Blackhawks News

An Advanced Look: Evaluating the Blackhawks’ Power Play

By Melissa Peterson
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In the previous post, we took a look at the Blackhawks’ penalty kill, so now let’s take a look at what’s viewed as the other end of the style of play spectrum: the power play.

Once again, there is a list of abbreviations listed at the bottom under “Resources” with brief explanations for your convenience. All charts can be clicked on to enlarge. 

Stats courtesy of war-on-ice | Current as of 2 February 2015

From this data, we can gather that Chicago has had 33 successful power-plays (success here being defined as goal-producing), and five wildly unsuccessful ones (power-plays which actually produced opponent’s shorthanded goals). To put those numbers into context, for the season, CHI has had 177 power-play opportunities, making their success rate 18.6%, which ranks them 14th in the league (DET ranks 1st with a 25.6% success rate, BUF ranks last with an 11.4% success rate).

So what’s the issue here? Should we be expecting better results?

Activity

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 2 Feb 2015

As you can tell from the chart, DET, the top ranked team, puts in an above average amount of work, bringing in about 475 Corsi-for events. CHI’s Corsi-For total ranks a little higher than DET, but with less success. Why?

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CHI’s shooting percentage is 12.6%, whereas DET’s is 17.6%. In comparison, their shooting percentages for even-strength play are about equivalent, with CHI’s being 7.7% and DET’s being 7.6%.

So what keeps CHI from becoming DET on the power-play?

Shot location

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 2 Feb 2015

While CHI’s chart is not the inverse of DET’s, you should recognize that DET’s chart reads as high production yield areas being where the most shot attempts are generated, followed by medium-yield, and finally low-yield. Conversely, CHI’s goes from low-yield, high yield to medium-yield.

Now let’s look at their success in these areas:

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 2 Feb 2015

HOW TO READ THESE CHARTS

For the Shooting Rate and Percentage charts, with For it is better to have areas in red, green being average and blue being worse than average. The Relative Shot Rates are compared to league averages for those zones and can be read as per 1, so higher numbers are better here.

Considering CHI’s shooting percentage is about average at this medium-yield area, it would be beneficial to figure out how to increase shots taken in that area. As you can see from DET’s chart, overall the shooting percentage is not something spectacular when placed in the league context. Obviously there are players with higher percentages in these areas, as this is an average, it might be important to look at the individual players that make up these units.

FIRST UNIT: Jonathan Toews (C), Patrick Kane (RW), Patrick Sharp (LW), Duncan Keith (D), Andrew Shaw (C)

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 2 Feb 2015

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 2 Feb 2015

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 2 Feb 2015

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 2 Feb 2015

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Current as of 2 Feb 2015

HOW TO READ THESE CHARTS

For the Differential charts, with For it is better to have areas in red, green being average and blue being worse than average. The Shot Rate Differentials are per 60 minutes with 0 being equality (The numbers on the chart represent Shots For for the Player minus Shots For League Average). Negative numbers indicate less shots for taken by the player than league average, positive numbers indicate more than average.

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