Over the past several months, Ryan Stimson’s (@RK_Stimp) passing project has been bringing new information to the public about what types of passing sequences lead to the most dangerous types of shots. Ryan, Sean Tierney, Gus Katsaros and others have written excellent pieces on how this data can be used to analyze team performance. I’ve written a couple of pieces attempting to evaluate individual player performance based on the data tracked in the project. All of this work is based around the concept of primary shot contributions (PSC), which include all shots and primary shot assists. As I’ve been working with the data, one idea has always followed me. I want to know which two players combine to create the most dangerous shots for their teams. Using the weighted PSC metric that I introduced earlier this week, I can finally take a first look at exploring this idea.
But before we go any further, I need to state up front that this article is more of an exercise in fun than any type of meaningful analysis due to some significant limitations in the data. To start, I don’t know of any way to access TOI for duos. So since I can’t calculate per 60 minute rates, I’m going to present the numbers in two ways. First is per game, which is far from ideal. Using per game numbers results in players who play together more frequently generating higher numbers. Similarly, teams that keep consistent lines rather than blending are more likely to produce more dangerous duos when looking at the data in this way. In an attempt to provide some additional context, I’m also including the wPSC value per shot, which will help capture duos who generated dangerous chances despite not playing together as much. All data in the set is limited to 5v5 and contains only duos who combined to generate at least 0.5 shots per game, which is admittedly an arbitrary number used largely because it’s where the data became reasonable for visualization. In all, that encompasses 562 different duos.
Below is a bar chart that shows all 562 duos and can be filtered by team.
Each duo is measured by the wPSC of the shot attempts they combine to generate per game. As expected by anyone who has read any of the previous work on the passing project, the Sedins are tops in the league, which means that shots where one Sedin makes the primary shot assist and the other Sedin takes the shot have the highest wPSC of any duo in the league. Essentially, they are the most prolific offensive tandem in the NHL based on the passing project data. Next to each bar in the graph is the percentile rank for each duo among the 562 included in the sample, which is provided just to offer context when the view is filtered to show a specific team.