Todd Cordell

USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS

Tag Archives: Mitch Stephens

By The Numbers: Evaluating Prospects With Advanced Stats

Follow @toddcordell

Intro

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 CHLStats.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 and NCAA levels.

When I’m not scouting in a rink I often find myself watching junior hockey on TV whenever the opportunity presents itself. Since I’d watch a lot of games, anyway, I decided to start tracking numbers for prospects in the games televised.

Unfortunately it’s a very time consuming process so I only tracked a handful of players per game.

I didn’t start doing this until midway through the season so I missed the opportunity to track a good chunk of games, however, I tracked a fair amount in the latter half of the season and throughout the CHL playoffs.

What Can This Tell Us?

While 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 up ice 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 gained the line with possession 20 out of 25 times it’s probably a reasonable bet to assume he’s normally good through the neutral zone.

Notes & Numbers

A couple notes before presenting the data:

– These numbers include all even-strength play (i.e. 5 v 5, 4 v 4, etc.).

– I sorted by league to make all the data easier to navigate.

– I didn’t combine international hockey to a player’s numbers in North America due to different levels of competition, larger ice surfaces, etc.

– Memorial Cup numbers have been added to a player’s league numbers since the level of competition is very similar. That means Leon Draisaitl’s numbers, for example, include what he did against WHL teams as well as what he did at the Memorial Cup against OHL/QMJHL teams.

– SAF and SAA are shot attempts for and against. OZS, NZS, and DZS are offensive, neutral and defensive zone starts. CE are controlled entries and EA are entry attempts.

Without further ado here are the zone start, zone entry and shot attempt numbers from the 2014-15 season for many of the top prospects in North America.

OHL

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 7.54.00 PM

WHL

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 7.57.03 PM

QMJHL

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 6.57.53 PM

NCAA

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 3.58.14 PM

World Hockey Championships

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 4.00.52 PM

Under 18’s

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 3.59.56 PM

**

If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!

Advertisements

By The Numbers: Canada vs Switzerland – April 26, 2015

Follow @toddcordell

After losing their semi-final games to USA and Finland respectively, Canada and Switzerland squared off for the second time of the tournament with the Bronze medal on the line.

For Canada I tracked numbers for draft eligibles Jansen Harkins, Mathew Barzal, and Mitch Stephens, while I did the same for undersized draft eligible forward Denis Malgin of the Swiss.

Score: 5-2 Canada.

Zone Starts

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 5.22.45 PM

Denis Malgin started just two of 16 shifts in the offensive zone. He’s a good skater who is elusive in space, and excellent through the neutral zone, so it makes sense that he was relied upon to drive play up ice for the Swiss.

Jansen Harkins played primarily against Malgin’s line at even-strength, which explains the opposite zone start numbers.

Mathew Barzal and Mitch Stephens were asked to do the heavy lifting for Team Canada. They are certainly capable of doing so, as Barzal is excellent through the neutral zone, while Stephens is one of the best two-way forwards on the team.

Zone Entries

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 5.31.13 PM

After taking one glance at these numbers it’s not hard to see why Malgin started the majority of his shifts outside of the offensive zone. He’s a God when it comes to gaining the line with possession.

Harkins didn’t start a lot of shifts outside the offensive zone, but showed that he is quite capable of carrying the puck into the offensive zone safely.

Barzal was dominant through the neutral zone from his first shift – literally – until his last. He’s an excellent skater, is very patient and possesses very good puck skills, which makes him very tough to defend in space. The results can attest to that.

Stephens had a couple carry-ins, and also had an attempt broken up when he took a big hit at the line.

Shot Attempts

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 5.41.29 PM

All things considered it was hardly a poor effort from Malgin. He started the majority of his shifts outside of the offensive zone, and was playing against a much deeper, better team. It’s tough to come out even or better in possession under those circumstances.

It was by no means a dominant effort from Harkins given his zone starts, but he played a solid game. He did well in possession, showed the ability to drive play up ice, and he also picked up a goal early in the game.

Barzal didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he was excellent in this game. He was a force through the neutral zone, and drove possession at a high clip despite starting the majority of his shifts in his own zone.

Stephens’ numbers were lesser than Barzal’s in terms of shot attempts and zone entries, but he was still good in both aspects. It was a good final effort from Canada’s captain.

**

If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!

2015 NHL Draft Eligibles: OHL Split Stats – Part Two

Follow @toddcordell

With the OHL regular season recently coming to a close, I looked at the highest scoring draft eligible forwards the league has to offer, and charted their season splits (production in 1st half v 2nd half).

As I mentioned in that post, there is a lot that goes into a player’s performance – usage, linemates, playing through injuries, etc. – and there is more to a player’s game than just points, but those totals give you a good idea of how a player is performing.

In the first part of this mini-series I looked at the top tier of OHL draft eligible forwards in terms of point production. That group included the OHL’s three leading scorers in Connor McDavid, Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner, and a plethora of others producing at a point per game clip (or close to it).

To be fair to the rest of the group that didn’t produce as much due to usage, being lower on the depth chart, etc. I separated the next tier so we’re not comparing apples to oranges.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 8.36.31 PM

Playing for a very young team that doesn’t score much, Mitch Stephens did some nice things in the 2nd half of the season. He’s pretty highly regarded by most for his defensive work, so those point totals go along with that nicely.

Graham Knott is a big, strong player who possesses skill and – like the Niagara IceDogs as a whole – he really took off in the 2nd half. With solid point totals and a 6’3′ frame he will attract plenty of interest leading up to the draft.

Zach Senyshyn is another player who had a strong 2nd half. Playing for a powerhouse team that loaded up at the deadline in acquiring Justin Bailey (BUF) and Nick Ritchie (ANA), among others, his ice time isn’t as high as it normally would be, and he has still produced at a high rate. He plays with good linemates (the team is so deep it’s impossible not to) and sees easier matchups, but his numbers are still impressive.

Gustaf Franzen started the year producing at a respectable rate, but his production rate decreased pretty significantly in the 2nd half. Kitchener doesn’t score a lot, and based off a few viewings – including a game I tracked – he’s asked to handle some pretty tough minutes, which would certainly factor in.

Jeremiah Addison has been pretty consistent throughout the year, but his numbers have gone up in the 2nd half. Generally he plays with either Travis Konecny or Dante Salituro – both draft eligible players averaging more than a point per game – so that certainly helps.

Unsurprisingly, David Miller’s production also increased in the 2nd half. He went from playing somewhat limited minutes on a stacked Greyhounds team to being one of Kitchener’s top offensive players, so naturally his numbers improved by a decent margin.

Trent Fox’s numbers were pretty similar in both halves. During the 1st half he played limited minutes with a high-powered Erie team, while in the 2nd half (after the trade to Belleville) he saw an increase in minutes, but on a team that struggles to put the puck in the net.

Jesse Barwell really elevated his game after being traded from Mississauga. He was one of the more talented forwards on the Steelheads, but for some reason never got consistent minutes, and he has flourished in Saginaw since getting a real opportunity.

Ethan Syzpula has been pretty consistent while playing limited minutes for Owen Sound, while Anthony Cirelli’s 2nd half production has decreased. As big of a factor as any would likely be the additions of forwards Michael McCarron (MTL) and Matt Mistele (LAK), among others.

**

If you use or share this data, please cite this blog as the resource. Thanks!

%d bloggers like this: