Goons like Eric Boulton tend to break Graphs featuring Neutral Zone Data in very……..not-good ways.
A little over 2 years ago, Eric T. introduced us to the idea of tracking play in the neutral zone, in the form of tracking “Zone Entries.” Zone Entry Tracking is now being done by trackers for a few different teams (Isles, Canes, Ducks, Kings, Sharks, Flyers, Caps, and more here and there) although not most teams’ data has not been collected yet such that people can compare players across teams.
That’s something I’d like to change, so I will be using this space to acquire data from various teams and compare teams and players. That said, I’d like to explain how we analyze neutral zone data in the first place.
Most Neutral Zone trackers track using a spreadsheet created by Eric, which collects the time, player, and type of each entry. That sheet compiles the 5 on 5 and 5 on 5 close individual #s of each player (How many entries, What % of entries were via carry, how many shots per type of entry, etc.) and the team.
Using a tool created by Red Line Station (@Muneebalummcu) and with some help from Eric T, we can then use this data to get on-ice data for every player. This is to me, the real gold mine of neutral zone data – we can see not just how often a player carries in, but how often the opponents do so against him, and whether opponents are carrying it in or instead dumping. We can also use this data to determine which players aren’t getting it done once the puck is in the offensive or defensive zones, although how repeatable that data is is still in question (More on this in a bit)
There are a few neutral zone stats I think are most worth highlighting: