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Analyzing production from the home plate area

Taking a look at how each of the Flyers’ forward lines is performing in one of the most dangerous places on the ice

Kate Frese

Through the first nine games of the season, Dave Hakstol hasn’t made too many tweaks to his forward lines. After mixing up the the middle six following a loss in the second game of the season, Hakstol’s only other changes to the forward group this year has been due to injuries suffered by Jordan Weal and Taylor Leier. With each of the four main lines already seeing 50 minutes or more of 5-on-5 action together, it’s safe to say there’s been enough time for each trio to gel and figure out where one another will be in the offensive zone to help create chances. At this early stage in the campaign, how well have those lines created chances in the offensive zone?

Tracking chances by line
Thanks to sites like Corsica.Hockey and Natural Stat Trick, a lot of the stats for individual players is already available. Corsica.Hockey even breaks down possession numbers by line, which was unveiled on their new-look site late in September. Utilizing these features along with the shot charts over at First Line Stats and the play-by-play charts found on, I was able to track who took every unblocked shot attempt for the Flyers from the home plate area at 5-on-5 so far this season and what forward lines were on the ice when the shot attempt took place.


For reference, the picture above is what I used as the home plate area: from where the trapezoid lines meet the goal line, to the faceoff dots, to the top of the circles. I also chose Fenwick (unblocked shot attempts) over Corsi (blocked and unblocked shot attempts) because the point of tracking these chances was to see which lines are getting quality chances, and Fenwick is a slightly better way to measure quality chances over Corsi. With all this in mind, here’s how the Flyers’ lines have performed so far this season:

The main lines

As expected, the top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek have a healthy lead in the raw totals thanks to their time on ice at 5-on-5. However, the fact they are also nearly leading in the Fenwick for from home plate area per 60 category with 24.03 is encouraging for the line moving forward. A lot of the numbers came from the 8-2 win over the Washington Capitals (six unblocked shot attempts that resulted in six shots and four goals), but the top line also had big games against the Los Angeles Kings (four shots on six unblocked shot attempts), the Nashville Predators in Philly (four shots on six unblocked shot attempts), the Edmonton Oilers (five shots on goal), and the recent blowout loss to the Anaheim Ducks (two goals and five shots on six unblocked shot attempts). Couturier has 19 of the line’s 40 Fenwick for from the home plate area at 5-on-5, as well as well six of the nine goals (nice?) the line has scored. Giroux-Couturier-Voracek’s Corsi for percentage of 54.63 and expected goals for percentage of 60.73 at 5-on-5 are well above the team’s averages.

The surprise line nine games into the season is the ‘fourth’ line of Michael Raffl, Scott Laughton, and Leier. Although they only have one goal to their credit, The Honey Bees’ 24.05 Fenwick for from home plate area per 60 is slightly higher than that of the top line. The trio started the season strong with two shots on four unblocked shot attempts against the San Jose Sharks, six shots on seven unblocked shot attempts against the Kings, and five shots on five unblocked shot attempts against the Ducks in Anaheim for 13 shots on 16 unblocked shot attempts in three games. After they posted just four shot attempts from the home plate area in Nashville and in the home wins over the Capitals and Florida Panthers, the ‘fourth’ line manufactured three shots in the home loss to the Predators. Unfortunately, Leier has missed the last two games and the bottom six has kind of been a mess due to this (and Nolan Patrick leaving Tuesday’s game early). Laughton has 11 of the 23 unblocked shot attempts this line has produced from the home plate area, a line that owns a 57.61 Corsi for percentage (and a 12.26 relative Corsi for percentage) as well as a 53.88 expected goals for percentage.

Despite owning a painful 43.64 Corsi for percentage and an 11.2 Fenwick for from home plate area per 60 rate, the trio of Dale Weise, Patrick, and Travis Konecny have the second-most goals from the home plate area at 5-on-5 with two. Although they’ve played parts of eight games together, the line of Weise-Patrick-Konecny have produced more than one shot attempt in a game just three times. However, the line did post three unblocked shot attempts from the home plate area in three straight games against the Capitals, Panthers, and at home against the Predators. Konecny has produced five of the line’s 10 unblocked shot attempts despite being the only forward who has yet to score while the line is together.

The line with the fourth-most amount of 5-on-5 ice time to this point of the season is the unit of Weal, Valtteri Filppula, and Wayne Simmonds. With a Fenwick for from home plate area per 60 rate of 18.04, this trio has somehow only put home one goal on 16 unblocked shot attempts. Much like the rest of the team, Weal-Filppula-Simmonds provided their best game against the Caps, when the line posted a goal and four shots on goal on four unblocked shot attempts. These three managed to produced two shots on four unblocked shot attempts from the home plate area in both the loss in Nashville and at home against the Ducks. Both Filppula and Simmonds have five of the line’s 16 unblocked shot attempts from the home plate area, while two of the attempts belong to Weal and the other four belong to the Flyers’ blue line. Weal-Filppula-Simmonds are doing fine in the puck possession department, as the line sits at a relative Corsi for percentage of 3.97 and a relative expected goals for percentage of 8.86.

Recent/old lines, combos on the fly

The lines of Weise-Filppula-Konecny and Weal-Patrick-Simmonds were mainly used in the first few games of the season. Despite mixed results at 5-on-5, both lines failed to record a goal from the home plate area. The recently used trio of Jori Lehtera-Filppula-Simmonds provided a strong showing against the Oilers, as the line produced a goal and three shots on goal with four shot attempts. The tandem of Patrick and Konecny have also managed to pot a pair of goals away from Weise this season at 5-on-5, as Couturier was on the ice when Provorov scored in Anaheim and Weal was on the ice when Konecny beat Pekka Rinne in Nashville.

The line of Giroux-Couturier-Voracek is making the most of their ice time and converting on several of their home plate area chances. Raffl-Laughton-Leier are producing unblocked shot attempts at the same rate as the top line, but they haven’t been as fortunate in terms of finding the back of the net. In about the same amount of 5-on-5 ice time, Weal-Filppula-Simmonds have outplayed Weise-Patrick-Konecny in terms of shots and unblocked shot attempts from the home plate area, but the latter have one more goal to their credit.