Oct 172012
 

Scott Reynolds over at NHLNumbers.com has written a series of articles on individual point percentage (IPP).  Individual point percentage is defined as the number of points an individual has collected divided by the number of goals scored while the player was on the ice.  In other words, it is the percentage of goals scored while the player was on the ice that the player either had a goal or an assist on.  Scott’s articles are on individual point percentages for 2011-12, individual point percentages for the last 5 seasons and individual point percentages on the power play.  Definitely go give them a read, as well as the comments, where some interesting discussions ensued.

At first I was skeptical of the value of IPP because essentially it only tells you how important the player is to the teams offense when the player is on the ice, and not really anything about the actual skill level of the player.  A good player with really weak line mates can put up a pretty good IPP even if he isn’t a great offensive player.  Or, a good third liner could have a similar IPP as a good first liner, but not be anywhere close to each other in terms of overall talent level.  But, upon further thought I figured there would be some value in determining who is leading the offense and who might be deserving of a line promotion (i.e. might be too good for his current line mates) or a demotion (might be holding their line mates back).  So, I decided I would look into IPP a bit further.  I have calculated IPP for the past 5 years for 5v5 zone start adjusted ice time and only considered forwards with >2500 minutes of ice time over those 5 seasons.  The top 30 players in terms of IPP are the following.

Player IPP
SIDNEY CROSBY 87.2%
JAMIE BENN 84.9%
MARIAN GABORIK 83.6%
EVGENI MALKIN 83.1%
DANIEL SEDIN 82.0%
MIKE RIBEIRO 81.9%
HENRIK SEDIN 81.6%
ILYA KOVALCHUK 81.3%
RICK NASH 81.3%
ZACH PARISE 81.0%
MARC SAVARD 81.0%
NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 80.7%
JORDIN TOOTOO 80.6%
WOJTEK WOLSKI 80.3%
ALES HEMSKY 80.1%
JASON POMINVILLE 79.8%
ALEX OVECHKIN 79.8%
PATRIK ELIAS 79.7%
SCOTTIE UPSHALL 79.5%
ALEXANDER SEMIN 79.5%
PETER MUELLER 79.1%
DAVID KREJCI 79.0%
LOUI ERIKSSON 78.8%
CURTIS GLENCROSS 78.7%
CLAUDE GIROUX 78.7%
JAMAL MAYERS 78.5%
KRISTIAN HUSELIUS 78.5%
TRENT HUNTER 78.3%
RAY WHITNEY 78.2%
MIKKO KOIVU 78.0%

The above table is fairly similar to the top players that Scott identified so I won’t go into too much detail.  Some guys that Scott identified, such as Jordan Eberle, didn’t make my list because he didn’t make my 2500 minute ice time restriction and because I am using faceoff adjusted ice time (eliminating 10 seconds after a zone face off) the numbers for others are slightly different.  But more or less the lists are comparable.

The list above tells us who the guys that control the offense are, but there is a mix of goal scorers and play makers in the list.  I wanted to split the list up further because for team building purposes I think it makes sense to want to have a mix of playmakers and goal scorers and not be too heavily weighted towards one over the other.  I decided to calculate Individual Goals Percentage (IGP) and Individual Assist Percentage (IAP).  Let’s start by looking at the top 30 players in terms of IGP.

Player IGP
RICK NASH 43.8%
ILYA KOVALCHUK 43.5%
ALEXANDER SEMIN 42.5%
STEVEN STAMKOS 42.3%
SCOTTIE UPSHALL 41.7%
NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 41.3%
DAVID CLARKSON 41.2%
MARIAN GABORIK 40.6%
STEPHANE VEILLEUX 40.4%
MATT MOULSON 39.9%
JAMIE BENN 39.7%
ALEX OVECHKIN 39.4%
PHIL KESSEL 39.4%
RENE BOURQUE 39.4%
CAL CLUTTERBUCK 39.4%
DREW MILLER 39.3%
ZACH PARISE 39.0%
JEFF CARTER 38.5%
DAVID BOOTH 38.4%
DANIEL PAILLE 38.1%
ERIC NYSTROM 37.9%
SIDNEY CROSBY 37.9%
JAROME IGINLA 37.8%
BRIAN BOYLE 37.5%
JAMES NEAL 37.4%
CHUCK KOBASEW 37.3%
DAVID JONES 37.3%
DEVIN SETOGUCHI 37.2%
MIKE KNUBLE 37.0%
SEAN BERGENHEIM 36.9%

There are certainly a few second and third line players sprinkled through the list but generally speaking those are some of the best pure goal scorers in the NHL and save for maybe Crosby they are more known for their goal scoring than their playmaking skills.  Now, lets take a look at IAP.

Player IAP
HENRIK SEDIN 63.3%
MARC SAVARD 59.5%
SCOTT GOMEZ 58.2%
MIKKO KOIVU 56.7%
MIKE RIBEIRO 56.5%
JOE THORNTON 55.2%
JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER 53.6%
DAVID KREJCI 53.4%
JORDIN TOOTOO 53.4%
RYAN GETZLAF 52.5%
EVGENI MALKIN 52.3%
WOJTEK WOLSKI 52.2%
CLAUDE GIROUX 51.8%
TRENT HUNTER 51.8%
JUSTIN WILLIAMS 51.6%
JAMAL MAYERS 51.6%
PATRIK ELIAS 50.5%
RADEK DVORAK 50.4%
PATRICK KANE 50.4%
J.P. DUMONT 50.0%
TIM CONNOLLY 50.0%
LOUI ERIKSSON 49.6%
MARTIN HAVLAT 49.5%
SIDNEY CROSBY 49.4%
BRAD RICHARDS 49.3%
ALES HEMSKY 49.3%
PETER MUELLER 49.1%
ANDREW BRUNETTE 48.9%
SAM GAGNER 48.7%
DANIEL SEDIN 33.0%

There are a few odd names in there (Tootoo, Mayers) for example, but IAP is clearly doing a pretty good job at identifying the elite playmakers in the NHL.

One of my comments in Scott’s articles was that it might be interesting to reduce the importance, or even eliminate, the second assist as it may not be as important as the first assist.  To see the impact of the second assists, let’s take a look at Individual Second Assist Percentage (ISAP).

Player ISAP
MIKKO KOIVU 29.3%
JUSTIN WILLIAMS 27.5%
CRAIG ADAMS 27.4%
JAMIE BENN 27.0%
HENRIK SEDIN 25.5%
TODD MARCHANT 25.4%
WOJTEK WOLSKI 24.7%
STEPHANE VEILLEUX 24.6%
RADEK DVORAK 24.4%
LOUI ERIKSSON 24.2%
DANIEL WINNIK 24.1%
TRAVIS ZAJAC 23.5%
MARCEL GOC 23.3%
ANDY MCDONALD 23.1%
TRENT HUNTER 22.9%
GREGORY CAMPBELL 22.7%
SAMUEL PAHLSSON 22.1%
JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER 22.0%
RYAN SMYTH 21.8%
MILAN LUCIC 21.7%
DREW MILLER 21.3%
MARK RECCHI 21.0%
RYAN GETZLAF 21.0%
MARTIN ST._LOUIS 21.0%
RAFFI TORRES 21.0%
ARTEM ANISIMOV 20.9%
RYANE CLOWE 20.9%
TORREY MITCHELL 20.7%
MARTIN ERAT 20.7%
NICKLAS BACKSTROM 20.7%

Looking at the above list, I can’t say the second assist offers anything in terms of determining who the top play makers are.  There really is a huge mix of players in that list, very few one would consider quality playmakers. It seems to me that the second assist is probably largely a useless point somewhat randomly distributed among players.  So, that led me to looking at just first assists to identify which players are the best playmakers.  The following table shows the top 30 players in terms of Individual First Assist Percentage (IFAP).

Player IFAP
MIKE RIBEIRO 39.7%
MARC SAVARD 38.9%
SCOTT GOMEZ 38.8%
HENRIK SEDIN 37.8%
JORDIN TOOTOO 36.9%
JOE THORNTON 36.5%
VLADIMIR SOBOTKA 35.8%
EVGENI MALKIN 35.7%
ALES HEMSKY 35.6%
JAMAL MAYERS 35.5%
PETER MUELLER 35.5%
CLAUDE GIROUX 35.4%
SIDNEY CROSBY 34.2%
RAY WHITNEY 34.1%
DAVID KREJCI 33.8%
MARTIN HAVLAT 33.2%
J.P. DUMONT 33.1%
DANIEL SEDIN 33.0%
ANDREW BRUNETTE 32.8%
BRANDON SUTTER 32.4%
ARRON ASHAM 32.3%
PATRIK ELIAS 32.3%
PAUL GAUSTAD 32.0%
SAM GAGNER 31.9%
TJ OSHIE 31.9%
BRAD RICHARDS 31.7%
JASON SPEZZA 31.6%
JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER 31.5%
RYAN GETZLAF 31.5%
KYLE BRODZIAK 31.4%

There were 7 players that were on the IAP list that are not on the IFAP list.  Those are Mikko Koivu (85th in IFAP), Wojtek Wolski(81), Trent Hunter(56), Justin Williams(158), Radek Dvorak(113), Patrick Kane (32), Connolly(52), and Eriksson(122).  The 7 players that replaced them are Vladimir Sobotka (34th in IAP), Ray Whitney(32), Brandon Sutter(219), Aaron Asham(93), Paul Gaustad(40), TJ Oshie(95), and Jason Spezza(69). Looking at these lists and the changes between IAP and IFAP it is difficult to say whether the IFAP list is better or worse, but my gut tells me that if you can’t tell the difference it is probably best to go with IFAP because everything I understand about hockey tells me that the second assist is almost certainly of lesser importance.

I have a few ideas of where to take this research from here, but as I stated above I have always had an interest in exploring team building from a statistical point of view and being able to statistically identify which players are more playmakers and which players more goal scorers is an important step in that direction.  I want to get into exploring whether a line with two goal scorers (i.e. if the Rangers use both Nash and Gaborik on the same line) is counter productive and whether and how much players can improve goal scorers goal production.  Too do that I’ll be looking at IPP, IGP and IFAP WOWY’s (with or without you comparisons).

 

  2 Responses to “Breaking apart individual point percentage”

  1.  

    Rene Bourque is an interesting case for your kind of work here. I’ve been doing some studies in a related area and I’m pretty sure we can say that he is a negative playmaking talent during at least the last 2 years. I.e. he surpresses the shot rates and goal scoring of his linemates when they are on the ice together.

    Bourque scores goals like a fringe first line goal scoring winger, but the team offensive results seem to get dragged to the bottom. Last two years he’s getting close to half the goals scored when he’s on the ice.

    I’d suggest it would be an interesting experiment to pair him with Gomez, who can’t score anyway, and see what happens.

    •  

      Five year numbers:

      Bourque IGP: 39.4% IFAP: 21.2%
      Gomez IGP: 14.5% IFAP: 38.8%

      If there is such a thing as complementary players, those two might just be the perfect fit for each other.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.