I’m one of writers at In Lou We Trust and have been tracking passing data for the New Jersey Devils skaters this season. I am looking for other volunteers to help create a database with which we can compare one team’s passing ability to another.
Why Do This?
Well, I owe it to my soccer fandom as a reason why I thought this would be a worthwhile project. You see, in the book Soccernomics the authors, Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, interview Gavin Fleig, Manchester City’s head of performance analysis and he throws a curious stat: “The top four teams consistently have a higher percentage of pass completion in the final third (on the field).” I wondered if that could be comparable to hockey since both are fluid games.
Besides simply tracking passes, however, I’m also recording which passes lead directly to shot attempts and shots in order to identify where the shot-generators are within in a team’s lineup. Once you have this data, you can look it some pretty neat things (feel free to look at some of my recent summaries at ILWT here and here. Examples of individual game recaps can be found here and here.
One of the things I’ve looked at is a player’s contribution to his team’s Corsi production. Corsi tracks all shot attempts and so each player naturally has his own shot attempts part of that number. But, with the passing and shot-generation data, I can look at what percentage of his team’s Corsi is a player’s passing responsible for, not only his individual shot attempts. Some players are more natural shooters than passers and so this gives us yet another way or evaluating or understanding their contribution to their team’s Corsi.
What I Need From You
I simply can’t get to every team and would need one of you (or more if you want to share the workload) to assist in tracking each pass made by the skaters at 5-on-5 play. I don’t track special teams situations. I have all the templates you’d need, so you just record the data, pop it into the excel spreadsheet, and email it to me. I’m working on creating an online database that will eventually be public for people to go and retrieve the stats.
Below is an example of what a passing chart looks like. The columns from left to right are for completions and attempts in the defensive (DZ), neutral (NZ), and offensive (OZ) zones. You'll also see completion percentages for each zone before you get into the shot generated data.