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 Yanni Gourde
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Hockey Analytics

Offensive Drivers

by Gus Katsaros

It’s no surprise for my fondness of using IPP as a lead performance indicator. In this piece I’m using it to identify players driving scoring performance over the first quarter – most teams have played close to 20 games already. Individual Player Percentages (IPP for short expanded in more detail here), but as a brief description, IPP is the percentage of points players earned on goals scored while on the ice.

 

Any individual raw statistic will inherit innate imperfections and shouldn’t be solely used for analysis. Its strength comes from applying it in conjunction with some other stats. A high IPP is a good indication of that a player is a key contributor to offense while on the ice. Paired with individual shooting percentage and on-ice shooting percentage – indicative of team shooting success while on the ice – as we will see here, IPP adds context of player involvement in scoring chance generation.

 

 

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MONTREAL CANADIENS

 

A practical example exists with the Montreal Canadiens player Max Domi. Skating at 5v5, he’s scored seven goals and put up 17 points while firing an inflated and unsustainable 22.6%. With Domi on the ice, the Habs are firing 13.8%. He’s earned a point on 89.47% of goals scored. All three factors are fairly high and point to an inevitable slow down as the percentages regress to a more supportable level.

 

***Data provided by Natural Stat Trick

 

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Paul Byron eked on to this list before getting hurt. Tomas Tatar with a whopping 88.24% earned points rate (another way to phrase IPP), he has been paired with Brendan Gallagher (IPP – 70.6%) and Philip Danault (56.3%). Those players have had less of an impact overall to even strength scoring. Domi has been paired with Jonathan Drouin and Andrew Shaw of late, while Drouin, has an IPP of 64.3%.

 

Rookie, Jesperi Kotkaniemi is firing at more sustainable rates and providing offense on approximately 77% of goals scored. The youngster has fit in with a retooling Habs team and is leading the offensive not merely as a passenger.

 

In fact, all of these players are driving offense and getting favourable events that have contributed to higher individual shooting percentages. When these events appear less commonly going forward than during the first quarter, unsustainable rates will fall into place and follow suit.

 

In the table on the far right is a breakdown of shot attempts per 60 minutes (CF), scoring chance shooting rates (SCF) and High Danger (HDCF) scoring chances. Getting closer to the net, and in prime scoring areas increases scoring dramatically – the base theory of expected goals – while shots from distances outside of scoring chance home plate area aren’t as likely to end up as a goal.

 

Of every 10.12 shot attempts by Domi, 6.68 originated from the scoring chance area and 2.8 from the high danger scoring chance area. Higher shooting percentages can be attributed to a player’s willingness to get to scoring chance/high danger scoring areas. Almost 28% of Domi’s individual shots per 60 minutes (2.8) were generated from high danger scoring area, with 70% from the scoring chance area itself.

 

EDMONTON OILERS

 

The Oilers should be the epitome of individual performance. A team that performs so well with Connor McDavid – and so poorly without, it’s evident who is driving scoring. It’s no secret McDavid is included on this list, his numbers are more normalized than his teammates finding success over the first quarter of the NHL.

 

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McDavid has recently been reunited with Leon Draisaitlwho spent most of the season riding shotgun with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (IPP – 66.7%). With eight goals on the season and a point on 80% of the goals scored its clear Draisaitl was driving offense on that line. Firing at an unsustainable 24.2% with the team finding success 9.9% with him on the ice. Of his total shot attempt volume, 44.9% were from high danger scoring chances per 60 minutes. Capitals castaway, Alex Chiasson with points on 85.7% of on-ice goals scored had to score five of them himself while posting an iHDCF that is half of Draisaitl’s.

 

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

 

Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point – after an eye-popping natural hat trick last week, has fired 41.67% of his shot attempts per 60 from High Danger scoring areas. It’s also telling just how closely related his shot attempts are to the attempts from scoring chance areas (12.86 overall with 10.29 from scoring chance areas.)

 

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Point has played almost exclusively with Yanni Gourde on a productive pairing, with both players contributing fairly equally to scoring. The same goes for Stamkos and Kucherov who are showing a lower on-ice shooting percentage – and a reduced iHDCF/60 rate in comparison with the other line. One element of Stamkos game that really set him apart was the net front presence and willingness to get to dirty areas. Kucherov as a playmaker and a finisher works from a different distance.

 

Below is the list compiling players with an IPP of 75% or greater across the entire NHL (does not include the Edm/S.J game from Tuesday night. This is a very fluid list that will change over the course of a season with different players hitting stride in different quarters. Highlighted are players with a shooting percentage greater than 20%.

 

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TEAM LEVEL SHOT ATTEMPTS

 

The players on this list make up a collective that can be aggregated or averaged at the team level for the underlying players. There isn’t a practical application for IPP at the team level, but using this group of player averages for shot attempts, scoring chances and high danger chances per 60 minutes.

 

The last two columns represent the percentage of scoring chances and high danger chances representative in the team’s total shot attempts. The color coding indicates highs and lows among the categories. The more blue the color, the higher the value, the more red the value, the lower the value.

 

Of note in this table are the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, two clubs at the opposite end of the spectrum in the standings, with a distinct difference highlighted here. Chicago is represented by two players, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. The Sharks list Antti Suomela, Joe Pavelski, Evander Kane and Logan Couture.

 

Both teams representation generate lots of shot attempts every 60 minutes, with San Jose’s foursome posting 16.52 iCF and the Blackhawks topping the league at 18.89. The Sharks generate 5.15 attempts/60 from high danger areas, representing 31.21% of their total attempts. Chicago’s duo driving offense on the other hand, generate 3.72 per 60 minutes, representing the second lowest percentage in the NHL (16.84%).

 

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A smattering of clubs have only one player appearing on this list. Ottawa, Minnesota, Arizona and Los Angeles only have one player contributing to more than 75% of on-ice goals. Aside from the Senators who have had some balanced scoring, the other three teams have struggled to score goals, with the Kings making a coaching change as a result of their ineffectiveness.

 

 

Gus Katsaros
Gus Katsaros is the Pro Scouting Coordinator with McKeen’s Hockey, publishers of industry leading scouting and fantasy guide, the McKeen’s Annual Hockey Pool Yearbook. He also contributes to popular blog MapleLeafsHotStove.com ... he can be followed on Twitter @KatsHockey