Sports Magazine

Neutral-zone Possession-driving Plays Per-60

By Kicks @Chrisboucher73
Moving the puck successfully through the neutral-zone is a necessary ingredient in maximizing offensive-zone puck-possession plays, while minimizing defensive-plays in the defensive-zone. The specific relationship between certain neutral-zone metrics and scoring-chances were communicated a previous post.
This post will focus on both how often and how successfully each Montreal Canadiens player drives puck-possession through the neutral-zone. Only successful neutral-zone open-ice dekes, east/west passes, and north/south passes were used in calculating each players success-rate, while redline and offensive-blueline carries were included to help quantify each player's contribution per-60.
Other neutral-zone puck-possession metrics such as dump-in were not used, as they do not result in a team moving the puck through the neutral-zone with control.
Only even-strength events were used in this post. The post includes data from every Montreal Canadiens 2013-14 regular season and 2014 playoff game. A list of all the events tracked within my system can be found here.
In games where the Habs out-chanced the opposition at even-strength they produced 28.3 successful possession-driving plays in the neutral-zone per-60; in games where they were out-chanced they had 24.4.
As we can easily see, Brendan Gallagher was the Habs most active player when it came to successfully moving the puck through the neutral-zone with possession. Gallagher produced 38.2 successful neutral-zone possession-driving plays per-60. Max Pacioretty produced 38.0, while Lars Eller produced 36.2. George Parros contributed the fewest controlled n-zone possession-driving plays among Habs forwards, as he averaged just 12.1 per-60.
Among defensemen, PK Subban averaged a d-man-best 29.6 controlled n-zone possession driving-plays per-60. There was a substantial drop-off among d-men after Subban, as Andrei Markov's 20.9 was the next highest total among d-men. Douglas Murray produced the fewest n-zone possession-driving plays with just 11.6 per-60.

In games where the Habs out-chanced the opposition at even-strength they completed 74.4%  of their attempted neutral-zone possession-driving plays; in games where they were out-chanced, they had a success-rate of 67.4%.
Subban (93%) had the top success-rate within this metric among defensemen. Among forwards with significant ice-time, Lars Eller, and David Desharnais produced the top success-rates. The lowest success-rate when attempting to produce a neutral-zone possession-driving play among forwards was produced by Parros, while Jarred Tinordi, Mike Weaver, and Douglas Murray had the lowest success-rates among defensemen.

Not surprisingly, 5 of the Habs top-6 scoring-chance producers also produced  the most neutral-zone possession-driving plays per-60; David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller, Brendan Gallagher, and Max Pacioretty.

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