We are nearly through with the regular season, which makes it a great time to catch up on how the Kings are doing with regard to scoring chance numbers. If you're unacquainted with the scoring chance project, read more about it here. Basically, during each game I keep track of scoring chances which are generally defined by shots within this area of the ice.
People have found that there is a very heavy correlation between scoring chances and possession numbers Yet, scoring chances are still useful in smaller samples. It's just another layer of information we can take into account when trying to analyze a team's performance. Also, more than anything, they are probably the most accessible entry point for people who are curious about looking into new types of hockey stats.
For the first part of this series, let's take a look at how forwards have performed for the team thus far.
(Tables are sortable.)
Even Strength Scoring Chances - Forwards
|FORWARDS||TOI||SC %||SC FOR /60||SC AGAINST /60||SC +/- /60||TAKEN /60||CHANCE SH%|
- Well lot's of positives here. I guess we might as well start with the top line, which is one of the more (if not the most) dominant puck possession line in the NHL. When Justin Williams has been on ice, the Kings have owned 63.3% of the scoring chances. That's a lot. They get 19.5 chances with him every 60 minutes at even strength and only give up 11.3. Williams also registers the 3rd most chances on the team, but has been a bit unlucky converting them into goals. His shooting percentage on scoring chance shots is only 8.5%. League average is around 14%.
- Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown have been equally as dominant. Kopitar hasn't been as productive in registering chances. He's been more of a play-maker this year. Brown has registered chances almost as much as Jeff Carter, but like Williams he's been a little snake-bitten. Brown and Williams could have very productive playoff campaigns if the shooting % starts to bounce back toward the mean.
- Richards-Carter have been nearly on par with the 1st line. They suppress opposing scoring chances at about the same rate, but even with Carter they haven't been able to be as productive offensively. A lot of that has to do with a rotating cast of left wingers, but also the first line's production has been so otherworldly that it is tough to draw comparisons. Still, Carter is doing his part. He leads the team in chances taken and has converted them into goals 19.7% of the time.
- Defense has been the focus for the 3rd line, and they have been extremely effective in that area. They give up fewer scoring chances than any other unit. Offensively, Trevor Lewis has been very productive at generating good looks at the net. He's been one of the teams top forwards in that area, but he too has had a hard time turning those into goals (surprise, surprise). In spite of having two big red bricks instead of hands, Lewis is the most underrated forward on the Kings.
- Dustin Penner remains the only viable option on the left side of the Carter-Richards line. His scoring chance numbers have been solid (all except for his shooting percentage). He's maligned for being lackadaisical in the defensive end, but that is not reflected in his scoring chances against numbers. The reason he is here in the negatives is his ice time. He's been in and out of the line-up and has bounced around on different line combos. He has a mysterious lower body injury and there have been multiple comments from the coach on the state of his conditioning. The team needs Penner to be on top of his game and to lock down the spot on the 2nd line. On the bright side, he's been very productive in logging chances, but has been snake-bitten with regard to his conversion rate.
- Brad Richardson has the worst scoring chance against rate on the team. Surprising because to my eye he has seemingly been playing well. This could just be some short term bad luck for Richardson because his possession numbers have actually been strong. Either way we'll continue to monitor it as long as he's still getting ice time.
- Jordan Nolan's numbers are more of a concern because they form a large sample of data. Also, his poor scoring chance numbers are more in line with his possession numbers. At this point, I don't really see what the staff likes about Nolan. I get that he's a big gritty guy who can punch people in the face, but he has a hard time staying on the right side of the puck. The Kings generate fewer chances when he's on the ice than any other forward by far. He also registers the second fewest scoring chances on the team.
- In a small sample, Tyler Toffoli has been solid in generating chances, but the team has given up a ton when he's been out there. That's probably the reason he's being consistently scratched. That being said, I'd like to see him getting more time in the lineup over Jordan Nolan.
If you have any questions or observations please fire away in the comments.