A look at Tyler Bozak’s improved 2013-14 Season

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Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

Last week, I looked at a WOWY analysis of Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak, where we saw that Bozak had a much improved season over his previous seasons. I wanted to take a look at Bozak’s individual statistics to see where he improved and by how much.

It is fairly easy to see he had a better season last year by looking at traditional statistics. He had 49 points in 58 games for 0.84 points per game compared to 0.61 and 0.64 his two previous seasons. What is interesting is the improvement is exclusively during 5v5 play, as he had just 8 power play points last year compared to 9 and 12 the previous two seasons.

With that said, let’s take a look at Bozak’s 5v5 point rate (expressed as goals/assists/points per 60 minutes of 5v5 ice time) over the previous four seasons to see how much of an improvement his season last year was over previous years.

YearGoals/60RankAssists/60RankShots/60Rank
2010-110.426270/3370.586294/3254.42325/337
2011-120.678157/3300.961144/3304.58312/330
2012-130.620123/2080.886110/2083.72203/208
2013-140.646163/3461.6795/3463.75341/346

The rank columns are where Bozak ranks among all forwards with at least 500 minutes of 5v5 play during that season; so, for 2010-11 he had a Goals/60 rate of 0.426, which ranked him 270th of 337 forwards with 500+ minutes of ice time during 5v5 play.

As you can see, his goals per 60 has remained pretty consistent over the previous 3 seasons and ranking around the middle of the pack as far as forwards go. What is interesting is that his shots/60 rate is pretty consistently right near the bottom of the league’s forwards; while he isn’t getting many shots, he is getting a fair number of goals from those shots. The reason for this is the majority of his shots and goals are tip-ins or on rebounds. He rarely shoots the puck, relatively speaking, during normal play.

Bozak’s dramatic improvement last season is solely due to his 5v5 assist rate jumping to nearly double his rate from the previous two seasons. This elevated him to 5th in the league in assists per 60 minutes last season. Not shown above is he ranked 9th in the league in first assists per 60 minutes, so it wasn’t just cheap second assists that were padding his totals. He was directly setting up goals.

Of course, Bozak plays on one of the highest scoring lines in the NHL with Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk. The more important question is whether he is getting points because of his high scoring wingers or whether he is actually contributing more to the line’s production. To determine that, we can look at Individual Point/Goal/Assist Percentages (IPP, IGP and IAP respectively). To review, Individual Points Percentage is the percentage of the goals that were scored while a player was on the ice that the player had a point on. IGP and IAP is the same but for goals and assists. It should be noted that just as points equals goals plus assists,  IPP equals IGP plus IAP.

Here is how Bozak rates in terms if IPP, IGP and IAP over the past 4 seasons.

YearIPPRankIAPRankIGPRank
2010-1152.8324/33730.6294/33722.2254/337
2011-1259.2276/33034.7231/33024.5217/330
2012-1351.5196/20830.3173/20821.2168/208
2013-1467.9190/34649.162/34618.9297/346

Bozak’s IGP has actually dropped a bit over the past couple seasons and is definitely in the bottom quartile of forwards. Until this past season, Bozak has also been near the bottom of the league in IAP and IPP as well. All this indicates that Bozak has been a relatively small factor in the line’s offensive production. This changed a bit last season, as Bozak jumped closer to middle of the pack in individual points percentage driven by ranking 62nd of 326 forwards in individual assist percentage. Bozak was an important playmaker on his line last season.

In last weeks post, we saw that Kessel performed better with Bozak than without last season and above we see that Bozak was a far more productive playmaker last year than in prior seasons. It is difficult to know from the statistics whether Bozak took a step forward in his development or changed his style of play last season to become a more important member of his line, but he appears to have been. Of course, one season does not make a trend so it will be up to Bozak to show that he is in fact a more productive and integral member of the Leafs top line. A pessimist of course would look at Bozak’s IPP on the power play last season and say nothing has changed. Time will tell.

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For more details on IPP, IGP and IAP and other advanced statistics, please refer to my introduction to advanced statistics post from a couple weeks ago.

 

  • Cali…Leaf

    Loved this and your previous stuff David. Ahhhhh some hockey thoughts in August ……. it was only 110 here today!
    How many days till camp 39 orsomething?

  • Optimustic

    Good article Dave.  Just pointing out a minor typo after the second graph, Bozak’s IPP should read 62nd of 346 instead of 326, to reflect what the graph says.
     I don’t feel that the top line scoring production was a problem at all last season.  If we can vastly improve our d-zone pressure and spend more time in the o-zone, we’ll be much better off, especially if that translates to more production from the bottom 6 9.

  • Optimustic

    Cali…Leaf Camp opens for physicals on Sept. 11.  24 days I think, with the rookie tourney starting on the 13th and preseason games start on the 22, or 35 days.  It won’t be long till we’re counting the hours down.  :-)
    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=682123

  • Optimustic

    Cali…Leaf http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/page/calendar2014/2014-15-nhl-calendar   Camps officially open 1 month from today.

  • Zep2

    Take him off the 1st PP KAdri, even Holland are better offensive players

  • 4evrblue

    Zep2  Still don’t get the Holland love. I think he could turn into a decent player but a lot of people seem to think he is already a 2nd line centre and IMO thats just not accurate. He was on a  21pt pace last year and is 23 years old. Naz put up 50pts and people say he’s not a 2nd line centre. Colour me confused lol

  • 4evrblue

    Thanks for the writeup David. If Bozak can keep his numbers up to what he did this year or even elevate them just a little more it would mean a lot to this team.

  • Sic_Transit_Gloria

    Great post David! Looks like bozak put up a hell of a season. Top 6 A-per-60 in the league? Gives some credence to Burke/non is who have been touting how good bozak is/can be for a long time. Hopefully he can build on this, imagine if he even put up better numbers this year? He’d be approaching legit top line centre territory.

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks , and thank you David ! 

    Here is the Thing for me with Bozak. He can play with elite players, some of his passes are elite. He wont produce like that on a second line of the Leafs due to lack of talent to play with. Bozak wont make wingers Better, because the wingers wont be there to accept the good passes. Bozak is compliment only,. but thats all we need with Kes and JVR. A center that can get the puck to his wingers, and Bozak does that

  • Mind Bomb

    4evrblue Zep2 Its is Size for me, He is the biggest Center with some talent we have. That seems to understand defence as well lol

  • peterbleafs

    Good article.  Thank you.  Bozak to me is just a bit to passive, a bit more aggressiveness or even selfishness on the ice and he really ups his stats.  When you watch him you can see high end talent…but just lacking that one small ingredient.  Hope he adds it in this season.

  • dlb Mad

    Bozak didn’t seem to change his style of play to me, but he seemed more confident in his abilities.  He has always had chances, and last year he capitalized on more of them it seemed.
    I think it’s mostly a matter of maturity and experience.  Was that his 3rd year in the NHL, and one year was a lockout shortened one?  Until you’re been there, it’s tough to know how to prepare properly for the long season.  Familiarity and knowing himeself allows him to do the best he can.
    Bozak’s a good player.  He helps whichever line he’s on be better imo.

  • deedrag

    Once again great piece. I’m interested in know when you’ll do a piece or comparison thru stats on Bernier and Remier. Would love to know where they stand when compared to the league overall?

  • Leafstopia

    i’d be interested to see a WOWY for Bozie and JVR….

  • hometeem

    4evrblue Zep2 those numbers are badly skewed.  be interesting if the games he played f all in or when he was w so called 4th liners were removed what kinda pace he was on

  • theacs1966

    dlb Mad He also came from college.  Those guys take a couple of years to get used to play 80-100 gms a year.  It’s quite a jump from the 40-50 he was used to, same with Gardiner.  Bozie is older, but may have yet to hit his prime.  More games, more experience, more size all will help the raw talent that he has.  Still don’t think he’s a number one C, and it should probably be Naz on the PP at C.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Bozak is a shootout monster.  This isn’t factored in, but his contribution to the shootouts is significant.

  • mikeyboy

    “come on bozie”

  • deedrag

    MaxwellHowe  He’s good, but Lupul is the real shoot out monster on this team.

  • djamon

    Jmessih Who are these people?

  • Armchair GM

    I recall when the slimy Sens lost out on the Bozak sweepstakes and Murray acknowledged that Bozak was the type of player that could play on a team’s top six…

  • hockeyanalysis

    deedrag I will think about it. Goaltending is difficult because outside of save percentage there isn’t much to look at for goalies right now.

  • B_Leaf

    Bozak is the least of our problems…it would be nice if we could clone him and have another.

  • Mikey

    djamon Jmessih I believe the term is “deluded fools”.

  • phaneufoundlander

    MaxwellHowe  good point Max, he is a gem in the SO….guy rarely misses. He should give Kessel a few pointers, cause he blows in the SO

  • dlb Mad

    deedrag
    you mean JVR?

  • bear19

    4evrblue Zep2
    Holland put up points playing top 6  
    Didn’t get nearly enough time there.

  • djamon

    B_Leaf The least of our problems? I think he epitomizes our problems. Hopefully the practice of overpaying mediocre players, and then having them play our of position has ended with Shanahan’s hiring.

  • steele123

    djamon B_Leaf Bozak isn’t overpaid. $4.2 million for a very nice 2nd line player is great value.

  • djamon

    steele123 If he was playing where he deserves to play he wouldn’t be worth anywhere near what he’s paid. It’s a Catch-22 created by Carlyle. He’s a terrible 1C because he can’t play defense against other 1C’s.

  • Mattmark

    Interesting that the stats confirm what the eye saw last season.  Just about everyone in the forum conceded that Bozak’s play was much improved, even fans like me who had previously found his shortcomings exasperating.

  • NiagaraFallsThunder

    dlb Mad deedrag Two seasons ago there were no shootout monsters to be found.  We couldnt win in a shootout if our lives depended on it IIRC.  From what I remember the last time we made it into the playoffs we didnt win one shootout in that shortened season.  I’m hoping our success with the shootout continues.

  • djamon

    -Keon No, I actually no longer think Bozak is suited to a 3C role either, due to his poor defensive play. He’s basically a low end 2C to me at this point, and that makes him overpaid. I think it’s laughable to expect Bozak to maintain his current scoring pace (40-50 points) playing away from an elite player like Kessel. All the stats show his play drops off severely when they’re separated.

  • Mattmark

    djamon -Keon The fact that Kessel seems to consistently thrive when he’s on the ice with his buddy is Bozak’s sole trump card, but it’s a stopper.

  • djamon

    Mattmark Kessel is elite…he’ll thrive with anyone as his centre. I suggest you read the other articles showing how Bozak has had zero effect on his production.

  • Mattmark

    djamon Mattmark Too bad the lineup I posted above isn’t an option.  Bozak between Komarov and Santorelli might have been a decent third line.

  • djamon

    Mattmark I agree.

  • BPsotka

    djamon Mattmark I don’t care how elite a player is. Nobody gels with every player and certainly the definition of an elite player is not the ability to perform with any linemates. it is to perform at a higher level than other players.

    It is ridiculous to claim he can thrive with anybody. Even Gretzky couldn’t play with everybody.

  • djamon

    BPsotka It’s ridiculous? So far the evidence shows otherwise. Your subjective definition of an elite player notwithstanding, the ability to play with any linemates…and prosper, and make them better…is certainly one attribute of an elite player. Kessel has shown that. 

    BTW…who couldn’t Gretzky play with?

  • Savo43

    djamon -Keon Poor defensive play? Gzuz. He’s the only player on his line that can break up a damn play, and he does it often. He has a very active stick, does great on the back check, and uses his body to edge players out of scoring opportunities. I don’t know where this “he is bad defensively” crap comes from but its not true. You hugely underestimate Bozak, he was one of our better players last season, and when he returned from injury he was a machine. Give credit where its due.

  • Savo43

    djamon Mattmark You clearly didn’t watch the 13 games he had Kadri as their center. The top line was horrible. Bozak came back and they dominated. Bozak is one of the only reasons the top line gets the puck out of our own zone. Watch the entire ice, and not just the side that caters to your excitement and perhaps gain a perspective that is more on the true side.

  • Savo43

    @Mikey djamon Jmessih Career trajectory has nothing to due with attributes, but to success in regards to age and progression. Bozak could easily become a dominant forward in this league. Patrick Sharp dominant? Probbbbably not. But nothing is impossible.

  • Savo43

    dlb Mad Confidence definitely changed you’re right. It ensured that he made smart plays rather than forced plays, which made him far more successful. Bozak has always had the skill and attributes of a solid contributor, but he never took the time to realize that he too can make a move before making a play, or dart through and make himself available for a “tip in”. Ppl think tip ins are easy to attain, but to do so, we must beat a defender with deceptive speed and unpredictable agility. Bozak used this so greatly last season and because of it he got points. He’s only going to get better, and he’ll do just fine again as our guy manning the top line.