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Hockey Analytics

Patrick Kane & Shot Assists

by Gus Katsaros
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

If it hasn’t become clear yet, it likely will be evident soon that the 2016-17 edition of the Chicago Blackhawks isn’t the same powerhouse of the Stanley Cup contention and Championship years. One major injury to a star player like Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Artemi Panarin, Marian Hossa or God forbid Patrick Kane, could be enough to miss the playoffs.

 

Kane, the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner was the only player to eclipse the 100 point plateau, shaking off the second half resurgence of Sidney Crosby – and dodging some competition due to the injury to Connor McDavid.

 

McDavid was predicted to win the Art Ross Trophy winning the scoring crown in ’16-17 with 95 points when I was putting together the McKeen’s Hockey Yearbook. Kane’s predictions fell back to the low 90’s and even possibly into the high 80’s if injury and teammate contributions take tolls.

 

A 100 point season in today’s NHL is next to impossible, requiring severe circumstances to propel a player over the lofty plateau.

 

For Kane, it took a magnificent 26-game point streak (26-16-24-40) with 15 5v4 points and 25 – almost a point per game at 5v5. He put up 60 points in the remaining 51 games (51-27-33-60), more in line with an Art Ross candidate, but not at a 100 point pace (an all-situation 1.17 points per game down from the 1.43 during the streak (0.64/0.73 at 5v5).

 

We can mark the difference in the pre and post streak using 5v5 shot differentials. The table below shows how the point streak helped to eclipse 100 points. The first column (HDSCF Rel – on-ice high danger scoring chances for relative to when off the ice) shows a variance mimicked in the SCF Rel (Scoring chances for). The scoring chance area extends to the face off dots and merges down to the two posts in the goal crease. The high danger scoring chance are extends outwards from the goal crease up the slot line to the face off dots.

 

Streak

HDSCF Rel

SCF Rel

CF%

During

12.94

6.19

56.10

Post

-10.90

-3.53

50.19

 

The disparity in HDSCF Rel/SCF Rel are duplicated in the Passing Project data and offer a working theory for the change in scoring rates. Did Kane do something different? Coaching staff implement tweaks in systems positioning?

 

Project founder Ryan Stimson has expanded his own research pressing boundaries and advancing the understanding behind meshing data and video in all three zones: defensive, offensive and through the neutral zone. It would be worthwhile to explore these posts to experience the potential knowledge to attain for those trying to understand the game at a more minute level.

 

In 2015-16, the project tracked 76 Chicago games. In 38 games Patrick Kane carried the puck into the zone and through a solo rush directed a solo shot attempt on goal (most shots hit the net). We can isolate the last pass prior to the shot event coined by Stimson a ‘shot assist’. I’ve described the concept of solo shots in the excerpt below:

 

I define a solo rush as when a player receives a pass originating from the defensive or neutral zone and leads to a shot on goal without another pass event.


Patrick Kane: Shot Assists and Strategic Shifts


The table below represents the period of time for games tracked up until the end of Kane’s 26-game point streak with dates in the first column (the first record is just prior to the streak). Results are split between two areas:

 

-           shot attempts from the scoring chance home run plate area,

-          outside of the scoring area.

 

The Shot Assist Zone is the location of the final pass prior to the shot attempts (11 are attempts, with 55 shots). Anything with a ‘d’ preceding originated from the defensive zone and ‘n’ from the neutral zone. An ‘l, ‘r’, or ‘c’ denotes the lane of ice, left, right or center.

 

A takeaway here is the amount of solo efforts on passes starting from the defensive zone with a shot taken from a scoring chance area and the lack of shot events from outside of the scoring chance area. My first glance interpretation would be that Kane cheated and flew the defensive zone more regularly than after the point streak. He also seems to the recipient of passes from a breakout play, with the final pass coming from the neutral zone. This also shows over the second half.

 

The split between scoring/non scoring chance shots of 11-10 fell in favor of scoring chances but balanced overall.

 

Patrick Kane

Scoring Chance

Outside Scoring Chance Area

Shot Assist Zone

dc

dl

dr

dsc

dsl

dsr

nc

nl

nr

nsc

nsr

dc

dl

dr

dsc

dsr

nc

nl

nr

nsr

10/10/2015

1

         

 

       

 

       

 

     

10/17/2015

 

   

1

   

 

       

 

       

 

     

10/24/2015

 

       

1

 

       

 

       

 

     

10/29/2015

 

         

 

1

     

 

       

1

     

11/4/2015

 

         

1

       

 

       

 

     

11/8/2015

 

         

1

       

 

       

 

     

11/12/2015

 

         

 

       

 

       

 

1

   

11/14/2015

 

1

       

 

       

 

       

 

     

11/21/2015

 

         

 

 

1

   

 

       

2

     

11/25/2015

 

     

1

 

 

       

 

       

1

     

11/27/2015

 

 

1

     

 

       

 

       

 

     

11/28/2015

 

         

 

       

 

       

1

     

12/1/2015

 

         

 

       

1

       

 

     

12/6/2015

 

         

 

       

 

       

1

   

1

12/13/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the streak, there’s a reduction of shot quantity from the scoring chance area, with heavier rotation from the outside. Notably, shots from the scoring area are not as prevalent when the shot assist originated from the defensive zone.

 

Here, a data analyst could inform video coaches to look for where he may have been flying the zone early, gaining the offensive blueline and charging towards the net. Perhaps teams did just that and neutralized that play. I haven’t done the required video to determine an outcome, but if there’s an enthusiastic Chicago writer, there’s an opportunity here to show strategical changes.

 

It could be as simple as a coaching staff implemented tweaks in breakouts that resulted in shots from shot assists originating in the defensive zone more from the outside.

 

Patrick Kane

Scoring Chance

Non Scoring Chance

Shot Assist Zone

dc

dl

dr

dsc

dsl

dsr

nc

nl

nr

nsc

nsr

dc

dl

dr

dsc

dsr

nc

nl

nr

nsr

12/15/2015

 

         

 

       

 

 

1

   

 

     

12/17/2015

 

2

       

 

       

 

       

 

     

12/29/2015

 

         

 

 

1

   

 

       

 

     

12/31/2015

 

         

 

       

1

   

1

 

 

     

1/5/2016

 

         

 

       

 

       

 

 

1

 

1/10/2016

 

         

 

 

1

   

 

       

 

     

1/12/2016

 

         

1

       

 

       

 

     

1/15/2016

1

         

 

       

 

       

 

     

1/17/2016

 

         

 

       

1

       

 

     

1/22/2016

 

         

 

       

 

1

   

1

 

     

1/26/2016

 

         

1

       

1

       

 

     

2/9/2016

 

         

 

       

 

1

     

 

     

2/17/2016

 

         

 

       

 

       

 

1

   

2/25/2016

 

         

 

       

1

       

1

     

2/28/2016

 

         

1

       

 

       

 

     

3/2/2016

 

         

 

1

     

 

       

 

     

3/3/2016

 

         

 

       

 

       

1

 

1

 

3/9/2016

 

         

 

       

 

       

1

     

3/14/2016

 

         

1

       

 

2

 

1

 

1

     

3/18/2016

1

         

 

     

1

 

       

 

 

1

 

3/27/2016

 

     

1

 

 

       

 

       

 

     

4/1/2016

 

         

 

1

     

 

       

 

     

4/9/2016

 

         

 

       

 

       

1

     

 

*****

Conclusion

 

Scoring rates have been healthy above season norms early in 2016-17 but a 100 point season will be a difficult plateau to achieve.  Best of luck to NHL players looking to bust through, they’ll need similar good fortune to duplicate and too lofty a goal for any player this season.

 

Where the streak ends may have signaled a change in systems philosophy that affected Kane, while returning to a more sustainable scoring pace, even as an Art Ross contender.

 

It will be interesting to contrast this with data from 2016-17 with a different Chicago team.

 

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