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.
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.
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.
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.