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Comparing Zone Exits and Scoring Chances

Pierce C. and Jess @2_for_slashing tracked zone exits for the Flyers this season and recently released their results. I thought it would be interesting to compare his data with my scoring chance data and see if any relationship existed. I looked at Chances Against/60, Chances For/60, and Chance Differential/60 and correlated them all with Pierce's zone exits w/possession. A straightforward enough experiment. You would think having control of the puck moving into the neutral zone would be pretty important. But initially there was barely any relationship at all.

I had to cut out defenseman altogether because as a group they had very low exit w/possession numbers relative to forwards. And I removed all forwards with less than 200 exit attempts(usually 4th liners).

Below are the results.

With such a small sample cut down to an even smaller sample, the data was all over the place, but the relationship appeared strongest with chances against and overall chance differential. Intuitively this makes sense. Exiting the defensive zone with possession rather than dumping the puck out should dampen the oppositions ability to regather the puck and go right back on the attack. And we see a negative correlation between the chances against and exits with possession as we should expect in such a scenario.

But as I said above, this is an excruciatingly small sample of players and no strong conclusions should be made. Though it seems like enough to justify tracking zone exits with as many teams as possible over as many seasons as possible to see if the relationship holds up.

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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