All of the past NHL Stanley Cup champions were winners – that’s how you get the trophy, glory, and fame, after all. But that’s far from the only thing each team has in common. We took a look through the detailed and advanced stats from the past 10 winners to see if there are any insights to be gleaned. Spoiler alert: There are. From the most recent NHL champions to those who hoisted the Cup a decade ago, some statistical trends bear watching.
Actual Numbers in Advanced Stats
We looked at the last 10 Stanley Cup champions to see how advanced stats can tell the tale a little better than basic stats. Some of these stats, like Corsi for percentage and Fenwick for percentage, look at the number of shots taken by the team when it’s on the offense. Of course, when a player controls the puck, it’s more likely they’ll score a goal, so tracking these stats can showcase the offensive prowess of a team.
On-ice shooting percentage tallies how a team converts its shots when a certain player is on the ice and on-ice save percentage shows how well a team saves a goal when a certain player is on the ice. Finally, PDO is a team’s shooting percentage plus save percentage.
We broke down each champion into these advanced stat categories, and then noted the comprehensive average for all teams over the last five years as well as their average over the last 10 years. As we look down each category, you can see that these stats stay pretty consistent across the board (of course, with a few outliers). It can be safe to say that an NHL team that hopes to compete for a championship should shoot for these specific statistical goals as they put together their roster and season.
Dive Into NHL Rankings
Next, let’s look at how each champion ranks when compared to the rest of the league. With the on-ice shooting percentage ranking being an obvious outlier, most of these teams tended to average in the top 10 in these categories (and some champions ranked No. 1).
Also, it’s interesting to note the five-year average is higher across the board (again aside from the on-ice shooting percentage ranking) than the 10-year average because when we look at the actual numbers, they’re not showing an increase as the seasons go by. In fact, the 2016-17 Penguins went down in percentage in a few categories when compared to their team that won the Stanley Cup the prior year, and sported the lowest Corsi for percentage out of all the teams featured here.
This may be because teams have gotten on board with advanced analytics and have used these stats to build a better team – one that can go to the finals and win it all.
Win It All
Are you a stats person who is looking forward to this year’s NHL playoffs? Are you hoping your Penguins three-peat, or are you rooting for another team to win the Stanley Cup? Be sure you’re decked out in some sweet new NHL gear from Fanatics before heading out to catch some action in person.