Playmaking Volume 1

@RK_Stimp has a passing project that tracks the first, second, and third assists to every shot attempt this season in the NHL. Using this data, I plan on investigating and creating many visuals over the coming weeks.

The first visual I made looked at the passing abilities of Chicago’s defense this season. Today, I’ll take a look at the forwards.

Here is a simple visual to show how the forwards ranked from best to worst utilizing the passing data. Remember, this isn’t a ranking of the forwards overall, but rather a ranking of their playmaking ability. This is looking mostly at the offensive side of the game.

In relation to each other, the darker green were the best play playmaker, the light green were good playmakers, the light red were okay playmakers, and the dark red were bad playmakers. I apologize for the omission of Andrew Ladd and Marcus Kruger. Their mid-season number swap complicated matters.


Now, one could argue that linemates will have an impact on the numbers. For example, if Teravainen passes to Phillip Danault or Andrew Desjardins, it’s less likely to be a shot attempt than if he passed to a top-6 forward. Likewise, one would expect Artem Anisimov to have better passing numbers playing simply by playing between Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane. So my point is one should probably group the top-6 together and the bottom-6 together when analyzing the data, or at least be aware of the discrepancies in quality of linemate. 

Okay, let’s get into the actual data.

You know was a first and second assist is for a goal, so think of this as the first assist to a shot attempt. If Panarin passes to Keith who shoots the puck, then Panarin would record a assist to the shot attempt.


The following is the number of passes that led to a pass that led to a shot attempt per 60 minutes. If Kane passes to Panarin who passes to Keith who shoots the puck, then Kane would record a second assist to the shot attempt.

Next, we have the number of passes by a player that led to a pass that led to a pass the led to a shot attempt per 60. Wait, is this a dream inside a dream inside a dream? No. Think of this as the third assist to a shot attempt. If Anisimov passes to Kane who passes to Panarin who passes to Keith who shoots the puck, then Anismov would record a third assist to the shot attempt.

Finally, here is total assists (first, second, and third) to shot attempts per 60 minutes. This was the data used for the first visual of this post.


For my next piece, I will look at assists to scoring chances instead of assists to shot attempts.