Frozen Tools Forensics: All about the power play

by Grant Campbell on September 13, 2019

 

By using PP data from Dobber’s Frozen Tools Report Generator, we have the ability to view any number of categories among the top-30 PP producers from last season. There is an example of this below:

 

 

The leaders for goals while with the man advantage last season were Brayden Point with 20, Steven Stamkos with 19, and Alex Ovechkin with 18. Stamkos and Ovechkin are regulars on this yearly list but Point was a little bit of a surprise as his previous high for PP goals was five. David Pastrnak missed 16 games but still managed 17 PP goals and surely would have been in the top three, if not the leader, last year with a full season.

Ovechkin has accumulated a staggering 247 PP goals in his career going into this season and has exceeded 20 PP goals four times with a career high of 25 in 2013-2014. He routinely leads the league in PP shots from his usual spot on his off wing. Every player in the top 30 is above 59.3 percent on the PP, and Ovechkin tops out at 90.5 percent with John Carlson coming in second at 83.7 percent.

Nikita Kucherov had 48 points last year, which was the highest total since Sidney Crosby had 61 PP points in 2006-2007. We are entering another period of increased PP production that obviously coincides with higher scoring in general. Last season saw 30 players exceed 25 PP points in the NHL, whereas in 2016-2017 that number would have put them 15th overall in the league.

Switching to the top 21 PP point producers of 2017-2018, we see Phil Kessel leading the league with 42 PP points. Arizona is hoping that he can bring this production to a PP unit that was 26th in the NHL last season at 16.3 percent.

 

 

Since 2013-2014, only three players have had more than 30 PP assists: Kucherov, Keith Yandle and Blake Wheeler (who has done it in back to back seasons), and all of those took place this year and last. Wheeler has helped elevate the Winnipeg PP and has two 91-point seasons in a row to show for it.

Taylor Hall is back and healthy, but will his 37-PP-point year in 2017-2018 be an outlier? Or is there more to offer with the addition of Jack Hughes and P.K. Subban on the PP?

Going back to 2016-2017, we will look at the top 11:

 

 

There are a few interesting names on this list, starting with Brayden Schenn and William Nylander being eighth and ninth in the league that season. Schenn had 17 PP goals in 2016-2017 but only 25 goals over the whole year. Nylander had 27 points while only being on the Toronto PP 48.9 percent of the time.

Jonathan Drouin’s PP time has actually increased from 58.4 percent in 2016-2017 to over 60 percent in the past two seasons, but his point production on the PP dipped from 26 to 22, then to 16 last season.

A trend I see over the three seasons of data is that players who have a PPP/60PPMIN of over 4.5 (with a large enough sample size) will have a good chance of being on the first unit of the PP at some point if they aren’t already on it. To remain on the top PP unit, 3.5 appears to be about the minimum for PPP/60PPMIN on each team. The PP% is increasing as well for players who produce and especially for those who have stayed near the top of the league all three years, like Kucherov, Ovechkin, and Kessel.

As an example, Ovechkin has seen his PP% in the past three seasons go from 75.9 to 87.4 and then to 90.5. Power plays are huge for fantasy pools, and if players can break that magic 50 percent barrier to be on the first unit, they need to produce once they are there or find themselves back down the depth charts. These are the players who will win it for you in points-only pools.

Thanks for reading, and please follow me on Twitter @gampbler15.