Toronto Maple Leafs’ Zach Hyman returns: What it means from an analytics standpoint

first_imgSo, what do all these numbers mean? Basically, they mean that Tavares and Kapanen are clicking — a CF% of 59.38 and an HDCF% of 50 without Hyman in 136:07 of ice time — and that with him back, the production should only get better, because Hyman connects well with Tavares. According to Natural Stat Trick, in the 56 minutes and 49 seconds that Tavares, Kapanen and Hyman were on the ice together 5v5 last season, they had a CF% of 56.59 and more scoring chances (55.70 percent) than the competition. The question now is whether they can reproduce that. Hyman noted that his linemates did their job, with Kapanen creating space and Tavares being strong on the puck. What the Maple Leafs need, however, is for them to finish.All statistics are from Natural Stat Trick. UNIONDALE, N.Y. — After missing the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first 19 games this season to complete his recovery from a torn ACL, Zach Hyman returned to the lineup Wednesday night, slotted back in his usual spot alongside John Tavares. While he wasn’t on the ice for Tavares’ late goal or assist on new linemate Kasperi Kapanen’s goal, Hyman’s presence was felt throughout the game.”I thought he was great,” Tavares said after the Leafs’ 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders. “I think the intangibles he brings, the work ethic, you could just see. So many things he does well, how much pressure he puts on the opponent, does such a good job of getting on the forecheck and recovering pucks. I thought he was great for me and [Kapanen] that way,” In 17 minutes and 37 seconds of ice time — about 20 seconds longer than his average game last season — Hyman showcased the game for which he is known. He put pressure on the Islanders while recording one shot, one hit and had three attempts blocked. According to Natural Stat Trick, his Corsi for percentage (CF%) was 58.33 at 5v5, with nine scoring chances — four high-danger chances, including one individually — for and seven scoring chances against.”I felt good, felt strong. I didn’t worry about my knee, which is good,” Hyman said postgame. “I thought I just went out there and just tried to play my game, just kind of pick up where I left off six months ago. It’s a long time but I felt good.”MORE: Hockey analytics 101 — Introduction to core conceptsPicking up where he left off is just what the Leafs need. Last season, Hyman netted 21 goals and added 20 assists in 71 games while playing mainly with Tavares and Mitch Marner. Over the course of the season, the trio had a CF% of 53.63 with 512 scoring chances for (SCF), of which 200 were high-danger. Tavares and Marner had the best seasons of their careers, posting career highs with 47 goals and 88 points and 26 goals and 94 points, respectively.”Lot of good success last year and built some good chemistry,” Tavares said prior to Wednesday’s contest. “Want to pick up where we were and continue to get better.””We played together all last year,” Hyman said of Tavares after the game. “He’s a great player to play with, easy to play with and it makes my job easier coming back and playing with a guy like that.”The issue now is that Marner will be out for a few weeks with a high-ankle sprain. Without Marner in 2018-19, Tavares and Hyman combined for a minus-11.11 relative goals for percentage (Rel GF%) at 5v5; when the trio was together, the percentage was 7.75. That’s quite a dropoff. The one positive is that CF% showed an uptick from 53.63 to 57.35, meaning the chances were there for the pair but they just could not finish.As of Wednesday night, Kapanen is now on the other flank. While it was only one game, the trio combined for a CF% of 59.09 at 5v5 with a SCF percentage of 57. Both of those stats placed the line in the top two among the four lines, as did its relative SCF (3.30); they had the best percentage of high-danger chances for (HDCF%), at 57.14.As coach Mike Babcock noted postgame, “they spent a lot of time in the offensive zone.”last_img

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