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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
|LAST||FIRST||START DATE||END DATE||TEAM||NUMBER|
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:
|@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!