Inefficient Powerplay Statkeeping

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Towel Power

You’ve heard it during the broadcasts; ‘X’ team is ‘Y’ for ‘Z’ on the power play in their last ‘n’ games. On the surface this gives fans a good overview of how a team is doing on the power play. However the NHL’s method of tracking power play efficiency is not accurate. Not all power plays last two minutes. Sometimes multiple goals are scored on major penalties. These are just some of the factors the current ranking system doesn’t take into account. There is a way to take all these components into consideration and create a far more precise measurement system.

 Since the current power play efficiency stat is based on a percentage, it assumes that all power play attempts are equal. This of course is not true. Power plays are often cut short whether it’s because the team with the advantage scores or takes a penalty. Then you have 5 minute major penalties that count as one power play rather than what is technically  two and a half. Instead, efficiency should be measured by how well a team uses their power play time. Thus, it becomes more logical to measure power play goals against the amount of time spent on the power play. This is created by taking the number of goals a team has scored on the power play and dividing it by their total time spent on the power play. We’ll refer to the new stat as Power Play Goals per Minute, or PPGM.

After the jump, you’ll find chart that lists both the current PP rankings, and the adjusted PPGM rankings. While you may notice that the best and worst team’s rankings have remained unchanged, there is quite a bit of variation with the teams ranked in the middle. Notice that they aren’t just minor variations either; Detroit, Dallas, and St. Louis all rise a number of spots while Florida, Los Angeles, and Columbus drop a couple ranks.

The fact there is such a difference when comparing the two rankings shows that it is necessary to look at power play efficiency from a different angle. Detroit for example goes from being an average power play unit to a top ten squad. One such factor that comes into play here is the responsibility of the team during their power play. This refers to when a team takes themselves off the power play by taking a penalty part way through.

Also looking at Detroit, they rank 10th above 11th place Chicago in Total Power Play Time, having had 5 more minutes with the man advantage, however they’ve had 10 more opportunities meaning they lost about 15 minutes to either penalties taken or power play goals scored. Assuming that all 10 opportunities were 2 minute minors, this means Detroit was more efficient with their time, scoring more goals per minute despite having a lower power play efficiency percentage. Essentially, PP% does not take into account these time variations, while PPGM does.

Statistics can typically be complicated and confusing, however PPGM is one that is both accurate and user-friendly. Hopefully the NHL will provide statistics in the future that provide a better representation of a teams play during the regular season. However, until that time comes, we will just have to do it ourselves.

Rank

Team

PP%

New Rank

Team (Rank Change)

PPGM

1

VAN

23.3

1

VAN     (0)

.1484

2

NSH

21.7

2

NSH     (0)

.1377

3

EDM

21.0

3

EDM     (0)

.1291

4

PHI

20.2

4

TOR     (+1)

.1268

5

TOR

20.1

5

PHI     (-1)

.1221

6

NYI

19.5

6

COL     (+1)

.1201

7

COL

19.4

7

NYI     (-1)

.1199

8

CHI

18.8

8

WSH     (+2)

.1184

9

FLA

18.6

9

DET     (+4)

.1147

10

WSH

18.6

10

CHI     (-2)

.1144

11

PIT

18.4

11

PIT     (0)

.1143

12

BOS

18.3

12

BOS     (0)

.1138

13

DET

18.3

13

BUF     (+2)

.1134

14

WPG

18.2

14

FLA     (-5)

.1118

15

BUF

18.2

15

ANA    (+1)

.1113

16

ANA

18.1

16

WPG    (-2)

.1107

17

OTT

17.5

17

OTT     (0)

.1080

18

CGY

17.5

18

CGY     (0)

.1045

19

SJS

17.4

19

SJS       (0)

.1039

20

CAR

15.6

20

CAR     (0)

.0961

21

CBJ

14.9

21

DAL    (+6)

.0890

22

LAK

14.7

22

NYR    (+1)

.0888

23

NYR

14.5

23

STL     (+3)

.0880

24

MIN

14.4

24

CBJ      (-3)

.0873

25

NJD

14.3

25

LAK     (-3)

.0872

26

STL

13.8

26

MIN     (-2)

.0861

27

DAL

13.6

27

NJD      (-2)

.0860

28

TBL

13.3

28

TBL      (0)

.0820

29

PHX

13.0

29

PHX      (0)

.0749

30

MTL

12.1

30

MTL     (0)

.0727


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