Fenwick Statistic Crash Course: Top NHL Players 2019/2020

With the fast approaching NHL season set to begin January 13, it is a great time to go over special analytic tools used to effectively rank teams in terms of scoring strength and puck possession. The statistic used for this analysis is called fenwick. What is the statistic “Fenwick” in hockey and what does it mean? Fenwick in the NHL is the statistic of shot differential while playing at even strength. This advanced statistic is used for measuring how much a team possesses the puck during a game and allows teams to analyze opponents’ gameplay. For further understanding, here is the formula for calculation: Fenwick = (Shots on goal FOR + missed shots FOR) – (Shots on goal AGAINST + missed shots AGAINST) On a team level, a positive fenwick would indicate that a team possesses the puck more in the offensive zone rather than the defensive zone. On the flip side, a negative fenwick result would indicate that a team spends more time in their defensive zone rather than the offensive zone. This statistic is the most reliable in predicting a team’s strength because it weighs both offensive and defensive efforts. On a player level, fenwick is used for measuring a player’s scoring danger to the opposing team. According to well-known hockey blogger Kent Wilson, most players have a fenwick percentage of 40%-60%, with exceptional players ranking above 50%. These players are considered elite because they are possessing the puck for large enough portions to outshoot their opponents while they are on the ice. Now for a better example of this, consider Edmonton Oilers player Leon Draisatl. Draisaitl had an exceptional season in 2019/2020, leading the NHL with a commanding 110 points in 71 games played. During those 71 games, Draisatl racked up a fenwick percentage of 47.9% with 1,169 shots on the net and 1,271 against. While looking further into Leon’s skilled and fast paced playing style, we can recognize that 67 of his 110 points came from assists. This data leads to the conclusion that Leon is more of a playmaker than a scoring threat. Now to Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov had a solid 2019/2020 season with 85 points in 68 games, tallying 33 goals and 52 assists. This landed him in the top 10 of the league in points. But after further analysis of his play, his fenwick percentage was at an elite level of 56.1%. This blew the other top 10 players in points out of the water, as he was a lethal scoring threat in the offensive zone. He took charge in games with 1,134 shots on the net and only 887 shots against him while he was on the ice. From a Fenwick perspective, he is an elite player and poses a massive threat to the opposing team. What are the uses of Fenwick? Well, fenwick can be used in many instances whether it is for scouting an opposing team to single out the most dangerous players or it can be used to measure a team’s offensive and defensive zone strength. By using fenwick for scouting, teams can adjust the gameplay to either be more offensive or more defensive. Say the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim ducks have a highly contested matchup, and scouts rely on opposing teams’ statistics to plan their gameplay. If the Sharks had a positive fenwick percentage, the Ducks would want to gear their defense to block more shots and play a strong defensive game. This is a very useful way to scout opposing players when compared to an individual’s other statistics. Teams preparing to play the Oilers can come to the conclusion that Draisaitl is a playmaking machine, while teams playing the Lightning can expect Kucherov to be a massive scoring threat when on the ice. With all this being said, there must be other factors weighed when measuring a team or player’s fenwick. As presented in the graphs and examples above, a player’s shot to goal percentage must be weighed to more clearly assess fenwick. However, fenwick alone can provide a very sound prediction of a player’s and team’s puck possession and scoring threat. Dashboard

  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
Subscribe to the Tactician