Skip to main content

A look inside the NHL's Assists leaders

A post on Kukla's Korner pointed me towards this article at the Denver Post, which discusses how Minnesota Wild Director of Hockey Operations Chris Snow is forging ahead in the quest to take the use of NHL statistical analysis to another level. In particular, he notes wanting to track assists, monitoring how many of a players assists are "first assists" vs. "second assists", the presumption (which I find quite reasonable) being that first assists are a better measure of offensive contribution.

Well Chris, if that's what you need, drop me a line (or, for that matter, any other NHL front-office execs who might be interested). In the meantime, I'll provide a Top 10 listing that might help sort this question out.

Again, I'm looking at 2005-2006 regular season data, empty net goals excluded.

Click to enlarge

So what does this tell us? Well, one obvious point is the prevalence of defensemen getting a large share of 2nd assists, which isn't surprising, and is most likely the result of good breakout passes. I know when I'm playing D in the beer league, that's how I get most of my assists - find the one zoomer on our team, and get him the puck with speed out of our own end. Exceptions to that trend include Niklas Lidstrom, Sergei Zubov, and Tomas Kaberle, all defensemen ranking high in the prevalence of 1st Assists. Edit: Pardon the brain fart there, only Kaberle amongst those 3 shows a relatively high 1st Assist percentage, and he's not among the top 10 in that ranking.

One interesting contrast is between Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson in Ottawa; both are forwards in a highly productive offense, but Spezza benefitted from 2nd assists to a much greater extent than Alfredsson. As always, dig in and let me know what other slices and dices might be worth pursuing here...

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Canadian Baloney, starring James Mirtle

A tireless refrain from the Canadian media is that Nashville is an absolute failure as a hockey market, and failing to move the team north of the border is an exercise in folly by the NHL.

Our latest exhibit comes from James Mirtle, usually one of the more thoughtful hockey bloggers extant:
But Nashville, quite simply, has proven it cannot sustain an NHL hockey team. Even with the lowest ticket prices in the entire league (I know: I've looked into flying there for a game or two) and a ridiculously forgiving arena lease, the team has had attendance issues despite having one of the best records in the league.

It's not a matter of Canadians not wanting teams in the southern U.S.; I've argued time and again in favour of teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay that have supported their teams and really brought something to the table in terms of bringing news fans and new energy to the game. That's a good thing.

The Predators, however, are not that, not in the beginning and certainly no…

Get Your NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 Right Here!

Click here for the 2009-10 NHL Super Schedule, at my new site,!

The NHL announced the 2008-9 Regular Season schedule today, so of course, it's time right here to publish my very own NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 as well.

For those unfamiliar with what I did last year, the NHL Super Schedule is a spreadsheet that I put together and make publicly available via Google Documents*. It includes an entry for each game in each team's 82-game regular season schedule, with additional information such as how far that team has had to travel since its last game, how many days have passed since that previous game, and various statistics relative to the opponent that evening, such as 2007-8 Winning Percentage, Goals Per Game, Goals Against Per Game, etc. For example, you can total the distance that each team will travel during the upcoming season, or find who plays the most back-to-back games. Check out which team faces the toughest opposing offenses, or which power plays…