Oct 292012
 

The other week I wrote about breaking down IPP (Individual Point Percentage, which is individual points divided by number of goals scored while the player was on the ice) into IGP (Individual Goal Percentage) and IFAP (Individual First Assist Percentage).  It seems IGP does a decent job of identifying the pure goal scorers and IFAP does a decent job of identifying the pure play makers.  I have always been interested in team/line makeup and how to maximize a lines performance so I decide to take a look at WOWY IPP comparisons for two pairs of extremely talented players who have at times played together and at times played on separate lines the past 5 years.  These are Crosby/Malkin and Thornton/Marleau.  Let’s start with Crosby/Malkin.

TOI IGP IFAP IPP G/60 FA/60 GF20
Crosby without Malkin 2527:07 35.7% 36.3% 84.7% 1.33 1.35 1.24
Crosby with Malkin 954:29 41.9% 30.2% 91.9% 2.26 1.63 1.80
Malkin without Crosby 3588:42 32.2% 38.3% 86.7% 0.97 1.15 1.00
Malkin with Crosby 954:29 27.9% 30.2% 75.6% 1.51 1.63 1.80

These two players have played significantly more ice time apart than with each other but still the comparison is interesting.  When separated Crosby IGP and IFP are very close together indicating he is relatively balanced between being a goal scorer and a playmaker but when he is playing with Malkin he becomes a more important goal scorer as his IGP rises from 35.7% without Malkin to 41.9% with Malkin and his IFAP falls from 36.3% without Malkin to 30.2% with Malkin.  Crosby got a point on 84.7% of all goals scored while he was on the ice without Malkin which is a very high number, but it rises to 91.9% when he is playing with Malkin which is a truly extraordinary number.

Malkin, strangely, sees both his IGP and his IFAP fall when playing with Crosby which means a smaller percentage of the goal production goes through Malkin when Crosby is on the ice. This makes sense since Crosby is in on nearly every goal scored when the two are on the ice together.  Interestingly, despite being in on a lower percentage of goals, Malkin did see his individual G/60 and individual FA/60 rise dramatically when playing with Crosby due to the fact that when those two are on the ice together they score goals at an exceptionally high rate.

I am not sure what to conclude here other than if you desperately need to score a goal late in the game it would be awfully smart to play these two together.  But, with that said, it may not be the most prudent use of resources during the course of the game because it seems to somewhat diminish Malkin’s ability to drive the play.  Now, lets take a look at Thornton/Marleau.

TOI IGP IFAP IPP G/60 FA/60 GF20
Thornton without Marleau 2585:10 24.6% 35.2% 79.6% 0.75 1.07 1.01
Thornton with Marleau 2438:22 19.3% 37.8% 74.8% 0.64 1.25 1.11
Marleau without Thornton 2808:03 32.3% 24.2% 69.7% 0.74 0.56 0.77
Marleau with Thornton 2438:22 37.8% 13.3% 73.3% 1.25 0.44 1.11

This shows that Thornton and Marleau are very different players.  Marleau is clearly much more of a goal scorer while Thornton is clearly much more of a play maker, and this is true regardless of whether they are playing together or apart.  When playing with Marleau Thornton sees his goal production drop from 0.75 G/60 to 0.64 G/60 but his FA/60 rise from 1.07 to 1.25.  For Marleau his G/60 rises significantly when playing with Thornton but his FA/60 falls a bit too and his IFAP falls to an astonishingly low 13.3%.  In short, Marleau’s goal production benefits a lot from playing with Thornton, while Marleau’s benefit to Thornton is a little less significant.  I believe if we continued this analysis to Thornton’s other line mates we will find that Thornton’s play making skills are easily the most significant driving force of the Sharks offense.

Having done this IPP WOWY comparison for these two pairs of players we can make some interesting observations and we can get a better idea of which player is driving the play when they are playing together (and apart).  That said, I think more work needs to be done to determine whether IPP WOWY is a useful player evaluation tool in general, or just something that might be interesting to look at in certain situations.  I’m curious what others think, or if you have another pair of players you want me to look at let me know (for example, Spezza/Alfredsson might be interesting).

 

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.

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