I try to simplify advanced stats the best I can so a regular person can attempt to understand them. It’s like the usual scene at a doctors office, where the doctor is using very technical and scientific terms. The average person doesn’t understand and responds: “Give it to me in English Doc.” This is what I attempt to do with the few stats I mention below. One could search on the Internet and find the technical definition of these stats, but maybe that goes over their heads. If this sounds familiar, then the quick glossary below is for you. I’m giving advanced stats to you in English.
ASSISTS/60 – (A60) – The average number of assists a player has every 60 minutes of icetime.
EVEN STRENGTH – (5v5) – This is simply a term used to describe 5-on-5 hockey. Most hockey stats incorporate 5-on-5 stats. This is because a player that plays on the power play (Artemi Panarin) is going to have better numbers than a player who only plays on the penalty kill (Marcus Kruger). It isn’t fair to compare stats in all situations as some players have the advantage of power play time to boost their stats. Therefore, stats are usually compared at 5-on-5 only, power play only, or shorthanded only. This puts the players on an even playing field.
Expected Goals – (xG) – is a stat examining shot quality in attempt to guess the goal expectancy of players and teams. Expected Goals is like WAR in baseball in that one isn’t going to try to explain the calculations involved. Instead, one would just explain what is used to determine expected goals. In trying to assign goal expectancy to shots, these factors are used: Shot type (Wrist/slap shot, deflection, etc.), Shot distance, Shot angle, Rebounds, Shots of the rush, & Strength (such as 5v5 or power play).
Expected Goal For Percentage – (xGF%) – is a stat where we use shot quality to determine which team is expected to score more goals when a certain player is one the ice by looking at the difference between expected goals for (xGF) and expected goals against (xGA). If a Chicago players. xGF% is ABOVE 50%, Chicago was expected to out score opponents when he was on the ice. If a Chicago players xGF% is BELOW 50%, Chicago was expected to BE out scored by opponents when he was on the ice. So above 50% = good… Below 50% = bad.
Expected Goal Scoring Rate – (xGF60) & (xGA60) – is a stat that uses the quality of shots on the ice to estimate the amount of goals that should have been scored for and against a team. Let’s use Duncan Keith as an example. His “Expected Goals For” per 60 would be the average number of goals one would expect Chicago as a team to score for every 60 minutes of ice time Duncan Keith gets. Inversely, his “Expected Goals Against” per 60 would be the average number of goals Chicago’s opponents are expected to score every 60 minutes Duncan Keith is on the ice. Again, shot quality over the season is used to determine the expected goal numbers. We will use xGF60 to illustrate which players helped or hindered team offense when they were on the ice. More Chicago goals are better, so a higher number is desired here. We use xGA60 to illustrate which players helped or hindered team defense when they were on the ice. Less opponents goals are better, so a lower number is desired here.
GOALS//60 – (G60) – The average number of goals a player has every 60 minutes of icetime.
Goals For & Goals Against – (GF) (GA) – The game of hockey is determined by goals scored. When talking about goals, we have stats such as “Goals For” (GF) and “Goals Against” (GA). If I’m discussing a team like the Blackhawks, Goals For would be the number of goals the Blackhawks scored. Goals Against would be the number of goals the Blackhawks opponent(s) scored. But what about an individual player? For Duncan Keith, Goals For would be all goals the Blackhawks scored when Keith was on the ice. Goals against would be all goals the opponent(s) scored when Keith was on the ice. So for individuals, the stat is the same, except we narrow it down to only when that player was on the ice.
Goals For Percentage – (GF%) – is simply looking at the percentage of Goals For vs Goals Against for a team or player. The equation is Goals For / (Goals For + Goals Against) = Goal For Percentage. If Chicago plays St Louis and Chicago scores 3 goals while St Louis scores 1 goal. Chicago had 3 goals for and 1 goal against. Using the formula above. 3 / (3+1) = 0.75 = 75%. This means Chicago scored 75% of all goals and inversely St Louis scored 25% of all goals. If both teams scored the same amount of goals, they each would have GF% of 50%. If Chicago would shutout St Louis, Chicago’s GF% would be 100% and St Louis’ 0%. If Duncan Keith plays a whole season in which Chicago scored 78 goals and opponents scored 73 goals while he was on the ice, his GF% would be 51.7%. A person could look at that 51.7% number and know that Chicago scored more than opponents when Duncan Keith was on the ice that season.
HIGH DANGER SCORING CHANCE – (HSC) – A scoring chance that occurs in the slot right in front of the net. This area right in front of the goalie is known as the high danger zone. Around half of the goals in the NHL come from this area.
INDIVIDUAL SCORING CHANCE – (ISC) The number of scoring chances made by an individual player.
INDIVIDUAL SHOT ATTEMPT – (ICF) The number of shot attempts made by an individual player. Also known as individual Corsi for.
LUCK – (PDO) – The sum of a player’s on-ice shooting percentage and on-ice save percentage. The normal total is 100. A PDO over 100 is consider lucky. A total under 100 is consider unlucky. So if a player is playing well, but their PDO is 102, that means the player has been getting pretty lucky and his play is bound to regress. However, if a player has a PDO of 98, he has been unlucky and is due for an outburst.
PACE -(CP60) – Pace of play is calculated by adding the total number of shots for and against when a player is on the ice per 60 minutes. Basically it looks at the team plus opponents shots taken while a player is on the ice. If the number is high, that means there are many total shots between the two teams playing and therefore a higher paced, back and forth game. A lower number would indicate less total shots, resulting in a slower paced game. Also know as Corsi Pace Per 60.
POINTS/60 – (P60) – The average number of goals plus assists a player has every 60 minutes of icetime.
PUCK POSSESSION PERCENTAGE – (Cf%) – This stat is basically a players shot differential represented as a percentage. It is calculated by taking a players shots for divided by the total number of shots when the player was on the ice. If Duncan Keith is on the ice for 4 Blackhawks shot attempts and 2 Blues shot attempts, his possession percentage would be 67%. This is calculated by taking 4 shots for / (4 shots for + 2 shots against). So 4 shots for / 6 total shots. 4 divided by 6 = 0.67 or 67%. That’s how we determined Keith’s possession was 67%. You see, hockey doesn’t have stats like time in the offensive zone or time in the defensive zone available to the public. There is no way to actually know what percentage of time a team has the puck compared to the opponent. For this reason, we use shots to determine which team is possessing the puck. If Duncan Keith is on the ice for 4 Blackhawks shots and 2 Blues shots, then there is a good chance the Blackhawks are in possession of the puck more than the Blues. To simplify it down, a team has to have the puck in order to shoot it. If the Blackhawks have more shot attempts than the Blues, then we can say the Blackhawks were possessing the puck more than the Blues. No it’s not an exact science, it’s just what the hockey community uses get by. A possession percentage of 50% is considered even. Above 50% indicates the Blackhawks are outshooting the opponent. Under 50% indicates the opponent is outshooting the Blackhawks. Also known as Corsi For% or Cf%
QUALITY OF COMPETITION – (TOIC%) – Top line forwards usually play 18-21 minutes a game. Bottom 6 players usually play around 8-12 minutes a game. So if we look at who Duncan Keith is matched up with, and he plays against opponents who average 20 minutes a night, then we can say he is playing against top line competition. If Keith played against players who averaged 10 minutes a game, we could say he is playing weak competition. Basically, this stats look at how many minutes the opponents a player is matched up with normally plays. The higher the number indicates the more minutes the opponent usually plays, and therefore tougher competition.
QUALITY OF TEAMMATE – (TOIT%) – Top line forwards usually play 18-21 minutes a game. Bottom 6 players usually play around 8-12 minutes a game. So if we look at Artem Anisimov, he consistently plays with Kane and Panarin who average 20 minutes a game. Therefore, his quality of teammates is high. The higher the number indicates the more minutes that a players teammates usually plays, and therefore indicates better overall teammates.
A Quality Start (QS) is when the goalie finishes the game with a save% above league average. For the 2013-2014 season that percentage was 91.5%. So, if Corey Crawford allowed only 2 goals on 28 shots (a 92.9% save percentage) that would be considered a quality start. His save percentage for that game was above league average. It was a good start. A quality start. The stat idea was borrowed from baseball and quality starts for pitchers. In baseball, a quality start occurs when the starting pitcher completes at least six innings and permits no more than three earned runs. The reasoning being, when that scenario occurs, the starting pitcher gave their team a good chance to win. As for hockey, the goalie is like the pitcher. A goalie who completes a quality start gave their team a good chance at winning that game. Now if Corey Crawford starts 62 games and Scott Darling starts 20 games, Crawford will obviously have more quality starts as he had 42 more games started than Darling and thus 42 more opportunities to obtain a quality start. To put the goalies on an even playing field, we have quality start %
Quality Start Percentage (QS%) is simply the number of Quality Starts / Games Started. This gives you a sense of how often the goalie has a Quality Start. A good rule of thumb for this stat is that anything less than 50% is bad, anything over 60% is among the league leaders, and the league average for an NHL regular is about 53.4%. So one can simply think of it this way. If Corey Crawford has a quality start% of 60%, he gave Chicago a good chance to win the game 60% of the time. He performed above a league average goalie 60% of the time.
Really Bad Starts (RBS) is whenever a goalie has a save percentage in a game less than 85%. A team only has a 10% chance of winning when the goalie has a save percentage that low.
Relative Possession – (Cf% rel) – One can look at a players possession numbers to determine the quality of the player, but what if he plays on a bad team? Or what if he plays on a good team? Are his teammates influencing his possession? Relative Possession takes a look at the difference in a teams puck possession with a player on the ice compared to off the ice. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say Ned Flanders plays for the LA Kings and he had a 51% Cf% this season. Now let’s say Homer Simpson played for the Colorado Avalanche this season and had a 49% Cf%. One would think Flanders is the better player, but let’s look deeper. The Kings have a 51% CF% with Flanders on the ice and let’s say a 55% Cf% with him off the ice. If we take Flanders’ on ice production (51%) minus the teams production without him on the ice (55%), we see Flanders has a relative possession rating of minus-4. His Corsi percentage is 4 percentage points lower than his teams Corsi percentage without him on the ice. Flanders might have a good possession number in 51%, but he plays on such a good team. And on that team, he is below average. Now let’s look at Simpson. The Avalanche have a 49% Cf% when Homer is on the ice and let’s say a 45% Cf% when Homer is off the ice. If we take the difference of the two, Homer’s relative possession is plus-4 or 4 percentage points better than his teams numbers without him. So Flanders’ 51% might look better than Homer’s 49% at first, but when we compare them to their teams stats things become more clear. Relative possession might still be a little confusing to you, so I will simplify it the best I can into one sentence. Relative possession looks at how many percentage points a players puck possession is better/worse when compared to his team. It shows how valuable a player is to his team.
SCORING CHANCE – (SC) – A scoring chance is simply a shot attempt that was deemed a scoring opportunity. A scoring chance is calculated by shot type and where the shot was taken on the ice.
SCORING CHANCE DIFFERENTIAL – (SCD) – The teams scoring chance differential when a player or group of players were on the ice. A positive number indicates that players team is out-chancing their opponent with that player on the ice. A negative number indicates the opponent is out-chancing that players team when the player was on the ice. If Chicago plays St Louis and Duncan Keith has a scoring chance differential of +3, that means the Blackhawks had three more scoring chances than the Blues when Duncan Keith was on the ice.
SCORING CHANCE FOR PERCENTAGE – (SCF%) – In discussing a team like Chicago, Scoring Chance For would be the number of scoring chances the Blackhawks had. Scoring Chance Against would be the number of scoring chances the Blackhawks opponent(s) had. For individuals, the stat is the same in terms of Chicago chances for and against, except we narrow it down to only when that particular player was on the ice. So what is Scoring Chance For Percentage? It’s simply looking at the percentage of Scoring Chances For vs Scoring Chances Against for a team or player. If Duncan Keith was on the ice for 15 chances for & 5 chances against, his SCF% would be 75%. Meaning, when Keith was on the ice, his team had 75% of all scoring chances vs 25% for the opponent. So above 50% is a desirable SCF% as that means Chicago is out-chancing opponents. Below 50% would be considered bad, since that means opponents are out-chancing Chicago.
SHOOTING% – (Sh%) – The percentage of goals scored compared to shots on goal. If Jonathan Toews has 100 shots on goal on the season and 8 goals, then he has a shooting% of 8%. This means that Toews scores on 8% of his shots on goal. It is calculated by dividing the number of goals scored by the number of shots taken.
SHOTS AGAINST – (CA) – The total number of shot attempts the opponent takes while the player was on the ice. If Duncan Keith finishes a game with 12 shots against, that means the opponent took 12 shots while Keith was on the ice. Also known as Corsi against.
SHOTS FOR – (CF) – The total number of shot attempts a team takes while the player was on the ice. If Duncan Keith finishes a game with 12 shots for, that means the Blackhawks took 12 shots while Keith was on the ice. Also known as Corsi for.
SHOT GENERATION – (CF60) – This is average team shot attempts for per 60 minutes with a player on the ice. This stat looks at how many shot attempts the team has when a certain player is on the ice. Let’s say Keith plays 30 minutes and was on the ice for 15 Blackhawk shot attempts. Now let’s also say Seabrook plays 20 minutes and was on the ice for 12 Blackhawks shot attempts. If we average both of those numbers out to see what they would be if they both played exactly 60 minutes, we can take the variable of time out of the equation. Keith then would have averaged 30 shots for per 60 minutes, while Seabrook averaged 36 shots for per 60 minutes. When we make time equal, we see that the Blackhawks generated more shots when Seabrook was on the ice compared to Keith. This stat is also know as Corsi for per 60.
SHOT DIFFERENTIAL – (C +/-) – The teams shot differential when a player or group of players were on the ice. A positive number indicates that players team is outshooting their opponent with the player on the ice. A negative number indicates the opponent is outshooting that players team when the player was on the ice. If Chicago plays St Louis and Duncan Keith has a shot differential of +3, that means the Blackhawks outshot the Blues by three shots when Duncan Keith was on the ice. For this stat, a shot is considered a shot on goal, a shot that goes wide of the net, or a shot that is blocked before reaching the net. This stat is also known as Corsi +/- (C+/-).
SHOT SUPPRESSION – (CA60) – This is average team shot attempts against per 60 minutes with a player on the ice. This stat looks at how many shot attempts the opponent has when a certain player is on the ice. Let’s say Keith plays 30 minutes and was on the ice for 15 Blues shot attempts. Now let’s also say Seabrook plays 20 minutes and was on the ice for 12 Blues shot attempts. If we average both of those numbers out to see what they would be if they both played exactly 60 minutes, we can take the variable of time out of the equation. Keith then would have averaged 30 shots against per 60 minutes, while Seabrook averaged 36 shots against per 60 minutes. When we make time equal, we see that the Blackhawks suppressed more shots when Keith was on the ice compared to Seabrook. This stat is also know as Corsi against per 60.
ZONE FINISHES – (OZF/DZF) – The number of a players shifts that end in the offensive, nuetral, or defensive zone.
ZONE STARTS – OZS% = Offensive Zone Start / NZS% = Neutral Zone Start / DZS% = Defensive Zone Start… Zone starts are a stat that show how many faceoffs a player takes in the offensive, nuetral, and defensive zones. This stat does not include shifts that start “on the fly” meaning line changes during live play. Because of this, the stat is somewhat flawed and misleading.