Todd Cordell

USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS

Tag Archives: Zach Senyshyn

By The Numbers: Evaluating Prospects With Advanced Stats

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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

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WHL

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QMJHL

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NCAA

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World Hockey Championships

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Under 18’s

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

By The Numbers: Soo Greyhounds vs Erie Otters – May 2, 2015

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After dropping Game 5 in Sault Ste. Marie, the Erie Otters had another opportunity to put the Greyhounds away – this time at home.

They did just that, as Connor McDavid went off tallying five points in a 7-3 win.

As I did in Game 4 and Game 5, I tracked numbers for McDavid and Dylan Strome off Erie, as well as Blake Speers and Zach Senyshyn off SSM.

Zone Starts

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The zone starts numbers were much lower than you’d normally see because there was a lot of special teams play, so it was tough to decipher if Player X was starting in Zone Y because a) the coaching staff wanted them on the ice in that situation or; b) the coaching staff just needed to get them on the ice.

Zone Entries

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Strome didn’t have many carry-ins, but was successful in his limited attempts at evens.

McDavid was once again a beast through the neutral zone. When he gets going he’s nearly impossible to stop, and if you try and meet him at the line he can pull a rabbit out of his like this.

Senyshyn saw limited ice, but showed the ability to carry the puck into the offensive zone with possession. He’s an excellent skater, and generates good speed through the neutral zone, which forces the defense to back off.

Speers also showed the ability to drive play up ice. That’s probably why he has started 50% or less of his shifts in the offensive zone in all three games I tracked from this series.

Shot Attempts

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Strome had a very low-event game considering how many minutes he played. SSM won the shot attempt battle when he was on the ice, however, he started a good chunk of his shifts in the neutral zone, which is certainly a factor.

McDavid wasn’t dominant in terms of possession, but he still fared pretty well in that regard. Playing primarily against Darnell Nurse he came out basically even in the shot attempt battle against a stacked team desperate for a win. He was also perfect through the neutral zone and tallied five points on seven goals.

Senyshyn didn’t play a lot, but generally good things happened when he was on the ice. He had a few successful carry-ins, which led to several shot attempts.

Speers fared very well in possession. Erie is an excellent team, obviously, and he finished close to 70% in possession despite starting as many shifts in the defensive zone as in the offensive zone.

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

By The Numbers: Soo Greyhounds vs Erie Otters – April 30, 2015

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The Erie Otters entered Game 5 against the Soo Greyhounds with a chance to knock out the favorite – the Greyhounds are the No. 1 ranked team in the CHL – but were unsuccessful in their attempt to do so.

As was the case Game 4, I tracked Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome for Erie, while I did the same for Blake Speers and Zach Senyshyn off SSM.

Score: 4-2 SSM (ENG)

Zone Starts

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Dylan Strome was used primarily for defensive zone faceoffs early on, but started more shifts in the offensive zone late in the 3rd while Erie was trying to tie the game.

It was clear Erie’s coaching staff wanted to make things as easy on Connor McDavid as possible. He’s still Connor McDavid and is capable of driving play up ice against anyone, but it’s a lot tougher when you’re playing against Darnell Nurse and have guys like Nick Ritchie hunting you down from behind in the neutral zone.

Zach Senyshyn really didn’t play much in this one.

Blake Speers is another guy who is pretty good at driving play up ice, so starting him outside of the offensive zone is not an issue.

Zone Entries

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As is often the case with Strome, he showed the ability to drive play up ice but didn’t do it all that often. Playing with a guy like Alex DeBrincat, who is also good through the neutral zone, takes some of the load off of him.

McDavid wasn’t as dominant through the neutral zone as he was in Game 4, however, he was still darn good — especially when you factor in who he was playing against. He’s almost impossible to contain with the dynamic skating ability he possesses.

Senyshyn and, to a much lesser extent, Speers didn’t play a lot so naturally their zone entry attempts were low. They made the most of them, though, combining to go 3-for-3.

Shot Attempts

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Once again Strome fared poorly in possession. Soo dominated from start to finish and he saw a good chunk of ice. His numbers reflect that.

McDavid coming out at 50% in this game is pretty ridiculous. He was spoon fed offensive zone (and neutral zone) starts, but he played against some of the best players the league has to offer and still came out even in a game where Soo outshot Erie significantly.

Senyshyn didn’t really play much and spent one of his few shifts caught in his own zone, so his numbers aren’t very good.

Lastly, Speers played a real solid game. He didn’t start one shift in the offensive zone and came out at 57% possession against a very good team. That’s tough to do.

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

By The Numbers: Soo Greyhounds vs Erie Otters – April 28, 2015

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The Erie Otters were hosting the Soo Greyhounds on Tuesday night looking to grab a commanding 3-1 series lead before heading back to the Soo for Game 5.

Both teams are stacked from top-to-bottom and loaded with NHL prospects, but I decided to stick with draft eligibles in this one.

For Erie I tracked Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome, while I did the same for Blake Speers and Zach Senyshyn off SSM.

Score: 7-5 Erie.

Zone Starts

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Dylan Strome and Connor McDavid are arguably the two best players in the OHL, and they are quite capable of playing at either of the rink. I think the zone starts reflect that, as Erie didn’t seem too adamant about starting them in offensive situations.

Zach Senyshyn and Blake Speers are both very good players who play primarily in Soo’s bottom-6 because their absurdly balanced and talented lines. Head coach Sheldon Keefe has skilled players on all four lines, so I don’t think he was overly concerned with matchups besides getting Darnell Nurse out against McDavid.

Zone Entries

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Storm showed the ability to gain the line with possession, however, he wasn’t the go-to-guy on his line in that regard, as 2016 eligible Alex DeBrincat seemed to carry that load.

McDavid was dominant through the neutral zone. He possesses elite speed and high-end acceleration, which forced Soo’s defense to back off and respect him. That shows in the results.

Senyshyn is a real good skater who also showed the ability to safely carry the puck into the offensive zone. He didn’t play a ton – though he did take a few shifts with Nick Ritchie on the top line – but did well in his small sample.

Speers didn’t play a ton and started 50% of his shifts in the offensive zone, so he didn’t have many carry-in opportunities. He made the most of what he did have, though.

Shot Attempts

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Strome was on the ice for five shot attempts against on his first shift and he never really recovered. He blocked some shots defensively and did a good job of limiting the chances Erie allowed when he was on the ice, however, it still wasn’t a good even-strength performance. He helped make up for that with strong special teams play, as he scored a goal and tallied an assist on the man advantage.

McDavid didn’t have a great game in terms of possession, but he spent most of his time playing against a) Nick Ritchie’s line and; b) Darnell Nurse’s defense pairing. Those are tough matchups for anyone, and McDavid still came out almost even in possession while dominating through the neutral zone and recording four assists — including a beauty to Alex DeBrincat.

Senyshyn started just two of nine shifts in the offensive zone, and still did exceptionally well in possession. He showed why he’s rising up a lot of draft boards.

Speers had a really good game. He didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he created several chances throughout, and SSM carried play when he was no the ice.

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

2015 NHL Draft Eligibles: OHL Split Stats – Part Two

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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.

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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.

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

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