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Passing Analysis: Oilers at Devils

This is a comprehensive analysis of the passing statistics between the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers from their game on February 7th.

Jim McIsaac
Comparing Passing Data

This is a series of articles looking at the Devils opponent’s passing stats in a game-by-game basis. The logic behind doing this stems from how we use Corsi. If a team attempts 40 shots in a game and their opponents attempt 20, the team with the larger percentage of shot attempts wins the Corsi battle and has the higher CF%--in this case it would 66% (40/60). My thoughts are, what other stat “totals” are teams generally “winning” that can help us evaluate performance? This is the first step towards answering that question.

I’m starting to look at different ways we can use this passing data to evaluate the Devils and how they compare to other teams. This article looks at the Edmonton Oilers against the Devils on February 7th.

John’s recap from the game is here. My passing recap is here. The chart from that game is below, as well as the opponent’s chart.

Team Comparisons

Now we’ll get into looking at who controlled pass attempts in each zone and overall and see how it relates to Corsi. We’ll start with each team’s pass totals and completion percentages.





If this game was any indication of the Oilers season, it’s no wonder they are so terrible. The Oilers defensemen attempted 104 passes in their own zone, and a mere thirty-two passes elsewhere on the ice. The Oilers defense generated seven total shot attempts and five total shots, similar to the Devils defensemen on a given night. The busiest were Martin Marincin (31/38, 2 SAG, 2 SG) and Jeff Petry (25/28, 2 SAG, 1 SG).

The forwards attempted fifty, forty, and fifty-seven passes in the defensive, neutral, and forward zones respectively. Taylor Hall (19/26, 3 SAG, 1 SG) was the most active in terms of total passes. Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (14/19, 4 SAG, 4 SG), and Nail Yakupov (11/15, 5 SAG, 3 SG) were predominantly responsible for the Oilers offense via passing on the night. Of the twenty total shot attempts generated and nine total shots generated for the forwards, the top line of number one overall draft picks generated twelve of those shot attempts and eight of those shots.

Completion Percentage


The Devils were more accurate in every zone overall. You can also see in the raw data that the Devils out-attempted the Oilers in the offensive zone by fifty passes. That’s quite the difference.



Shot and shot-attempt generation fell along similar lines for the Devils as more than 75% of the totals came from the forwards. They bested the Oilers in total SAG/SG as well as their shot-attempt conversion rate as well. 62.9% for the Devils is very good for them.

Passes by Zone


While the Devils only out-attempted the Oilers by ten total passes, a significant percentage of those pass attempts (15.2%) were at the Oilers end of the ice. In fact, this dominance is clearer in the possession chart below.

Overall Possession


Of all the passes attempted in the offensive zones of both teams, the Devils controlled 63% of them. That is territorial dominance. Overall possession was much closer, as the Oilers preferred to spend over half of their time with the puck in their defensive zone. The team’s Fenwick ratings are more in line with their actual possession than Corsi in this game. Again, once I have a total of 10 games completed in this fashion, we’ll take a look at when trends emerge.


What did you think? What are some other ways to compare some of this data? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, and overall feedback to moving this process further along. Passing Data Explained: A Reminder

Pass: A reasonable and deliberate attempt to get the puck to a teammate which results in 1 of 3 outcomes: 1) Maintaining possession; 2) Allows for the recipient of the pass to make a “hockey move” (dump in, deflection, another pass etc.); 3) A shot attempt. When in doubt, common sense will prevail.

What you see above are charts illustrating pass completions, pass attempts, and pass percentages for each player in all three zones. A pass that goes across a zone or two will be marked as occurring in the zone it originates from.

Each completed pass that results in a shot taken by a teammate counts as one “shot attempt generated” or “SAG” in the chart below. This is tracked to attempt to determine which teammates are better at generating opportunities to shoot. You’ll also see a “shot generated” or “SG” column to track the highest quality of shot attempts. Finally, there is a “shot-attempt conversion rate” or S/SAG% that illustrates the percentage of shot attempts generated that result in actual shots on goal.