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Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Author: Jason Pothier (Page 1 of 15)

Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: Zone Starts

Next up in our series of Advanced Stats for Dummies (last was Corsi For Percentage) we are taking on a stat that helps to understand what a player does best. It’s called “Zone Starts” and it measures the number of faceoffs a player is on the ice for in the offensive or defensive zone.

Zone Starts are calculated using a very simple procedure. Any time a player is on the ice for a faceoff in the offensive or defensive zone he is scored with a Zone Start. (Neutral zone faceoffs are ignored). If the player is on the ice for a faceoff in the offensive zone, it goes for an offensive Zone Start, if his team is in the defensive zone, he gets a defensive zone start. Zone Starts are then measured by percentage.

Offensive Zone Start Percentage (oZS%) = Offensive Zone Starts / Total Zone Starts
Defensive Zone Start Percentage (dZS%) = Defensive Zone Starts / Total Zone Starts

Example time! Let’s use David Perron because he tweeted at us one time and it made us blush. Perron starts the game on the ice, the opening faceoff is taken (no Zone Start scored). The puck is iced and the Golden Knights get a faceoff in the offensive zone (+1 oZS). Shot goes into the netting, another offensive zone faceoff (+1 oZS). Play continues, the puck goes out of play in the Golden Knights zone, Perron stays on the ice for the faceoff in the defensive zone (+1 dZS).

Offensive Zone Starts (oZS) – 2
Defensive Zone Starts (dZS) – 1
Offensive Zone Start Percentage (oZS%) – 2/(2+1) = 2/3 = 66.6%
Defensive Zone Start Percentage (dZS%) – 1/(2+1) = 1/3 = 33.3%

Perron had an oZS% of 43.9% last season and a dZS% of 56.1. The two years he played in Pittsburgh though, his oZS% was 60% and his dZS% was 40%.

As you can see, you really only need to focus on one side or the other as oZS% and dZS% offset. (43.9+56.1=100 / 60+40=100)

Here’s a look at the Golden Knights top oZS% players. First forwards.

PlayerOffensive Zone Start Percentage (oZS%)
James Neal59.6%
Jonathan Marchessault53.1%
David Perron53.1%
Oscar Lindberg52.3%
William Carrier51.5%

Now defensemen.

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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: Corsi For Percentage

Now that the Golden Knights have players, and will soon begin playing actual games and accruing statistics, we felt like now was a good time to learn the roster, by dumbing down different advanced statistics in the NHL.

Everyone understands goals, assists, points, penalty minutes, and time on ice, but for many hockey fans words like Corsi, Fenwick, PDO, and zone starts send off the instant “too much info, ignore and move on” signal. Since the Golden Knights are probably going to be bad, and the standard stats are likely to all have asterisks next to them with people saying “well someone has to score the goals,” we think it’s best if we use the downtime of July and August to take the stigma away from advanced stats, and get a feel for who the Golden Knights actual have on the roster.

Up first, Corsi and Corsi For Percentage.

Corsi is a statistic that measures the true number of shots a player takes during a game. It was created by an Edmonton Oilers blogger when he heard a GM mention the term “shot differential” but not have concrete numbers to back it up. So, like any good Internet user, he put in the research, came up with the numbers, and created a stat that’s now widely used in the NHL. So what is it exactly?

Corsi = Shots on Goal + Missed Shots + Blocked Shots Against 

It’s fairly simple, it’s just all shot attempts. Corsi can be measured for a team or for an individual. For a team, it’s simply all shot attempts. For an individual, it’s all shot attempts by the team while that player is on the ice. So, for every shot, the team gets +1 on their Corsi rating, and five players get +1 on their individual Corsi rating.

Obviously that stat means nothing if not put in context with what the other team is doing. So, each player has a “Corsi For” and a “Corsi Against” rating. Corsi Against is simply a Corsi rating for the other team while a player is on the ice.

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Tangible Evidence Of Cody Eakin’s Intangibles

It’s the intangibles of size, strength, hockey sense, winning battles versus losing battles. That encompasses it. It’s not one thing, it’s everything. -Bruce Boudreau, Capitals Head Coach

That was Boudreau back in 2011 when he was the Capitals head coach under George McPhee. The coach spoke with D.C. media about the type of player the organization wanted. One of the players mentioned was then Caps rookie Cody Eakin. The intangible skills scouts reported could’ve been the reason he was drafted by McPhee in 2009 and then again via Expansion in 2017. Believe in intangibles or not, it’s an aspect that is strongly researched in the NHL. With help from an article in the Toronto Star, here’s an attempt to measure the unmeasurables in Cody Eakin’s game.

Grit

To me, that means there’s a loose puck, and they work like crazy to try and get it back. And if they fall down, they get right back up and try it again. -Ray Ferraro, TSN Hockey Analyst

Back in the WHL, Eakin was labeled as a gritty two-way player. He quickly won over NHL coaches with his aggressive fore-checking, special teams play, and shot-blocking ability. All three skills are in the definition of a gritty player. Eakin will likely anchor the Golden Knights penalty kill while playing an average of 16+ minutes a game. It could increase with the responsibility Coach Gerard Gallant will inevitably put on him. Not known for fighting, the Red Knight is willing to answer the call if necessary. C’mon, Cody knew he wasn’t leaving the ice unscathed after his brutal hit on Handsome Hank.

Hockey Sense

Somebody with good hockey sense can sense what’s going to happen on a certain play. The puck is coming around the boards, a guy with hockey sense will know, ‘the puck is going there, so I’m going here.’ -Larry Robinson, Hall of Fame defenseman

Eakin has been a reliable, versatile center since coming into the league in 2011. Being able to play multiple positions and log heavy minutes is crucial to Gallant. He’ll trust the 25-year-old center in many high-pressure, high-risk, game situations. Even-strength, down a man, or defensive zone face-offs, nothing is too much for Eakin. Labeled a calm player that won’t panic, it’s no wonder he scored eleven game-winning goals. Eakin’s awareness set him up for two playoff game-winning gems. 

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James Neal: Top 10 Shot In NHL

Even the greenest Vegas hockey fan will tell you they’ve heard of Golden Knights forward James Neal. It could be his 238 regular season goals or his 44 points in 80 playoff games. Or, I’m not afraid to say it, it could’ve been one of the many dirty hits Neal has delivered. He’s a well-known player. In nine seasons the former Star, Penguin and Predator built a strong reputation for offensive and physical firepower.

TSN’s Travis Yost calculated the most effective part of Neal’s game… his shot. High-volume and accurate shooting is why the sniper is among the league’s best.

I told myself after that first practice that I had to become a better shooter or I wouldn’t make it in the league. Since then, I’ve played in hundreds of NHL games and talked to a ton of different goalies. The real secret to scoring goals is all about the release. –James Neal, Players Tribune

I’ll let the TSN analytics guy explain his criteria.

I took data from the last three seasons (minimum 150 shot attempts) and plotted out two items – the number of shots each forward generated per game at 5-on-5, and the net number of goals added above expectations (per-100 shots). It’s the blend that matters. Bring in both volume and shot quality, and this is your true leaderboard – the number of goals a player added above expectations over the last three years. -Travis Yost, TSN

Take a breath. I know, it’s a lot to take it. This chart will help. Even if it doesn’t though, just read the names and realize the letters VGK are next to one of them.

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Better Find A Center, Otherwise The Struggles Will Start And Never End

It’s not hard to see George McPhee believes in strength down the middle. He made that clear by drafting five centers in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Unfortunately, that talent is undeveloped and unavailable. As for 2017-18, the unit will contain five centers, Vadim Shipachyov, Oscar Lindberg, William Karlsson, Cody Eakin and Jonathan Marchessault. The Golden Knights aren’t expecting much success this season, but for the future, one of those five needs to turn into a top line center.

Shipachov will likely start the year as the top center but currently, he has no NHL experience, and like most KHL imports, is a great unknown. The other possibility is Lindberg. He skates in with 134 games played and just over 850 face-off attempts. The 25-year-old Swede will have the chance to make a serious impact with Vegas.

Oscar loves New York and he loves winning, but he also loves ice time… He’s going to have a great opportunity to play major minutes and a major role in Vegas. Claude Lemieux, Lindberg’s agent

Lindberg’s career TOI average will certainly increase from 11:30 minutes per game. His effectiveness in all three zones will prove his value.

Karlsson’s impressive flow and off-the-puck play could help him climb the charts too.

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UFA Goalie Options For Golden Knights

SinBin.vegas has been digging around for any clues heading into tomorrow’s free agency frenzy, and we finally found one. It has become evident the organization feels light in net. With the belief that Vegas will keep Calvin Pickard as Marc-Andre Fleury‘s backup, and let J.F. Berube walk as a UFA, the team is in need of goalie depth. The Golden Knights are very likely to sign a third goaltender (and possibly a fourth) to a two-way contract allowing him to play in the AHL. Here are some potential free agents that could be putting pen to paper with Vegas next week.

Darcy Kuemper: Minnesota
2016-17 Salary: $1,500,000

Kuemper clearly lost his starting job for good to All-Star Devan Dubnyk. The Kuemperor was once beloved in Minnesota but he’s now looking for a new home. After statistically having his worst season, the Golden Knights could sign the 27-year-old on a two-way deal. Giving Kuemper more action in the AHL could boost his confidence. By signing the five-year veteran the Golden Knights would have incredibly strong depth at net. He’s a slightly more expensive option, but would help fill the gap between 32-year-old Fleury and 25-year-old Pickard.

Sam Brittain: Florida
21016-17 Salary: $750,000

Brittain is far from a household name. In fact, if you don’t follow the AHL or ECHL you’re probably lost. Brittain has never suited up for a pro club but is considered a plausible option for the Golden Knights third goaltender. A two-way contract is guaranteed which will give Vegas the option to shuttle him back and fourth from Chicago. The contract would be a short-term inexpensive agreement to start 5-10 times next season.

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When Will We See The Golden Knights Top Prospects In Vegas

After reading scouting reports, watching highlights and attending a day of development camp, it’s time to take a shot at the best case scenario for when each Golden Knights prospect may make it to the NHL.

We’re not going to fast track anyone. It never hurts a kid to play a an extra year or two in juniors. It’s better to overcook them than throw them in there raw. It’s like having a kid in 8th grade and suddenly throwing him into 11th grade. It’s too much, not only on the ice but socially for some of these kids. So we’ll be open minded, if someone’s ready, we’ll play him, but there’s a good chance all of these guys will be headed back to amateur this year. -George McPhee on 2017 Draft Picks

Alex Tuch (Acquired via Expansion Draft trade from Minnesota)

The plan is to begin the season on the Vegas Golden Knights roster. Tuch believes he’s prepared for Vegas.

I’m confident in my abilities to make the team next season. I’m concentrating on being in the lineup for that season opener. I’m going to come into training camp and really show them what I’ve got. I’m excited to get going. -Tuch

Tuch is still on an entry-level contract so the organization has the power to option him to Chicago. However, team officials seem eager to get Tuch in the mix. Probably, one of the reasons the 21-year-old is in town this week.

They gave me the option, I thought it’d be a really good idea to go over there and get a lay of the land a little bit. I also want to help some of those draft picks that will be coming in. I think I can be a leader. -Tuch

It’s going to be a numbers game come October, and because the Golden Knights have the option to send him to the AHL, that’s what may wind up happening out of necessity rather than desire or skill. But, if he’s not on this one, expect to see Tuch on opening day rosters for years to come.

Reid Duke (Signed as free agent on March 6th)

Most entry-level free agents don’t have the same expectations high-round prospects do. Duke is different though. As we’ve mentioned before this team signed the former Wheat King for a reason. He was clearly one of the leaders on and off the ice at Development Camp and is spectacular with the media. Duke has done an excellent job handling the pressure of being the franchise’s first player. His letter to NHL prospects on NHL.com showed the confidence and intelligence scouts raved about. Making the Golden Knights this season would be major surprise. Duke will need a year or two to develop in the AHL but the organization will give him every opportunity to succeed. He’s a clear fan favorite, but he also seems to be an organizational favorite, and a guy they would like to see make it to the NHL in Vegas, if nothing more than to prove they were right for making him the historic first Golden Knight.

Cody Glass (Selected 6th overall in 2017 Draft)

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What To Watch For At Development Camp

For fans that plan to go down to the LV Ice Center this week, here’s what we’re watching for at Development Camp.

The first Golden Knight
It’s pretty clear Reid Duke is a fan favorite already. After a week of signing autographs and snapping fan selfies, the first Golden Knight will take the ice. This week, look for Duke’s all-around skill that got the attention of the Vegas scouts. It could be beneficial for fans to compare the skill of Duke with like Alex Tuch, Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki.

Alex “The Great” Tuch
Minnesota didn’t enjoy giving up Alex Tuch. And why would they? The Wild invested a first-round pick on him and waited while he developed in the NCAA. The New York native has the size and skill to be an effective NHL power-forward. Hockey Future’s highlights Tuch’s stick-handling, shot, speed and hockey IQ. McPhee passed on a known commodity, hopefully, doubtful fans will get to see why this week.

Three in the top 15
I’m most excited to see the first-round talents drafted by Vegas, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, and Erik Brannstrom. All three are highly-regarded so their skill should be obvious to an idiot scout like myself. They’re young, incredibly talented but underdeveloped. It’ll be fun to watch them mature over the next few years.

Coaching
It should be the first chance we have to take a look Gerard Gallant’s coaching style. We aren’t sure how much it will be him taking the reigns or if he’ll let Rocky Thompson (Wolves), Phil Axtell (Mallards), or any of the other developmental coaches take control, but either way, the coaching is on display as much as the players are.

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Drew Doughty Weighs In On Losing “A Brother” To Expansion

Like when a six hits the stage at Little Darlings, it feels like all eyes in the world are on the Expansion Draft. You’ve heard from the analysts, the GMs, and us jerks here at SinBin.vegas, but what about NHL players, especially those who are going to be protected. Kings star Drew Doughty told TSN that expansion has been a huge topic among players.

Oh yeah, this entire season that’s all we were talking about. You know, who are we gonna lose to Vegas. And it sucks losing players on your team it really does. The fact that a team is coming in and taking one of our players away, one of your brothers. It could be one of my best friends and that’s a sad day for me. It’s a sad time but it’s also exciting because there is a new team coming in. -Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings Defenseman

Doughty implies that it’s been on players minds all season. I’m sure some even suffered anxiety thinking about their future. Meanwhile, protected players can sit back and enjoy a comfortable offseason.

It’s good for us since it’s a short flight to LA. And I’m sure we’ll develop a little bit of a rivalry there too. So I like it. -Doughty

Doughty is already staking his claim in Las Vegas. The Kings defenseman is happy about the short travel and the addition of a new divisional team, which in his mind really means more sleep and easier wins. Developing a rivalry starts with angry, passionate hockey. Both teams need to play competitively and every good rivalry needs some public chirping. Does this count?

Every one seems to think the road is going to be the team that is failing in Vegas because they’ll be out all night. The road team is going to be hungry when they step on the ice the next night. -Doughty

The Kings star isn’t attempting to act like the Pacific division big brother, but he is. Vegas fans will hate the confidence Doughty and his Kings bring to town. And there are more teams that feel the same. Brash road teams will win 6-3 or get lazy and foul it up. As long as one of those foul-ups eliminates LA from the postseason, Golden Knights fans will be fulfilled for the season. Is that too much too ask?

NMCs Causing All Sorts Of Expansion Speculation

Never before has the NHL world cared more about No Movement Clauses. The most obvious candidate to waive his NMC, Marc-Andre Fleury signed his paperwork after his third ring-fitting. Others like Dion Phaneuf were asked, and though it’s expected he declines, we may have to wait to see the lists to get the final answer.

With the buyout period looming and roster lockdown a few days away, NHL clubs are scrambling to get prepared for the Expansion Draft. However, some teams appear willing to stand pat and take their Vegas lumps.

In Florida, the first reports were that Panthers front office had asked defenseman Keith Yandle to waive his NMC. The 30-year-old signed a seven-year deal last offseason and apparently Florida was willing to chance him in expansion. Updated reports now confirm Yandle was never asked and will not be exposed. Out guess, Yandle was asked, politely declined, and then the team covered his back by saying they never asked.

Either way, Yandle’s exposure would’ve created an interesting dilemma. Had the Golden Knights selected the All-Star defenseman they could’ve scored big in a flip. Established teams are desperate for blueliners and a rock like Yandle would draw plenty of interest. Or, with the long term deal, would the Golden Knights have thought to keep him and make him part of their “Cup in 6” plans.

Other notable players with NMC’s that were not asked to waive; Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Andrew Ladd, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara, David Backes.

A lot of things are out of my control right now. I don’t know what other teams are discussing with regard to expansion and Vegas. I know what I’d like to do, but we’ll see how it plays out. -Steve Yzerman, Tampa GM

In Tampa, despite speculation, the Lightning did not ask Ryan Callahan to waive his NMC. Reports are GM Steve Yzerman reached out to the Golden Knights and is interested in protecting more players in exchange for picks. The Lightning are also rumored to be shopping stud Jonathon Drouin possibly for a defenseman in Anaheim or Minnesota. Opposing GM’s are calling McPhee but they’re texting one another as well. But even if teams make offers to the Wild it doesn’t mean they’ll agree to a deal prior to the roster lockdown.

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