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USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS
Analytics in hockey have been growing rapidly over the last few years but there’s still a long way to go – particularly in junior hockey and with prospects.
While there are some good websites (notably Prospect-Stats.com) out there that provide more insight into what really is going on in the prospect world, there is essentially nothing available when it comes to underlying numbers on a game-by-game basis at the CHL level.
Last season I did track a fair amount of junior and college games, which allowed me to share (for the most part) small samples of numbers for many of the top draft eligible prospects. I was hoping to track a lot more this season but the streaming service I used folded about halfway through the season so I was only able to track nationally televised games down the stretch.
Nevertheless, tracking is a time consuming process and I’m fairly content with the information I was able to gather throughout the season even though it’s a little top heavy.
What Can The Numbers Tell Us?
While for most of the players I tracked there isn’t enough data available to make any dramatic conclusions, this can help give us an idea of how Player Y was utilized by his team, Player Y’s ability to drive play and why Player Y produced as much/as little as they did.
For example, it’s tougher for a player with a lot of defensive zone starts to produce offense than a player who regularly starts in the offensive zone. If Player Y is being spoon fed defensive zone starts his ability to put up points is being hindered.
In terms of zone entries if a player generates a lot of controlled entries on a per game basis it’s probably a reasonable bet to assume he’s normally good through the neutral zone.
Notes & Numbers
A few notes before presenting the data:
– These numbers include all even-strength play (i.e. 5 v 5, 4 v 4, etc.).
– I didn’t combine international hockey to a player’s numbers in North America due to different levels of competition, larger ice surfaces, etc.
– SAF and SAA are shot attempts for and against. OZS, NZS, and DZS are offensive, neutral and defensive zone starts. CE are controlled entries.
– I added sorted stats below the raw table but it’s important to note that time on ice is a very important factor with those numbers.
Without further ado here are the zone start, zone entry and shot attempt numbers from the 2015-16 season for many of the top prospects coming out of the OHL.
Sorted by SAF/GP
Sorted by SAA/GP
Sorted by CE/GP
If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!