Recently, I mentioned the large player tracking project I conducted last season with regard to a post on Shot Generation. It attracted some attention and several questions were posed that spurred me to do a post on this. Instead of focusing on the individual players in the project, I’ll focus on the overall information and the details that people seem to be interested in.

A quick explanation of the project: All even strength goals and assists for 72 forwards in the NHL were tracked to capture various information about scoring. The project included goals from the regular season and playoffs spanning from the 2012-13 season through the 2014-15 season. Ultimately, there were 7142 goals that were used to create this data. Some of the goals that were originally tracked (over 8000) were thrown out for various reasons such as goals scored a few seconds after a power play ended, goals on empty nets or with an extra attacker, etc. These are usually listed as even strength goals for NHL purposes, but the information collected would not have been technically even strength and thus was excluded. The players included in the study originated from every team in the league and are listed near the end of this post. Further, I had a lot of help doing this project from some amazing volunteers whom I have listed at the end as well. Thanks to their selfless efforts, a project of this scale was able to be carried out.

Among the pieces of information tracked about the 7142 goals in this study, was the method of offensive zone entry just prior to the goal. The time from the puck entering the offensive zone (crossing the blue line) until the goal was scored was also tracked by stop watch and recorded to the hundredth of a second, hereinafter called “zone time”. Below, I’ve broken down how many of the 7142 goals tracked were scored after the various types of zone entry methods and the zone time for those.

Please note that if the puck left the offensive zone for any reason, this was considered a new zone entry and so the zone time only reflects the period of offensive zone possession immediately prior to the goal. Faceoffs were treated as a new zone entry as well and do not include any period of offensive zone possession that may have led to the faceoff. *please click on the image to see a larger version*


Controlled Entries: The puck is carried or passed with a short tape to tape pass over the blue line into the offensive zone.

Uncontrolled Entries: The puck is dumped into the offensive zone and the attacking team must go on the forecheck to retrieve possession. This includes Dump Ins directly at the goalie (shots), tip ins (hard pass from the defensive zone that is tipped or deflected by a teammate in the neutral zone into the offensive zone), chip and chase entries (player bounces the puck off of the boards behind the defense and races to retrieve it).

Faceoff: The period of offensive zone possession immediately leading to the goal started with an offensive zone faceoff.

Turnover: When the defending team brought the puck back into their own defensive zone (often done to start a regroup or controlled breakout) and an attacking player was able to cause a turnover, the entry was recorded as a turnover entry. Zone time started from the moment the attacking team caused the turnover and gained possession of the puck, not at the time the defending player brought the puck back into his defensive zone.

turnover goals


There were 140 goals scored in the study by turnover entries. These represent the smallest percentage of the overall number. The surprise and confusion created right after the turnover is evident in the density of the goals scored within a few seconds of the turnover occurring.

faceoff goals


There were 819 goals scored as a result of the offensive zone possession starting with a faceoff during the study. The highest peak on the graph is at four seconds after the faceoff with a fairly steep drop off after eleven seconds had passed.

uncontrolled goals


There were 1601 goals scored as the result of uncontrolled zone entries in the study. It takes a few seconds for the goals to start their climb due to the attacking team having to retrieve the puck, but here again, the sooner the better in terms of catching the defending team in a vulnerable spot to score a goal. The longer period required to retrieve the puck also likely explains the the span of seconds from the entry in which goals were frequently scored.

controlled goals


There were 4582 goals scored off of controlled zone entries in the study. The first six seconds of zone time accounted for 3034 of those goals.

goals entry time


When you see the zone entry types together in one place, the scale of the number of goals scored within the first several seconds of zone time from controlled entries becomes even more startling.


The average zone time for each type of zone entry is to the left. Controlled entries resulted in the fastest zone time while uncontrolled had the longest. This makes sense given that a puck dumped into the offensive zone needs to be retrieved before the attacking team can start taking shots at the net.

Because passes and shots during the zone time prior to the goal were tracked, we can compare controlled and uncontrolled entries by average passes and shots prior to the goal. The graph below shows the average passes and shots for controlled versus uncontrolled entries prior to the goal being scored.

avg pass shot con uncon


One of the questions brought up about the goal times asked if goals off of faceoffs were throwing off (making shorter) the percentage of goals scored within 6 seconds of the zone entry. I broke faceoff goals out and reran the numbers. The table shows the running totals and their percentage of the total number of goals not including the faceoff goals and of the total number of goals overall (including faceoff goals).


As you can see, when we look at only goals scored from controlled, uncontrolled and turnover entries, 48.5% of all of the goals (7142) tracked in the study were scored within six seconds of the zone entry. 59.7% were scored within nine seconds of the zone entry. If we exclude faceoff goals all together (from running total and overall total), we see that 54.8% of the goals were scored within six seconds of the zone entry. That number jumps to 67.5% when we look at non-faceoff goals scored within nine seconds or less after the zone entry.

If we separate the goals out by entry type and look at those percentages over time, we get a better understanding of how the goals were allocated.


As you can see from the table, goals scored within six seconds of a controlled zone entry accounted for 42.5% of all of the goals tracked in the study. Goals scored within six seconds of an offensive zone faceoff accounted for only 4.2% of all the goals tracked. When we move the zone time up to nine seconds, almost half of all of the goals tracked in the study came from controlled entries. Overall, controlled entries resulted in 64.2% of the goals tracked in the study, while uncontrolled entries led to 22.4%. Faceoffs only accounted for 11.5% of the goals in the study.


Goals scored over 30 seconds after the zone entry represented a very small portion of the total goals tracked at 4.1%.

The forwards whose goals and assists were used in this study include:

OVECHKIN ALEX 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 WSH 8
TLUSTY JIRI 1/1/2013 2/24/2015 CAR 19
TLUSTY JIRI 2/26/2015 7/1/2015 WPG 91
WHEELER BLAKE 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 WPG 26
LADD ANDREW 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 WPG 16
SEDIN HENRIK 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 VAN 33
SEDIN DANIEL 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 VAN 22
KESSEL PHIL 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 TOR 81
VAN RIEMSDYK JAMES 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 TOR 21
STAMKOS STEVEN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 T.B 91
CALLAHAN RYAN 1/1/2013 3/2/2014 NYR 24
CALLAHAN RYAN 3/6/2014 7/1/2015 T.B 24
TARASENKO VLADIMIR 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 STL 91
LEHTERA JORI 10/1/2014 7/1/2015 STL 12
SCHWARTZ JADEN 1/1/2013 7/1/2014 STL 9
SCHWARTZ JADEN 10/1/2014 7/1/2015 STL 17
COUTURE LOGAN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 S.J 39
THORNTON JOE 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 S.J 19
CROSBY SIDNEY 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 PIT 87
MALKIN EVGENI 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 PIT 71
PERRON DAVID 1/1/2013 7/1/2013 STL 57
PERRON DAVID 10/1/2013 12/31/2014 EDM 57
PERRON DAVID 1/3/2015 7/1/2015 PIT 39
VORACEK JACUB 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 PHI 93
GIROUX CLAUDE 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 PHI 28
TURRIS KYLE 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 OTT 7
RYAN BOBBY 1/1/2013 7/1/2013 ANA 9
RYAN BOBBY 10/1/2013 7/1/2015 OTT 6
NASH RICK 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 NYR 61
ST. LOUIS MARTIN 1/1/2013 3/4/2014 T.B 26
ST. LOUIS MARTIN 3/5/2014 7/1/2015 NYR 26
STEPAN DEREK 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 NYR 21
GRABOVSKI MIKHAIL 1/1/2013 7/1/2013 TOR 84
GRABOVSKI MIKHAIL 10/1/2014 7/1/2014 NYI 84
GRABOVSKI MIKHAIL 10/1/2014 7/1/2015 WSH 84
OKPOSO KYLE 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 NYI 21
TAVARES JOHN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 NYI 91
NEAL JAMES 1/1/2013 7/1/2014 PIT 18
NEAL JAMES 10/1/2014 7/1/2015 NSH 18
FORSBERG FILIP 4/14/2013 7/1/2015 NSH 9
PACIORETTY MAX 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 MTL 67
GALCHENYUK ALEX 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 MTL 27
PARISE ZACH 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 MIN 11
VANEK THOMAS 1/1/2013 10/26/2013 BUF 26
VANEK THOMAS 10/29/2013 3/2/2014 NYI 26
VANEK THOMAS 3/6/2014 7/1/2014 MTL 20
VANEK THOMAS 10/1/2014 7/1/2015 MIN 26
POMINVILLE JASON 1/1/2013 4/2/2013 BUF 29
POMINVILLE JASON 4/4/2013 7/1/2015 MIN 29
GABORIK MARIAN 1/1/2013 4/1/2013 NYR 10
GABORIK MARIAN 4/4/2013 3/4/2014 CBJ 10
GABORIK MARIAN 3/6/2014 7/1/2015 L.A 12
CARTER JEFF 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 L.A 77
KOPITAR ANZE 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 L.A 11
HUBERDEAU JONATHAN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 FLA 11
HALL TAYLOR 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 EDM 4
NUGENT-HOPKINS RYAN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 EDM 93
EBERLE JORDAN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 EDM 14
DATSYUK PAVEL 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 DET 13
ZETTERBERG HENRIK 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 DET 40
NYQUIST GUSTAV 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 DET 14
SEGUIN TYLER 1/1/2013 7/1/2013 BOS 19
SEGUIN TYLER 10/1/2013 7/1/2015 DAL 91
SPEZZA JASON 1/1/2013 7/1/2014 OTT 19
SPEZZA JASON 10/1/2014 7/1/2015 DAL 90
BENN JAMIE 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 DAL 14
DUCHENE MATT 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 COL 9
IGINLA JAROME 1/1/2013 3/26/2013 CGY 12
IGINLA JAROME 3/30/2013 7/1/2013 PIT 12
IGINLA JAROME 10/1/2013 7/1/2014 BOS 12
IGINLA JAROME 10/1/2014 7/1/2015 COL 12
LANDESKOG GABRIEL 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 COL 92
KANE PATRICK 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 CHI 88
TOEWS JONATHAN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 CHI 19
MONAHAN SEAN 10/1/2013 7/1/2015 CGY 23
GAUDREAU JOHNNY 4/13/2014 7/1/2014 CGY 53
GAUDREAU JOHNNY 10/1/2014 7/1/2015 CGY 13
HUDLER JIRI 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 CGY 24
JOHANSEN RYAN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 CBJ 19
ANISIMOV ARTEM 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 CBJ 42
SKINNER JEFF 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 CAR 53
STAAL ERIC 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 CAR 12
GIRGENSONS ZEMGUS 10/1/2013 7/1/2015 BUF 28
KANE EVANDER 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 WPG 9
BERGERON PATRICE 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 BOS 37
LUCIC MILAN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 BOS 17
KREJCI DAVID 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 BOS 46
KESLER RYAN 1/1/2013 7/1/2014 VAN 17
KESLER RYAN 10/1/2014 7/1/2015 ANA 17
GETZLAF RYAN 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 ANA 15
PERRY COREY 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 ANA 10
VERMETTE ANTOINNE 1/1/2013 7/1/2014 PHX 50
VERMETTE ANTOINNE 10/1/2014 2/28/2015 ARI 50
VERMETTE ANTOINNE 3/2/2015 7/1/2015 CHI 80
HENRIQUE ADAM 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 N.J 14
BJUGSTAD NICK 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 FLA 27
JOHANSSON MARCUS 1/1/2013 7/1/2015 WSH 90
JOHNSON TYLER 1/1/2013 7/1/2013 T.B 63
JOHNSON TYLER 10/1/2013 7/1/2015 T.B 9

While I have thanked the volunteers who devoted their time to the player tracking project through email, in person, etc., I want to publicly acknowledge them here:

@bunbronett Christopher Krista @kasadorian
@CaniacCaz Claire Grabinski @claire_inet Kyle Morton @PuckHeadKyle914
@EojBernier Dani Sdao @dfs78 Liz Stevens
@la_kanga Daniel Grossberg Mack Irwin @mackirwin
@lzbthmcneill David Marshall Ottina @DOYMarshall
@PYPCorwin Dimitri Sega @mitsega Massaro family @massaro_sam
@RealScarlett01 Emma Kaiser @triona05 Massaro family @mqmassaro
@schatzipage Eric Hein @EricHein09 Matthew Szaro @szarom1992
@soylentgibby Erik Burgio @erikburgio Max Lyons @maxl100
@tchietao Evelyn McLean @mcleanevelyn Michael Clifford
AJ Bruhn @semajruhtra Gabe Litvin @gabelitvin Michelle
Alan Hamilton @alanhamilton George Guarracino Nick Guarracino @nguarracino
Alan Wells @loserpoints Greg Boysen @GregBoysen Peter @blueliner27
Alessandro D. @adepalma29 Helen @helenskiii Phil Kallas @angryfeels
Alex Ellenthal @ajellenthal Jaryd Rachael @waitcho15
Alex Pecoulas @alexpecoulas Javier Alonso @Javs42 Raskolnikov @backfromsiberia
Alexandra Mandrycky @alexgoogs Jay Fairbairn @jjaybs Riley @rileygazz
Alison Lukan @AlisonL Jeremy Gritten @jeremygritten Rob
Amanda Carey @TQtangerine Jess Schmidt @2_for_slashing Robb Tufts @robbtuftshockey
Amanda Fleming @5goodgears Jessica Fong @jwfong Ron Bellis @ronipedia
Andrei Jim @habsinottawa Sam Solomon
Andrew Berland @anews18 Joanna Farmer @furball13 Sami Kruger @arcaneaccount
Ben Julie @dancetheskies Sara Garcia @sara_lnr
Bob Roberts @BobRbrts Justin @jl_backflip Sean @gradhawksblog
Bonnie Grossman @bgdesignodyssey Kate Cimini @k_cimini Stephen
Brenda @bjwillo Kevin Riemer @KevinRiemer Taso Georgakis @tasog
Cary Kim Daloisio @deligirl83 Timothy Modjeski @TimModjeski
Charlie Roumeliotis @CRoumeliotis Kris @trashnewtown Zac Stringer @hockeyupnow

Plus an additional 8 volunteers who did not wish for their names to be publicly shared.

Thank you again!


6 thoughts on “ZONE TIME & GOALS

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