Goal-based analysis is something I tend to not rely on too heavily in analysis, due to its volatile and unpredictable nature. Without proper context and deeper inspection, it can be a red herring.
Just because a player or team is scoring a lot doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll continue to do so.
However, on an individual player level I do think there’s something useful to be gleaned from examining how and why certain player types are finding ways to be productive. It can help clue us in on if there’s a specific reason why they’re successful, whether they’ve stumbled upon a formula that’ll work for them and other similar players, and if it’s something that can help us explain the unexpected.
One important contextual wrinkle that needs to be accounted for in discussions like this is opportunity. Whether it’s raw ice time, the teammates you’re most frequently playing with, or the competition you’re squaring off against, there’s no question that usage can influence a player’s capacity to produce. Aside from the few extreme cases, most players need to be put into a position to thrive and ultimately the coach has more impact on that than the player.
Sometimes the usage factor …read more