Coaching strategies so far this season

It’s early in the season but I wanted to look at a couple of coaching strategies to see where teams rank in terms of a) line-matching, and b) zone matching. The raw stats are available on the site but there’s no report that collects the data in once place (yet).

Line matching

Teams’ levels of line matching was determined by the difference in TotTm% between the their highest and lowest regular (8+ GP) forward by that measure. There are a number of ways one could measure this but this method is one of the simplest. Of course, most methods (including this one) will give you a metric that’s a combination of a team’s and their opponents’ line-matching. That said, I suspect the latter is generally even across teams.

The rankings:

Team High player TotTm% QoC Low player TotTm% QoC Difference
1 TOR Kessel 30.8 Smith 25.1 5.7
2 DET Zetterberg 30.7 Miller 25.3 5.3
3 EDM Hall 30.5 Gazdic 25.5 4.9
4 CAR Semin 30.5 Sutter 25.8 4.7
5 COL Landeskog 29.8 Bordeleau 25.4 4.5
6 WSH Ovechkin 30.3 Wilson 26.0 4.3
7 MIN Parise 29.7 Veilleux 25.4 4.3
8 SJ Couture 30.5 McCarthy 26.4 4.1
9 VAN H. Sedin 30.5 Sestito 26.5 3.9
10 CHI Toews 31.0 Smith 27.0 3.9
11 CBJ Gaborik 29.9 Boll 26.0 3.9
12 PHX Doan 29.5 Bissonnette 25.7 3.8
13 LA Williams 29.8 Nolan 26.1 3.7
14 PHI Read 29.7 Rosehill 25.9 3.7
15 BUF Vanek 29.8 McCormick 26.1 3.7
16 STL Backes 30.4 Morrow 26.9 3.6
17 WPG Little 30.2 Slater 26.6 3.5
18 PIT Kunitz 30.4 Jeffrey 27.0 3.4
19 CGY Glencross 29.7 McGrattan 26.4 3.3
20 BOS Eriksson 29.6 Thornton 26.4 3.2
21 MTL Plekanec 30.1 White 27.0 3.1
22 DAL Seguin 30.1 Garbutt 27.0 3.1
23 NJ Elias 30.3 Olesz 27.5 2.8
24 NSH Wilson 29.6 Hendricks 26.9 2.7
25 TB St Louis 29.5 Crombeen 26.8 2.7
26 OTT Michalek 29.5 Condra 26.9 2.6
27 NYI Tavares 30.3 McDonald 27.7 2.6
28 FLA Goc 29.5 Bjugstad 27.2 2.3
29 ANA Perry 30.1 Bonino 27.9 2.2
30 NYR Stepan 29.3 Moore 27.5 1.8

By this measure, the top line-matching teams are the Leafs, Red Wings, and Oilers, while the least line-matching teams are the Rangers, Ducks, and Panthers.

Zone matching

Teams’ levels of zone matching was determined by the difference in O/DSt% between the their highest and lowest regular forward. Again, this could be done in a few ways but I chose a simple method. The rankings:

Team High player O/DSt% Low player O/DSt% Difference
1 EDM Yakupov 68.9 Gordon 19.9 49.0
2 CHI Bickell 73.3 Kruger 25.7 47.6
3 PHI Raffl 55.4 Rosehill 11.1 44.2
4 NJ Loktionov 69.9 Carter 29.4 40.5
5 MIN Koivu 63.0 Konopka 23.5 39.5
6 NYR Richards 69.2 Moore 30.0 39.2
7 STL Morrow 72.7 Backes 37.3 35.4
8 VAN Sedin 61.3 Sestito 29.5 31.7
9 NYI Okposo 65.9 McDonald 35.8 30.1
10 LA Nolan 82.0 King 52.5 29.5
11 MTL Galchenyuk 58.3 Briere 30.0 28.3
12 COL MacKinnon 64.4 McLeod 36.1 28.3
13 NSH Forsberg 58.8 Gaustad 30.7 28.1
14 TB Purcell 64.8 Thompson 39.0 25.9
15 FLA Barkov 61.6 Winchester 35.8 25.8
16 CAR Lindholm 62.1 Staal 37.7 24.4
17 PHX Ribeiro 63.2 Vermette 39.4 23.8
18 BOS Lucic 57.3 Kelly 33.6 23.7
19 PIT Jokinen 63.2 Adams 40.0 23.2
20 OTT Spezza 56.8 MacArthur 35.0 21.8
21 WPG Wheeler 56.6 Slater 35.4 21.2
22 BUF Girgensons 51.9 McCormick 31.4 20.5
23 TOR Smith 53.7 McClement 33.3 20.3
24 CGY Baertschi 61.0 Backlund 41.0 20.0
25 WSH Wilson 59.6 Chimera 42.0 17.6
26 DAL Whitney 58.3 Fiddler 41.2 17.2
27 CBJ Boll 58.5 Anisimov 42.9 15.7
28 DET Weiss 59.4 Bertuzzi 44.2 15.2
29 ANA Penner 60.6 Palmieri 46.4 14.2
30 SJ Nieto 54.8 Couture 44.9 9.8

The top zone-matching teams are the Oilers, Blackhawks, and Flyers, while the least zone-matching teams are the Sharks, Ducks, and Red Wings.

Impressively, Oilers coach Dallas Eakins puts Yakupov out for offensive zone faceoffs more than twice as often as D-zone faceoffs, while sending out Boyd Gordon for defensive draws four times as often as offensive ones. On the other end of the spectrum is the Sharks where no forward starts in the offensive or defensive zones significantly more than the other.

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