Our friend Ryan Stimson is back with some of his neato passing stats stuff. He works for InLouWeTrust.com, or whatever they’re going to change their name to now. Follow him on Twitter @RK_stimp.
Hello Chicago fans! Congratulations on yet another Stanley Cup. As you may recall from my last trip over to the Indian, I have been leading a project on tracking passing statistics. I tracked about sixty of the Blackhawks games last season and have some help finishing up the rest of the schedule – Regular Season only. I wanted to dig into some of the data and share it with you all. Today’s focus with be Teuvo Teravainen.
A few words on Teuvo’s context before we begin. Since this represents the final forty-three games of the regular season, it’s important to note how he was deployed and the quality of his competition and teammates. Generally, zone starts and competition will wash out over the course of a season, but since we’re dealing with slightly over half-a-season, be sure to keep this mind. All data is from 5v5 situations.
Though, once we look at how he was deployed, we see that Teravainen faced weaker competition than most forwards, but his zone starts were right in line with most other Hawks forwards. It’s a similar picture for his the quality of his teammates. In short: Teravainen played against lower competition alongside lower teammates and faced no real extremes in deployment compared to most Hawks forwards. In fact, his most common line mates were Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell. Shaw and Bickell both saw their CF% (Corsi For Percentage) take a hit when apart from Teravainen. With that noted, let’s get to the fun part.
Teravainen was one of my favorite players to track. Goals and nifty passing plays are exciting, and Teuvo provided much excitement during Hawks games. We’ll begin with the most exciting of plays: Royal Road Attempts. Our project focused strictly on passes across the Royal Road and Teuvo was brilliant at this. Let’s start with looking at the on-ice numbers.
Editor’s Note: If you don’t hit the link, “Royal Road” is basically a line from the center of the goal through the tops of the circles, akin to the home-plate area.
This tells us that over the final forty-three games of the season, the Hawks generated more Royal Road attempts with Teravaninen on the ice than any other forward. How could this be? Well, the beauty of tracking passing data is we can precisely quantify just how involved a player was in specific offensive events. Essentially, we can take a player’s on-ice Royal Road figure and break it down into the method of their contributions (shot or pass). Let’s look at this chart again, but with individual production.
Wow! Teravainen contributes to a Royal Road event through his passing or shooting at a rate of 3.3 per sixty minutes. The blue bar represents the player’s overall contributions, the orange bar represents the player’s passing contributions, and the gray bar represents the player’s shooting contributions. We see that Teravainen does most of his Royal Road damage in setting up teammates, though he is able to get into position for a fair amount of his own Royal Road shot attempts.
Now let’s take a look at overall passing possession. You can think of this as “Passing Corsi,” right? All shot attempts preceded by passes are just Corsi restricted to shot attempts from passes. Got it? Great. So, looking at which players were on the ice for and against these types of shot attempts, we can evaluate them in the same way as we do Corsi. Now, why look at just passes? Well, the Blackhawks shot at 5.5% from shots that were not preceded by a pass last season and 7.6% from all shots preceded by passes. In fact, if you want to refine it even further, they shot 9.8% on shots preceded by multiple passes. Passing is an easy way to quantify shot quality. Forcing the goalie to move laterally and chase the puck is an obvious boost to goal-scoring. So, that’s why we focus on passes. Using these passing possession metrics, we can view them in relative forms as well.
In terms of passing possession, we find Teravainen sandwiched between Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, which is a good place to find oneself in charts. Now, in addition to categorizing shot attempts as Royal Road attempts, we also tracked passes leading to scoring chances. These were defined as passes made into the home plate area in front of goal. Let’s see how Teravainen fares there.
In terms of Scoring Chance passing possession, Teravainen leapfrogs Kane and sits atop the Chicago forwards. Similar to the Royal Road Contributions, we can get an idea of just how often Teuvo contributes to Scoring Chances. Using our passing data and War-on-Ice’s individual Scoring Chance numbers, we can calculate just how often a player attempts or generates a Scoring Chance.
So, Teuvo ranks third in total Scoring Chance Contributions per sixty minutes, behind Kane and Marian Hossa. That, again, is solid company.
It’s clear that Teuvo feasted on his competition and generated both quality and quantity, on par with most of Chicago’s top six forwards. The question heading into next season will be if he can continue to do so in a top six role himself. I see no reason why not. The level of competition will improve, but so will the caliber of his teammates. Or, perhaps Chicago will continue to roll Teuvo out and dominate the bottom six forwards. I hope we can continue to gather this data on the Blackhawks next season. If interested in tracking with me and my team, don’t hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading! Let me know what questions and comments you have.