Wednesday, August 17, 2016

10 New Statistics For The NHL

As we enter the modern age of hockey statistics analytics, we need to start tracking more detailed stats. The list of stats they track seems to grow every year, so here is my list of statistics I'd like to see. They may have already started counting some of these, and if so, great! The more things we count in hockey, the happier I'll be.

1) Passes: Okay NHL, it is 2016. Let's start counting passes for individual players with complete V incomplete. If we really care about "possession statistics" we should be counting passes. Logistically it's difficult to do because there are so many passes over the course of a hockey game, but we have the technology.

2) Shot Assists: Why not give out a maximum of 1 Shot Assist for every shot on goal? It would add a substantial amount of information to our "playmaker statistics". If we tracked shot assists and pass completion %, it would help us better identify the league's best playmakers.

3) Quality Scoring Chance Plus Minus: Instead of using Corsi (shots at net plus minus) as a defining measure value where all shots are created equal, it would be optimal to restrict it to shots on net from the highest percentage scoring locations. I don't currently know if anyone has thought of this idea before, but if not can we name it after me?

4) Face-off Assists: When a center wins a face-off because a teammate won the ensuing puck battle thus gaining possession, give the guy an assist. This could be classified as a possession statistic and would be valuable for teams seeking to improve their face-off win %.

5) Intercepted Passes: Both offensively and defensively, but I'm most curious to know which NHL players intercept the most passes. Interceptions is a big stat in the NFL that they could have in the NHL (though they happen with far greater frequency in hockey). This would also be a possession statistic

6) Hits Creating Turnovers: Why not give the NHL's heavy hitters their own possession statistic? If a hit creates a turnover, count it. The best kind of hit is the one that forces a change of puck possession and it would be great to know who in the NHL does this the most.

7) Forced Turnovers: For me the biggest problem with turnover stats is that they only count giveaways and takeaways when they should be counting every defensive play that forces a change of possession. They can come in different categories (takeaways, from hits, intercepted passes, etc) but all sum into a comprehensive Forced Turnover statistic. For each defensive forced turnover there is an offensive turnover that must also be counted.

8) Shot Coordinates: Turn the hockey rink into a Cartesian plane with an X and Y axis and let us know the X, Y coordinates of every shot on net. This will give us much better understanding of the quality of shot attempts. I'm sure this is already done somewhere; I just don't know where to find it.

9) Primary Assist: This one will have to be subjective, but only give out 1 Primary Assist for the one player who touched the puck in the sequence leading to a goal, deserving the most credit for the goal. The last player to touch the puck isn't always the guy who made the more difficult pass.

10) Extra Assists: We can stop at two assists for the purposes of Points, but you can still count all the other players who touched the puck in the sequence and put them in their own category. Technically they assisted on the goal and may have made a more difficult pass than the next guy. Why not let us know?

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