Cat Stats: Powerplay Effectiveness

It's no secret that 38 games into the season the Panthers have a league-worst 9.3% powerplay, but how have the individual pieces of the man-advantage unit fared? When trying to understand it as a whole, it's often essential to understand the parts. This is a statistical analysis to gauge the effectiveness of individual players on the powerplay units.

One of the most underrated scoring stats in hockey is Team Powerplay Goals For, or Team PPGF. This category tracks how many powerplay goals a player was on the ice for-- essentially a special-teams plus/minus. Unlike the standard plus/minus stat, there is a greater direct correlation between being on the ice and being effective because of the natural flow of a powerplay. As we are all familiar, you can earn a - by playing great defense while a teammate blows his assignment in front of the net, or earn a + by watching a superstar from your own end deke around five players and score a goal. Now consider a powerplay, and while anomalies do happen, a greater percentage of the play incorporates a player on the ice to a varying degree, giving a statistic such as Team PPGF great analytical merit.

Powerplay effectiveness is found through this simple mathematical formula: ((60/t)p)/30

Where t is PPTOI and p is Team PPGF. This figure will give you the effectiveness of a player on a full 2 minute powerplay. The higher the number, the more effective the player.

Without further adieu here are the figures for the Florida Panthers who have played more than 30 minutes of powerplay time as of January 7th.

  1. Bernier: 3.61
  2. Booth: 3.33
  3. McCabe: 3.22
  4. Matthias: 3.10
  5. Weiss: 3.01
  6. Wideman: 2.95
  7. Santorelli: 2.46
  8. Frolik: 2.36
  9. Stillman: 2.32
  10. Kulikov: 1.76
  11. Olesv: 1.34
  12. Garrison: 0
  13. Higgins: 0

So what does this all mean? Statistically speaking, players like Bernier and Booth have been our most effective powerplay performers this season despite not showing up on the scoresheet. In fact Bernier has only registered 2 powerplay points, and ranks 7th on the team (Booth is 6th with 3 points) in powerplay points, but when he's on the ice the Panthers, statistically-speaking, have a greater powerplay. From a qualitative perspective this could be a result of his tough forechecking style away from the puck or screening the goaltender.

In contrast, young players such as Frolik and Kulikov might require more development as they are showing less effectiveness, qualitatively this can be seen in their lack of confidence with the puck on the man advantage.

Perhaps the most alarming figure is the fact that despite leading the team in powerplay minutes and points, Dennis Wideman isn't as effective as one might think based upon his rating, especially when considering Wideman had an effectivness of 5.51 last year with Boston's 23rd ranked powerplay.

What do you think about the Panthers powerplay? Who do you think should be getting more ice time on the man advantage? Who shouldn't be?

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