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Tale of Two Terrible Power Plays

January 26, 2019

Its hard to believe teams that boast the point-man power of Roman Josi, P.K. Subban,  Shea Weber and Jeff Petry have the worse power plays in the NHL.  Yes, the Preds are ranked 2nd last (13.14%) and the Habs are dead last at 13.03% efficiency, i mean futility.  This at a time when the average NHL power play is around 20%, which we haven't seen since the 1980s!  

 

So what do the underlying numbers say? Firstly, they say that the Habs power play is actually slightly better than the Preds; generating more high-danger chances and a better shooting percentage.  (see VERSUS Team Compare chart)

 

A close look at the chances generated shows that both teams just do not generate enough chances at all distances from the net.  And, compared to the rest of the NHL, the shots that they do generate are a far distance from the net.  *Spoiler alert* Are they deferring too much to their best players/ known commodities, who happen to be their defencemen?  Shea Weber has a long history of success on the PP and the hardest shot in the NHL.  So why not?  Its simple.  Their power plays are terrible. 

 

The NHL is changing at an incredible rate.  Teams cannot rely on what was successful last year, or even last month.  Change.  Adapt. Repeat. Or fail.

 

Micah Blake McCurdy's Heat Maps illustrate that the Habs generate their PP chances far from the 'high-danger zone'.   It looks like they stole their PP setup from Al McInnis's box of memories in his basement.  

 

The Pred's PP shots are taken from closer range than the Habs, but still outside the 'high-danger zone'.

 

Now look at the San Jose Shark's PP Heat Map; one of the top power plays in the NHL.  They shoot from all over (check VERSUS; see for yourself).  

 

It's clear that both the Preds and Habs need to generate chances much closer to the net.  The coaches know this.  The players know this.  If I were in the coaches room, I would propose a drastic measure.  I would propose a 'reset' of mentality.  I would propose removing the option for the forwards to defer to their known weapons - the defencemen. To achieve this, I would propose removing these defencemen from the PP altogether. 

 

Crazy. And possibly politically unrealistic. The reality is this: the coaches want these players to be a part of the solution, and will 'die' trying with them, rather than without them.  Very commendable. Very hockey.  Now, carry on.

 

 Canadiens PP Heat Map (@ineffectiveMath)

 Predators PP Heat Map (@ineffectiveMath)

 

 Sharks PP Heat Map (@ineffectiveMath)

 

 

 

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