As people who follow the game of hockey, we all have personal bias’ as to who are the best offensive players in the National Hockey League. The same names always seem to come up: Ovechkin, Kane, Crosby, Perry and the list goes on. What happens when we take our personal bias out of the equation and look solely at the numbers? Do we even have numbers to measure this?
Luckily and thanks to the hard work by the people behind WAR on Ice we have Scoring Chance data. This data is very valuable as it contributes to a better understanding of overall shot quality. With this data we can take the total number of scoring chances contributed by the player and find the percentage that those make up the total scoring chances for while they are on the ice. This tells us which players are truly driving shot quality and/or scoring chances (call it what you will) for their clubs.
Since the 2007-08 NHL season the following players have the highest percentage of contribution to their teams’ scoring chances while they are on the ice. A minimum of 100 games was used to filter this list. I have also added the Scoring Chance For percentage relative to their teammates to ensure that these players are performing better overall.
This list provides even more confirmation that the St. Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko is taking the NHL by storm and is a bonafide top scorer in the league.
It is interesting to note that Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby do not appear on this list. For reference out of 903 players that qualified Kane ranked 114th and Crosby was 37th. Based on the numbers there are some surprising players listed here, specifically Cam Atkinson, Sean Bergenheim, Michael Raffl, Viktor Stalberg and David Booth.
All of these players are contributing above 38% of their teams total scoring chances for while they are on the ice. Granted quality of line mates likely plays a role to a certain extent but these players still need to get into proper position to create scoring chances. One of the best ways to use statistical data is in identifying undervalued players which can help your team at a low cost.
If I were the general manager of a team on the playoff bubble or a team looking to simply improve depth for the post season I would do my best to acquire at least one of these players to help my chances.