Friday, October 4, 2013

Tracking Scoring Chances - Introduction

I've followed efforts to track scoring chances for the Leafs in previous seasons, but I haven't seen one for this 2013-14 season. So, I decided that I will try my hand at it. A couple of good primers are from In Lou We Trust and Copper and Blue.

To give you a very simple idea, to measure scoring chances is simply to count all of the shots directed at net from the area circled below (image from Copper and Blue). As that post described, blocked shots are not included, but missed shots are. Also, there's a decent chunk of impression in the chances, very soft shots from in the area might not be counted, and hard shots, one-timers, quick passing moves, etc. from outside the area might be. It all comes down to my judgement. I'll post times and descriptions (and maybe some gifs) of all chances I track, so anyone who's interested can check my work.

Why do this? Well, first off, it's fun to get a good picture of exactly how the flow of a game goes in terms of chances. It's also nice to have another tool to complement Corsi and Fenwick to shed light on what players are contributing to possession play and chances. Scoring chances tend to be similar to Corsi and Fenwick, and see when and how they differ, as well as when they don't, can teach us more about the utility and context of each measure. Also, we often see 'chances' data shown on broadcasts, but there is no official NHL definition or stat, this work gives us a little transparency in that respect.

So off I go, on a quest to track chances across the 82 games. I'll try and be regular with updates, but there will definitely be times in the year when things backup, feel free to comment or message if I'm slacking.

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