The Contrarian – One More Way to Increase Scoring

Ian Gooding

2015-05-03

NicklasBackstrom

What else can be done that has not already been suggested to increase player point totals?

For this week's article, I was first looking into goalie point production. Interestingly enough, it is very hard to find on nhl.com these days. I know I had previously found the information a year or two ago and it was not simple to find, but it was there. Now it appears it is something that does not interest the NHL.

To finish off the idea, here is a table on the subject:

Season

Actual Player Points

Goalie Points

% of all Points

2014-15

17841

48

0.003

2013-14

17869

64

0.004

2012-13

10425

37

0.004

2011-12

17809

66

0.004

2010-11

18169

57

0.003

2009-10

18580

60

0.003

2008-09

19143

50

0.003

2007-08

18252

72

0.004

2006-07

19474

60

0.003

2005-06

20321

73

0.004

2003-04

17070

51

0.003

2002-03

17685

39

0.002

2001-02

17309

59

0.003

2000-01

18337

52

0.003

1999-00

16953

49

0.003

1998-99

15652

52

0.003

1997-98

14973

47

0.003

1996-97

16511

50

0.003

1995-96

17967

53

0.003

1994-95

9928

30

0.003

1993-94

18890

62

0.003

1992-93

19626

91

0.005

1991-92

16422

81

0.005

1990-91

15553

68

0.004

1989-90

16535

63

0.004

(All goalie point statistics were found on www.hockey-reference.com/ )

As you would imagine and can see, it is a rather small percentage of the total number of points earned by all players.

Where I am going with this is to find out if there was any relation between goalie points and the overall trend in player points recently heading downward. I do not believe that any relationship can be made simply because it is too small of a percentage.

This got me thinking about player points in general. Specifically, how efficient has player scoring been? Or in other words, how close to the maximum number of player points have the actual total of player points been?

Why would this even matter?

Before I show you the chart, I will draw a parallel to the discussion about three-point games. We have seen all the arguments about how it closes the gap between teams and fosters close playoff races. Well I wondered if something similar was happening with player points.

A goal scored can generate zero points if it is done in the shootout, obviously one point if it is unassisted, two points if it is assisted by one teammate, and three points if assisted by two teammates (this is the maximum). Hardly an earth shattering revelation, but I wanted to re-emphasize that a shootout goal earn a player no points.

Season

OT Goals

Max Points

2014-15

170

510

2013-14

178

534

2012-13

97

291

2011-12

181

543

2010-11

149

447

2009-10

184

552

2008-09

159

477

2007-08

156

468

2006-07

164

492

2005-06

145

435

(All stats calculated from www.sportingcharts.com/articles/nhl/how-often-do-nhl-games-end-in-a-shootout.aspx)

Now, this is just one aspect of how the league could possibly address increasing player scoring. There are other notions, like calling more penalties, expansion, doing away with the three-point game, etc.)

So let us see how efficient the players have been:

Season

Games Played

Goals

Max Player Points

Actual Player Points

Efficiency

+/-

2014-15

1230

6549

19647

17841

0.908

144

2013-14

1230

6573

19719

17869

0.906

110

2012-13

720

3822

11466

10425

0.909

96

2011-12

1230

6545

19635

17809

0.907

125

2010-11

1230

6721

20163

18169

0.901

20

2009-10

1230

6803

20409

18580

0.910

193

2008-09

1230

7006

21018

19143

0.911

207

2007-08

1230

6691

20073

18252

0.909

169

2006-07

1230

7082

21246

19474

0.917

323

2005-06

1230

7443

22329

20321

0.910

205

2003-04

1230

6318

18954

17070

0.901

10

2002-03

1230

6530

19590

17685

0.903

49

2001-02

1230

6442

19326

17309

0.896

-76

2000-01

1230

6782

20346

18337

0.901

23

1999-00

1148

6306

18918

16953

0.896

-66

1998-99

1107

5830

17490

15652

0.895

-80

1997-98

1066

5624

16872

14973

0.887

-188

1996-97

1066

6216

18648

16511

0.885

-241

1995-96

1066

6701

20103

17967

0.894

-112

1994-95

624

3727

11181

9928

0.888

-120

1993-94

1092

7081

21243

18890

0.889

-203

1992-93

1088

7311

21933

19626

0.895

-102

1991-92

880

6123

18369

16422

0.894

-98

1990-91

840

5805

17415

15553

0.893

-108

1989-90

840

6189

18567

16535

0.891

-156

(All stats compiled from www.hockey-reference.com)

Not bad in recent years with an efficiency of over 90%. The +/- column indicates the number of points generated over or lost under the average which coincidentally is 90%. The maximum number of points is simply the number of goals multiplied by three.

At the same time I came across this article written in October of 2006 by the people at Hockey Analytics Devoted to the Scientific Exploration of the Game of Hockey. They write that the number of unassisted goals is about 5%, and single assist goals is about 15% of all goals.

Back to the stats found at Sportingcharts.com, Team Unassisted Goals and the notion given by Hockey Analytics seems to hold water. I could not find stats earlier than the 2005-06 season, but I have found a chart at quanthockey.com that kind of implies the second half of the Hockey Analytics idea.

Season

Unassisted Goals

% of all Goals

2014-15

395

0.060

2013-14

371

0.056

2012-13

203

0.053

2011-12

350

0.053

2010-11

428

0.064

2009-10

364

0.054

2008-09

420

0.060

2007-08

370

0.055

2006-07

360

0.051

2005-06

423

0.057

So we have seen an improved efficiency in point production, but we have not seen a huge surge of points since the 2005-06 season. What else can be done that has not already been suggested?

Why not have more than two assists on a goal?

Sure, if the league feels fine about giving no points for goals in a shootout, why not give more than two points on goals during any other time in a game.

I know, there are a few of you saying that it is tradition and that shouldn't change. From an excerpt in "Total Hockey – The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League", 1998, Chapter 63 "The Evolution of NHL Statistics" by Ron Andrews, "In the league's first season, no assists were given on goals. And, for the next few seasons, assists were handed out sparingly. However, in 1935-36 for some inexplicable reason three assists could be awarded on a goal".

My educated guess is that it was too difficult to award more than two assists because there was only one referee (now there are two), the referee did not always have the best vantage point (now we have video replay), and off-ice game officials that can validate the chain of puck possession.

Going to a system that gives more than two assists on a goal is possible and easier to do now than it has even been done before.

The logic would still in essence be the same just removing the limitation of a maximum of two assists. Official NHL Rule Book, Section 33.2, instead would read "An assist is awarded to the player or players who touches the puck prior to the goal scorer, provided no defender plays or possesses the puck in between." Section 78.3 would change to "Crediting Assists – When a player scores a goal, an 'assist' shall be credited to the player or players who touch the puck prior to the goal scorer provided no defender plays or has control of the puck subsequently. Each 'assist' shall count one point in the player's record. Only one point can be credited to any one player on a goal."

Imagine the possibilities. Your team has a 5-on-3 power play. They pass the puck back and forth so all the players, including their goalie, touch the puck before someone shoots and scores. Whamo! Six points generated just like that.

If you don't like any of the other ideas being bounced around for increased scoring, maybe this is something that you could get behind.

The Contrarian – Roster Roosters

The Contrarian – Mon Dieux

The Contrarian – One Hundred Point Plan

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