd, although: Seattle and Columbus.
Taking a look at particular person seasons, the Blues had the third-fewest giveaways per 60 after they received the Cup in 2018-19. The Lightning had the second-fewest in 2019-20 and had been first in 2020-21, and the Avalanche completed second — behind the opposite finalist, the Lightning — in 2021-22.
It seems this stat correlates pretty near championship success in comparison with hits and blocks. Which will bode effectively for Dean Evason and the Wild this spring.
On the flip facet: it is typically mentioned that the league’s high offensive gamers give the puck away so much as a result of they’ve it on their stick so usually.
This yr’s stats bear that out. Amongst gamers with no less than 20 video games performed, David Pastrnak leads the league with 4.72 giveaways per 60. He is adopted by Evgeni Malkin (4.39) and Mathew Barzal (4.29).
Three gamers with no less than 20 video games have not been charged with a single giveaway this season — though all play comparatively restricted roles: Patric Hornqvist of Florida, Brendan Lemieux of Los Angeles and Rasmus Asplund of Buffalo.
Did a participant give the puck away, or have it taken from him? In puck battles, the distinction will be very refined.
However assertiveness appears to pay dividends. The six high groups in takeaways per 60 this season are all in playoff spots.
The Lightning cleared the path at 9.86, adopted by the Kraken, Oilers, Golden Knights, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.
On the different finish of the spectrum, the Los Angeles Kings surprisingly have the fewest takeaways per 60 this season (4.71), however the subsequent 4 squads on the backside of the listing are all non-playoff golf equipment. So as from the underside upward: Detroit, Arizona, Philadelphia and Anaheim.
We see a little bit of a special story among the many leaders if we have a look at the takeaways-per-60 because the 2018-19 season: Vegas leads the best way at 9.20, adopted by Carolina, Florida, San Jose and Calgary. The underside of the listing seems to be fairly just like this season: Los Angeles with the fewest, then Detroit, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Anaheim.
Of their Stanley Cup seasons: St. Louis was 18th in takeaways-per-60 in 2018-19, Tampa Bay was seventeenth in 2019-20 and twenty ninth in 2020-21, and Colorado was eleventh in 2021-22.
So whereas takeaways do not appear to correlate very intently with Stanley Cup success, it is attention-grabbing this appears to be a newly acquired talent for the always-dangerous Lightning this season.
The people who’re tops at takeaways this season: Warren Foegele of Edmonton (4.2 takeaways per 60), adopted by the Lightning’s Brandon Hagel (4.08) and one other Oiler, Derek Ryan (3.94).
Evgeni Malkin additionally deserves a shoutout for coming fourth within the takeaway stat at 3.55. Presumably, that helps steadiness out his giveaways from him.