Wyshynski: How the NHL’s player-tracking data made it to fans

Discover the fastest (and slowest) NHL players with the new NHL EDGE stats site that offers in-depth analytics. Now, hockey fans can explore 12 advanced metrics on the league’s player and puck-tracking information for the first time. It’s all available to the public, if you have the patience to dive in.

Looking for the speediest skater in the league? That’s easy. The stats site updates the top 10 players for each NHL EDGE analytic right on its front page. For example, Winnipeg Jets center Rasmus Kupari reached 23.95 mph in the second period of a game against the Los Angeles Kings, securing his spot as the fastest skater this season.

Finding the slowest skater, on the other hand, requires patience. I spent over two hours sifting through player by player to determine that Travis Boyd of the Arizona Coyotes had the slowest top speed at just 19.53 mph, an arduous effort for what is ultimately an unremarkable stat.

Distinctively, NHL EDGE offers context about players like Kupari but not for those like Boyd. Notably, the Jets forward’s top speed places him in the 99th percentile among all NHL forwards, while below-average skaters such as Boyd fall into the “below 50th” category for that analytic.

This approach is deliberate, as the NHL decided not to highlight negative analytics on the site. It’s part of an intentional effort to emphasize positive performances. The league and the NHLPA have been particularly concerned about creating negativity around players, as evidenced by their avoidance of “worst” lists and emphasis on using player tracking data for positive reinforcement rather than publicly shaming players.

The NHL EDGE site, as an initial release for public puck and player tracking data, is just the beginning. Moving forward, the stats available will undoubtedly evolve and expand to include a broader context of player performance.


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