Goal Assessments: Introduction, Methodology, & About

Hello hockey fans,

Welcome to my new site!  For those of you that have previously read my Postgame Thoughts at The PensNation, you should be familiar with my goal assessments, which is what this site will be about.  My plan is to assess every goal in every NHL game over the course of the season.

For those of you who are new to what I do, keep reading for the About and the Methodology (straight from the actual pages you see in the menu above).


The main purpose of this site is to publish goal assessments for every NHL game that occurs during the 2014-15 season.  Other topics may be covered as the season progresses though.

My goal assessments project started as a Pittsburgh Penguins-specific project during the lockout-shortened season in 2013.  The idea came from the never-ending misuse of plus/minus as if it was an all-encompassing statistic on its own.  You can find my original thoughts and results here: “Plus/Minus: The Laziest Stat in Hockey?

After another season of assessing just the Penguins in 2013-14, I decided that it’s time to try analyzing the entire NHL to make these numbers more useful.

This is the opposite of “newer” predictive stats.  It’s purely for post-game analysis, somewhat subjective, and may vary greatly from time period to time period with a limited sample size.

For the sake of comparison, I put together a chart with Corsi, Fenwick, Goals For, Goals Against, and my Goal Assessment numbers for the Penguins last season.  Having all of these numbers side-by-side provided an interesting mix of “analytics” vs. stats vs. eye test and could certainly help explain a few coaching decisions or possible issues.

In the end though, my goal assessments are just a nice way to determine which players you should be angry or happy with from a results standpoint and it’s hopefully better than plus/minus.  With any luck, one day I’ll combine this information with “fancy stats” and we’ll have even more information to work with when judging players and teams.


The idea behind my system is to assess every goal in terms of “goals contributed to” and “goals at fault for” regardless of what the stat sheet says.

For “goals contributed to”, I try to include factors such as setting screens, fake passes/shots, setting picks, and drawing defenders away.  Just because a player gets an assist doesn’t mean he contributed to the goal though (ie – when a defenseman drops a puck behind the net and a forward takes it coast-to-coast for a goal).

Moving to “goals at fault for”, the reasons often include bad line changes, missed coverages, miscommunication, and turnovers.  I also include being in the penalty box as a reason for being at fault for a goal since that player put his team in a shorthanded position.  Goalies can also be at fault (sometimes alone) if they misplay a puck, whiff on a save, or position themselves very poorly.

Marc-Andre Fleury

The goalie was not the one at fault here…

I will include all goals, even powerplay and penalty kill, when assessing a player’s performance.  In the past, I’ve kept track of these numbers as a grand total.  This year, I will break everything down into powerplay, even strength, and penalty kill in order to come up with more consistent/useful numbers.

In general, the overall totals favor forwards and players who get powerplay time while hurting more defensive defensemen and penalty killers.  Therefore, it’s best to judge and compare players who play within similar roles.  Looking at the breakdowns between special teams and even strength should also help this year as well.

Though I have now done this for two seasons, I highly value your input to check for potential mistakes and provide a different point of view on plays that I may misread.  Inherently, all feedback is welcome to make this a more efficient and useful process.  You can contact me on Twitter (@HockeyMeesh) or via e-mail: hockeymeesh@gmail.com. I hope you find this project to be worthwhile!


I plan to go through the goals of each game within 24 hours of it ending (ideally sooner, but the NHL has some odd scheduling and life does get in the way).  I will create a new post for each game, categorize it by the two teams playing, and tag it by the players involved to make searching as easy as possible.  The menus at the top include each team broken down into their conference and division with a spreadsheet of their results.  I will also put players into a master list of forwards, defensemen and goalies as you can see in the menu.

My planned format for each post will be:

(Team) Goal ## (Scorer), (Situation)
Contributed to:
(Player): (Reason)
(Player): (Reason)
At Fault For:
(Player): (Reason)
(Player): (Reason)

So if you’ve seen the long paragraphs I used to write before for previous goal assessments, you can be sure that there will be much less reading to do this year.

Thanks for checking this out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s