Anaheim DucksArizona CoyotesBoston BruinsBuffalo SabresCalgary FlamesCarolina HurricanesChicago BlackhawksColorado AvalancheColumbus Blue JacketsDallas StarsDetroit Red WingsEdmonton OilersFlorida PanthersLos Angeles KingsMinnesota WildMontréal CanadiensNashville PredatorsNew Jersey DevilsNew York IslandersNew York RangersOttawa SenatorsPhiladelphia FlyersPittsburgh PenguinsSt Louis BluesSan Jose SharksSeattle KrakenTampa Bay LightningToronto Maple LeafsVancouver CanucksVegas Golden KnightsWashington CapitalsWinnipeg Jets

Player Usage Charts

A feature we weren’t able to accommodate in the print edition of Yearbook was introducing a player metric introduced by Rob Vollman, aptly named ‘Player Usage Charts.’

I love the way the charts provide a quick glimpse of a player’s usage – primarily, from a coaching perspective - based on various factors. I was an easy and early convert, and lucky enough to have captured player usage – when the charts themselves were called OZQoc charts – prior to former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson’s dismissal contrasted with in-coming coach Randy Carlyle and his usage preferences.

Guest writer Jonathan Willis will describe the features of the charts below with an article originally written for inclusion in our print version of the magazine. Some poolies may not be using some of the newly forming advanced metrics, and miss out on value-added analysis in their draft and day-to-day fantasy decision-making.

Fortunately, we were able to include the full 30-team player usage charts as an added feature for online subscribers of the magazine. Once the season starts up the plan is to take snap shots at monthly intervals as charts for reference. Sample size is an issue, but as a quick glance reference, I think it’s a small factor. Monthly comparisons on player movement as teams adapt to injury shuffles throughout the roster and prolonged scoring swings in either direction.

The Print copy of the McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook hits stands September 10.

Los Angeles Kings Player Usage Chart

By: Jonathan Willis

The Kings’ regular-season player usage chart, seen above, tracks three key statistical measures of individual players. A player’s height on the chart shows the level of competition that each faced – the higher a player ranks, the tougher his opponents. Which side of the chart each player is on shows which zone his coach used him in – a position further to the left indicates more starts in the defensive zone, a position to the right shows more starts in the opposition zone. The final factor is each player’s bubble, which tracks Corsi, a measure of shots, missed shots and blocked shots for and against at even-strength (a strong Corsi number typically indicates that a player does a good job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone). A dark bubble shows a player with a good Corsi number, a light bubble shows a negative Corsi, while the size of the bubble indicates how good or bad each player’s number was.

The chart drives home how dominant the Kings’ regular top line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams was. The trio – especially Kopitar – typically matched against excellent opponents, while not getting an excessive number of offensive zone starts. Despite these difficult minutes, they were successful in keeping the puck in the offensive end of the rink, something that not only helped the Kings score but also limited their opponents’ ability to pick up goals.

Results for the supporting cast are more mixed. Simon Gagne and Dwight King both look pretty good by this measure, but both played just a fraction of the regular season – Gagne appearing in 34 games due to injury, King in 27 after being recalled from the AHL. Dustin Penner and Brad Richardson both fared well in support roles, while Jeff Carter and Jarret Stoll did a good job of maintaining puck possession given the difficulty of the minutes they played. Mike Richards typically looks good by these measures, but uncharacteristically struggled during the regular season – with Richards on the ice in 5-on-5 situations, the Kings were out-shot 27-to-25; with him off the ice, they out-shot their opposition 29-to-24. In his defense, he played difficult minutes but even so it was a weaker year than normal for him.

Unsurprisingly, the fourth line had difficulties maintaining possession of the puck – Colin Fraser, Kyle Clifford, Jordan Nolan and Trevor Lewis were all out-shot to one degree or other.

On defence, the clear star is Drew Doughty, who overcame some very tough minutes to help the Kings drive puck possession. Of the three full-season defencemen relied on to play tough minutes, Doughty clearly did the best job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

The other two defenders leaned on in significant minutes were stay-at-home types Rob Scuderi and Willie Mitchell. Scuderi was Doughty’s most common partner, with the duo lining up as a pairing more than 70% of the time, but when separated he was typically used in a pure-defense role, as evidenced by his tougher zone starts. Mitchell typically got second-pairing duty, and did a good job of holding his own in that assignment, though over the years he’s also shown an ability to take on top-pairing opposition when required.

It’s also clear why Los Angeles felt that Slava Voynov could step in for departed blue-liner Jack Johnson. While the rookie was primarily used in favourable situations over the course of the year he did a good job of generating offense over his 54 regular season games, an unsurprising development after a very strong 2010-11 campaign in the AHL.

Alec Martinez and Matt Greene round out the Kings’ defensive group, with both putting in a fine showing as third-pairing defenders. As with Scuderi and Doughty, the pair typically played together, but when separated were used in vastly different assignments. Martinez was never relied on for anything more than third-pairing work: the weakest possible opposition and lots of time in the offensive zone; to his credit, the Kings did a good job of controlling the play in those situations when he was on the ice. Greene, however, had tougher minutes – sometimes playing on a higher pairing with Jack Johnson, and sometimes being used on a defensive zone tandem with either Mitchell or Scuderi. He held his own despite occasionally being thrust into a more difficult role.

The heart of their eventual Stanley Cup victory (or at least, the non-goalie part) shows up well here: a dominant first line, capable tough-minutes defenders and an able supporting cast.

Jonathan Willis currently writes for the Edmonton Journal, the Nation Network, Grantland and Hockey Prospectus; previously his work has appeared at ESPN, The Score, Yahoo's Puck Daddy blog and SBNation. He can be found on Twitter at