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Tag: Advanced Stats

Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: First Assist

Time for episode three of Advanced Stats for Dummies (see Corsi For Percentage and Zone Starts). Today we are diving deeper into the word assist to explain the meaning and importance of the stat "First Assist."

Quite simply, the First Assist (FirstA) is awarded to the player who last touched the puck before the player who scored. In other sports, like basketball or soccer, this is the only player to record an assist, but in hockey, multiple assists are awarded for every goal. Only one First Assist is awarded per goal.

Example time! The Golden Knights have the puck in their defensive zone, Nate Schmidt zips the puck up the boards to Reilly Smith, Smith takes it and passes it to Vadim Shipachyov, Shipachyov shoots and scores.

Goal (G) – Shipachyov
Assists (A) – Smith, Schmidt
First Assist (FirstA) – Smith

The reason First Assist is measured is because it's often an indicator of actual impact on the play. Often times in hockey, a player makes a simple pass and ends up getting an assist out of it. Goalies accounted for 35 assists last season, only five of them were First Assists (14.3%). On the flip side, Connor McDavid recorded 70 assists and 44 of them were First Assists (62.9%).

First Assist is a good measure of playmaking impact on the ice, ability to generate offense, and puck focus. Not every time, but in most cases, the final pass before the goal was more important than the pass that led to the pass before the goal. In other words, First Assist is a validation of the total assist number.

Let's take a look at how the Golden Knights roster fares in the First Assist category.

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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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