Frozen Tools Forensics: Faceoff Wins and Players to Target

Chris Kane


Every so often on Frozen Tools I try to dig into a stat or a category that is a bit more specific and maybe doesn't get as much airtime. I like to dig into some of the non-point related categories too, your hits, your blocks, but in particular find the players who thread the needle of contributing in those, while not putting you at a significant disadvantage in other categories.

For this week I want to embark on a similar mission, but we will be looking at faceoffs.

This week on Frozen Tool Forensics: Faceoff Wins

Some quick thoughts about faceoffs to get us started. For the most part in this article, we are going to reference faceoff wins, and not faceoff percentage (though we have a report for both thanks to the reports page). Faceoffs are generally like shots where individual players have fairly repeatable performances, both over a season and in a given scoring week. This performance is essentially made up of two components, an individual's (plus their supporting cast's) skill at winning a faceoff, and the coaching decisions that put them in position to take those faceoffs in the first place. There can be variation in a player's numbers if they are moved to a new team or have a new coach that uses them differently. Some players, particularly those who historically have had wing eligibility may be asked to play center for chunks of time under one coach or take all of their strong side faceoffs for example, but on a new team won't be asked to do so. This just means some care should be taken whenever a player enters a new situation.

Adding faceoffs wins as a category can be an interesting question. The impact will depend a little on how your league is set up. In a points league it seems to just add another way for centers to get points, and so weighs them even heavier. In addition, it does add value to those wingers who also take faceoffs. I would argue that in a categories league though it actually stratifies centers, making a small group more valuable, but quite a few centers quite a bit less so. 

To get into this, let's talk strategy real quick. For a points league, it doesn't change much. There is another variable that goes into your calculation for points and you draft and play players accordingly. In a categories league, especially where you have limited center spots (rather than six generic forward spots for example), you only have a few spots that can contribute to your weekly (or annually I suppose) faceoff category. For most of the managers in your league that means something like three to four players will be responsible for almost all of the faceoff wins. To get an edge on your competition then you would either need t