Frozen Tools: Secondary assist rates

Chris Kane


Our Dobber Frozen Tools are a cornucopia of data, reports, and charts. The data is only as good as what you use it for though. For example, learning that Artemi Panarin has 53 assists and 17 even strength secondary assists is great, but only if it gives you some information to act on. These articles, then, have several purposes. One is to share something interesting happening in the league, another is to highlight a way to access some useful information, and a third is to show how we can use the information given. This week, as hinted above, we are going to take a look at assists, and more specifically secondary assists.

The Assists report on in Frozen Tools has a number of useful breakdowns. We can for example see who is leading in assists. Leon Draisaitl is thus far leading the way in that category. That is certainly interesting, but hardly unique.



The extra information that we are going to dive into today are the secondary assists numbers, and in particular secondary assists at even strength. Secondary assist numbers have a repuation for being difficult to replicate on a season to season basis. The idea goes that a secondary assist is a bit more random (and therefore less dependent on player skill) than primary assists. We would expect to see a fair amount of variation between players' secondary assist numbers each year.

To take a look at that I took four versions of the above table (2016-17 to 2019-20) to see how player's secondary assist numbers have changed over time. I looked secondary assists as a percentage of a player's total assists. So instead of a straight count we are looking at the proportional of assists that are secondary. I also decided to use even strength assists only as power-play introduces a whole new set of variables. We ended up with 264 players that had secodary assist data for each of the last four years.

To measure I simply took a look at the difference between the percentage of secondary assists a player had each year. For example,