Statistics that may Surprise you, or not

Mathieu Darche is a surprisingly cerebral hockey player, leading to very few mistakes on the ice. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

You suck Boucher! Just thought I'd get it out of the way. I've come to learn that all information is subject to other people's perceptions; and I'm okay with that. The whole reason I began working on my player tracking system was to challenge my own perception of how players performed. Don't get me wrong, as much as I love numbers and the story they tell, I know there's more to the game than just statistics. The numbers only tell part of the story, and the story has more variables than I can count;

Trust me, I've tried.

I use video to track every puck-possession event during a game. My goal here is to simply touch on some of the statistics I gathered while tracking all 82 Montreal Canadiens games last season. Some of these statistics may surprise you; others may seem obvious.

Josh Gorges led all Habs with an even-strength ratio of 2.62 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. He was followed by defense-partner PK Subban; with an ES ratio of 2.49 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. Subban's ratio was just above both Andrei Markov's and Tomas Kaberle's shared ratio of 2.48.

Among forwards, Mathieu Darche had the top even-strength ratio, as he produced 2.11 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play.

David Desharnais was the only Canadiens forward with significant PP time, and a powerplay ratio above 3 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. Desharnais also led all forwards with an 82% success-rate when attempting powerplay passes in the offensive-zone.

Tomas Kaberle led all Habs defensemen with a powerplay ratio of 3.94 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. He and PK Subban completed 88% of their offensive-zone passes while on the powerplay. Andrei Markov was successful with 93% of his o-zone PP passes, but played far less powerplay minutes than both Kaberle and Subban.

Yannick Weber led all defensemen in success-rate when attempting to get point shots on the powerplay through to the net. Number 68 was successful with 58% of his shots. Subban was able to get 45% of his shots through, while only 32% of Kaberle's point shots made it through to the net; lowest among defensemen.

Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller had the team's highest short-handed ratio. Plekanec made 2.21 successful plays for every 1 unsuccessful play, while Eller made 2.18 successful short-handed plays for every 1 unsuccessful play. Eller recovered 51 loose-pucks in the defensive-zone while short-handed, while Plekanec's recovered an incredible 118; only Subban and Gorges recovered more.

Raphael Diaz had the top offensive-zone passing-percentage last season. Diaz was successful with 72% of his o-zone passes at even-strength. Current Nashville Predator Hal Gill was second with a 71% success-rate. Ryan White had the top offensive-zone passing-percentage among forwards (69%), but played far fewer games than David Desharnais; who led all other forwards with a success-rate of 65%.

Kaberle led all defensemen with a 77% success-rate for d-zone pass-attempts, while fellow punching bag Scott Gomez led all forward with a d-zone passing-percentage of 76%. Plekanec had the best neutral-zone passing success-rate among forwards, while Markov led all d-men.

In terms of raw numbers, PK Subban completed 1302 of 1735 defensive-zone passes last season. He blocked or intercepted 168 opposition passes, and recovered 685 loose-pucks; all this just in the defensive-zone. Lars Eller completed 347 defensive-zone passes. Eller completed more d-zone passes than any other forward (not named Plekanec) even attempted.

Erik Cole was successful with 188, and failed with 185 of his attempts to beat opposing players 1on1 (deke) in the offensive-zone. Max Pacioretty successfully dumped the puck into the offensive-zone 284 times to lead all players. He also recovered an incredible 483 loose-pucks in the offensive-zone; also a team-best.

More numbers (including graphs) from the Canadiens 2011-12 season can be found here.

An explanation of what I do, and how I do it can be found here.

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