The Journey: Insights from Frozen Tools Usage Charts – Part 1
Welcome back to The Journey, where we track the development of prospects as they excel in junior, make the NHL, and push towards stardom.
If you often root around in the "Advanced Stats" tab on Frozen Tools player profiles, you will doubtless be familiar with the Player Usage charts. Once you learn how to read them, these charts can communicate several useful insights at a glance. Back in June, Dobber wrote a helpful explanation for how to read the charts and interpret some of the other advanced stats listed in the profiles (ie. OZ%, PDO, IPP, xGF).
Here is a quick summary:
Bigger bubble = More playing time
Dark blue bubble = Drives more shot attempts relative to his teammates
Bubble at the top = Plays against toughest competition
For fantasy purposes, we love to see players rocking large, dark blue bubbles as far to the right as possible. That means they are seeing lots of ice, starting most of their shifts in the offensive zone, and generating more shots for than against when they are on the ice. If that bubble is near the top of the chart, they are dominating regardless of who they are up against—which is impressive in real life but less important for fantasy. Sheltered, offensive specialists can be just as valuable as all-situations minute munchers.
The Usage Charts did not reflect 2022-23 games until recently when the data set finally grew large enough. As with all stat-based insights, take everything here with a grain of salt because it is still early. But they can give us a useful glimpse into how a given player is being deployed by their team and how well they are performing in that role. As the season progresses, this visual data will become more and more trustworthy.
Starting with Coyotes, Juuso Valimaki jumps off the screen with his large, dark blue bubble in the top left. This is a very weak team—Arizona is duking it out with Chicago at the bottom of the standings—but relative to his teammates Valimaki seems to have rejuvenated his career after finally flaming out in Calgary.