Frozen Tool Forensics: Early-Season Changes in Deployment

Chris Kane


In this Frozen Tools column we love to keep an eye on deployment, it has become a bit of a theme of the articles over the years. Getting access to top-six minutes and top power-play time is usually critical to success. Unless you are somehow able to watch every game it is hard to stay on top of who is getting a shot in the best situations. Tools like Dobber's Last Game Lines, are certainly helpful, but we are still limited by team, and who has the time to check in on all 32 teams on a consistent basis?

One way I have found to help with this is to run time on ice reports for two periods of time and then compare them. It is an idea we often return to several times throughout the year, because not only is it incredibly important, it also is continually changing.

For the purposes of this week's article, we are pulling two reports from Dobber's reporting section. Both are the time on ice report, but for different time frames. Our baseline report is from the end of last season and our comparison is current data to date (Thursday 11/3). By comparing these sections, we can get an idea of which players are being exposed to different deployment across the entire league rather than just team by team. We will predominantly be looking at power-play usage this week to highlight players, but once selected we will be using Player Profiles, and Last Game Lines to figure out the context for what the data is showing us.

Another note here, given that this is comparing two separate season sets we do have a number of players who don't have comparable data who are getting decent deployment. Mostly these players fall into two categories, rookies (or other first year players), or players returning from injury).

Consider this your reminder that these players have been getting decent power-play deployment for their respective teams. We aren't going to deep dive them at the moment, so take a look if they are available in your league and see what they have been up to over the last couple of games (Shane Pinto is particularly interesting as his deployment has improved dramatically after Josh Norris' injury).