Hero Charts 101: How To Read & Use Them

Hero charts. They are simply amazing. They allow one the ability to compare and breakdown player performance. They are a very valuable tool. However, if one doesn’t know how to read or understand the chart, it isn’t valuable at all. As I love to post hero charts to illustrate a players capabilities, I need to explain how to read them as the regular person could get lost.There are two types of hero charts, one for defensemen and one for forwards. Let’s take a look at Niklas Hjalmarsson vs Brent Seabrook as an example.

So this is what the chart looks like. On the left is Niklas Hjalmarsson and his stats from 2016. On the right is Brent Seabrook and his stats from 2016.

The chart shows eight total stats. Goal scoring, playmaking, production, following season production probabilities, shot generation, shot suppression, possession, and following season possession probabilities. I will go over each of these in a moment.

When looking at the individual bars, they have blue lines in them. These lines depict the players quality in that stat. For example in the production bar of each player, we see the words top2, top4, and top6. Top2 means that player is a top pairing defensemen in that stat, top4 means that player is a top-4 or 2nd pairing defensemen level in that stat. Top6 means that player is a top-6 or 3rd pairing defensemen in that stat. Also notice the coloration of the bar. Navy is better as it means top pairing level. Burnt orange is bad as is means 3rd pairing or 7th defensemen level. This is probably the most important part of these charts as they show what level the player is at in each stat. These blocks show how proficient that player is. So under production, we see Brent Seabrook is a low level top pairing defensemen, while Niklas Hjalmarsson is a low level 3rd pairing defensemen at production.

So what is production? What is playmaking? What is possession?

Let’s take a look at each individual stat.

Goal Scoring – Well this one is simple enough. It shows how proficient that player is at scoring goals. As we can see, Seabrook is a low level, top pairing defensemen when it comes to goal scoring while Hjalmarsson scores at the equivalency of a third pairing D-man.

Playmaking – This section looks at a players primary assists. Primary assists are first assists or simply passes that directly lead to goals. So if one is setting up goals, they can be called a playmaker. Seabrook, last season, had the playmaking ability of a second pairing D-man, while Hjalmarsson had the playmaking ability of a third pairing D-man.

Production – This stat combines the first two. It’s goal scoring plus primary assists which equals primary points. By looking at a players primary points (goals+first assists) we can see what their overall offensive production looks like. Seabrook produces like a low level, top pairing D-man & Hjalmarsson produces like a low level, 3rd pairing D-man.

So the first three stats are simply offensive stats. We know Hjalmarsson is not an offensive player and it shows in this chart. Just like we know Seabrook can produce offense and the chart shows that as well. 

Following Season Production Probability – Our first of two probabilities on the chart, this bar tries to predict how well the player will perform in terms of producing points next season. So Seabrook is 36% likely to produce as a top pairing D-man, 30% likely to produce as a 2nd pairing D-man, 27% likely to produce as a 3rd pairing D-man, and 7% likely to produce as a depth or 7th D-man.

Now we move on to the possession numbers.

Shot Generation – How many shot attempts the team has when said player is on the ice. This is an offensive stat. Help your team generate more shots and it will lead to more goals and more wins. Seabrook has the shot generation numbers of a 2nd pairing D-man, while Hjalmarsson is depth defensemen level which is not good. 

Shot Suppression
– The ability to limit opponents shot attempts. This is a defensive stat. Prevent the opponent from shooting, equals preventing goals which leads to wins. This is a stat Brent Seabrook is really really really bad at. He’s a low level, depth defensemen quality player when it came to shot suppression this past season. This means when he was on the ice, he was allowing the opponent to take many shots. Hjalmarsson, on the other hand, shines at this stat. Hjalmarsson is known as a defensive defensemen and it shows with this chart as his best attribute is shot suppression. He prevents opponents from taking a high number of shots which helps limits the opponents ability to score goals.

Possession – This stat combines shot generation with shot suppression to see overall who is winning the shot battle. If a player has good possession numbers, it means his team is outshooting the opponent when he is on the ice. If a player has bad possession numbers, it means the opponents team is outshooting his team when that player is on the ice. So having good possession numbers is important. Outshooting the opponent leads to out scoring the opponents which leads to beating the opponent. As we can see from this chart Seabrook can score and produce offense, but he is not a good possession player. His possession numbers were that of a 3rd pairing D-man this past season. This means opponents were dominating play and outshooting Chicago with Seabrook on the ice. Hjalmarsson had the possession numbers of a 2nd pairing defensemen last season.

Following Season Possession Probabilities – This stats tries to predict how well the player will perform in terms of puck possession next season.

And that’s what a hero chart is. So much information jam packed into one clean chart.

The only difference when it comes to forwards is instead of top2 or top4, the chart has 1stL, 2ndL, 3rdL, and 4thL. That stands for first line quality, second line quality third line quality, and 4th line quality as evidenced below in the Marcus Kruger vs Andrew Shaw chart.

These charts are a great way to compare free agents, trade targets, and even players on the same team. Use these to help determine who should play top line left wing, what player on the trade block is the best, or which low budget free agent would make the best signing. 

I’ll leave you with the example below. Brian Campbell not the best at production, but is a possession savant. Brent Seabrook, a poor possession player, but someone who can offensively produce points. A perfect match? 

Click here for the interactive hero charts. Make sure to click the compare button at the top of the chart upon arrival.