Unpacking the Los Angeles Kings Power Play Problems
We are over a quarter into the season and the Kings power play is struggling yet again. So what's the the problem?
The Kings are currently 21st in the league in power play %, which is the most common way people evaluate a team's performance in this regard. There are some flaws with this methodology, though, namely it doesn't really account for the differences in the amount of power play time teams get.
Perhaps a better way to evaluate would be to look at the amount of goals a team is scoring on the power play per 60 minutes of ice time. This way we're looking at it on a more level playing field. Using this methodology the Kings are actually doing a little better, 17th in the NHL.
Even still, a small sample like this doesn't tell us much. If, say, just a few more goals go in instead of going off the post here and there then their ranking would take a substantial jump in the rankings. So even goals per 60 isn't going to tell us all that much at this point.
It's better to look at other stuff that presents us with more events to sink our teeth into like shots. This will help mitigate some of the luck that we see through focusing on goals in the short term.
So how are the Kings doing in this regard? Check out this graph:
(Tables are sortable.)
NHL - Power Play 5v4
|TEAM||GOALS /60||SHOTS ON GOAL /60||SHOTS THROUGH /60||SHOT ATTEMPTS /60||ATTEMPTS BLOCKED / 60||ATTEMPTS MISSED /60||ATTEMPTS NOT ON NET /60|
Stats via Stats.Hockeyanalysis.com
- The Kings are 22nd in getting shots on net on the power play, 13th in shots that got through the defense and 4th in all attempts including shots that ended up being blocked. So what does this mean?
- Obviously, it means that the Kings are getting a large amount of shots that aren't making it to the opposing goaltender. In fact they are 1st in the NHL in having the most attempts that don't make it on net.
- St. Louis, though, is just behind them in 2nd yet they are 3rd in goals scored. Why the difference? 1) St. Louis' shooting percentage on the power play is well above average at 18.5%, which means they are probably benefiting from a little short term luck. 2) While the Kings are 22nd in shots on goal per 60, the Blues are 6th.
- In looking at the data over the last 5 years most teams that rack up a lot of blocks and misses are also able to generate a lot of shots on goal as well. In fact, San Jose has had more of their shots blocked on the PP than any other team over the last 5 years but have also scored the most PP goals.
- Unfortunately the Kings, in spite of generating a lot of attempts, are having a hard time generating a lot of shots on goal. So just who are the culprits?
Los Angeles Kings - Individual* Power Play 5v4
|Player Name||Shots on Goal /60||Shots Through /60||Shot Attempts /60||Attempts Blocked / 60||Attempts Missed /60||Attempts not on Net /60|
*players with 20 minutes + of PP time.
- The first thing that sticks out to me here is how few shots Anze Kopitar is generating. In fact, he has only 1 shot this season on the power play (5v4 only). That is the lowest mark in the NHL for any player that's had 30 minutes or more of power play time. In addition, Dustin Brown has the second fewest attempts among forwards on the team. The Kings need to find a way to get them more involved
- Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter are all generating a lot of attempts that are getting blocked and/or missing the net. Three out of four of these players play primarily on the point.
- On the other hand Jake Muzzin has been great at getting shots through. He has the fewest blocked and missed shots, while also registering shots on goal at the highest rate.
- It's also surprising that Jarret Stoll is attempting so many shots, especially when you compare it to how few shots he takes at even strength. Although it is nice to acknowledge that his performance has been better than expected, it is probably not ideal to have his shot rate nearly equal to that of both Kopitar and Brown's combined.
- Its tough to reach any big conclusions from such a small sample size, but there are some interesting takeaways from this data. The main one being that the Kings have to do a better job of figuring out a way to have their more skilled players generate more shots.