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The majority of Habs shot-attempts come off of controlled entries

The bulk of mainstream hockey analytics focuses on shot attempts and zone starts. These metrics are the foundation of most studies into the game; they are readily available, and have the ability (with an adequate sample size) to project future success. An important next step in analytics involves the study of how shot attempts are produced; more specifically what puck-possession events directly lead up to any attempted shot.

Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

Obviously, we are at the beginning of this next step in hockey analysis. The focus will grow as event data becomes readily available. Our system at Sportlogiq tracks every puck-possession event.

The position and result of any change in possession, attempt to remove possession, or attempt to make a play while in possession is recorded and time-stamped; allowing us to not only see how each player performed, but to also pull out any series of plays to see the results of those events. All event locations and results are easily viewed in a user-interface. Simply by clicking on any event we can see (among other things)  each player's success-rate and per-20 total for that event; both during that game and for the season.

Analyzing the plays leading up to all even-strength shot-attempts by the Montreal Canadiens during their current series with the Ottawa Senators is simply a matter of pulling out every shot attempt and viewing what events show up in those plays. For an event to be included it must be present in the series-of-possession leading up to any attempted shot that was a goal, saved by the goalie, blocked by an opposing player, or missed the net.

The Montreal Canadiens have had 203 even-strength shot attempts during this series.

  • 45.8% of plays leading up to those shot-attempts have included a controlled entry into the offensive-zone
  • 21.7% of the plays leading up to those shot-attempts have included a dump-in
  • 14.8% have come off of a face-off
  • 60.6% have included a loose-puck recovery in the offensive-zone
  • 35.5% have included a cycle pass
  • 13.3% have included a body or stick-check that removes possession from an opposition player
  • 7.4% have included a successful pass to the slot
  • 6.7% have included a blueline hold
  • 3.9% of the plays leading up to those shot-attempts have included a wall-deke
  • 2.9% of the plays have included a blocked opposition pass in the offensive-zone
  • In game one of the series only 28.5% of Montreal's even-strength shot-attempts involved a controlled offensive-zone entry, while 41.1% included a dump-in. Due to the increase in dump-ins, 73.2% of the shot-attempts in game 1 also included an offensive-zone loose-puck recovery, while 21.4% involved a successful body or stick-check. Also due to the increased percentage involving dump-ins, 42.9% involved a cycle pass.

    During game two, 64.2% of shot-attempts were produced off of a controlled offensive-zone entry, while only 8.9% came off of dump-ins. Also of note, 17.8% of all shot attempts were produced from a won face-off in the offensive-zone. Its equally Interestingly that despite the low dump-in percentage, 64.2% of all ES shot-attempts still involved an offensive-zone loose-puck recovery. Only 10.7% involved a stick or body-check, and 28.6% included a cycle pass.

    Game number three saw 49.5% of all shot-attempts come off of a controlled offensive-zone entry, while 17.5% involved a dump-in. An offensive-zone loose-puck recovery was present in 54.9% shot attempts, with blueline holds at only 4.4%. Face-off wins in the offensive-zone were present in 10.9% of all ES shot-attempts.

    This post simply represents a small portion of the data available. The next step in hockey analysis is to move beyond shot-attempts and focus on how shots are produced.  The only way to accurately do this is to break down all puck-possession events leading up to a shot-attempt. It's a win/win solution; providing game-changing data easily translatable to strategy, player evaluation, and player development.