Advanced Special Teams Percentage

There’s a stat that I previously analyzed but didn’t name – STP. My definition of STP is Special Teams Percentage – the basic stat that combines both the power play and penalty kill percentage. Teams over a total of 100% do well on special teams, scoring more goals than they give up, while teams under 100% have their special teams hurting them.

But while that stat is simple enough to give a rough overview of how well a team generally performs on special teams, it does not include short-handed goals, which is an important part in any special teams play. Emotionally, it can either be a rallying point or a deflator. Stats-wise, it makes the power play less effective and the penalty kill more effective.

Thus, in what seems like a far too simple formula, I have designed a metric for how effective special teams are in a general sense while including SHG and SHGA. It is not adjusted for odd kinds of special teams situations, like 5-on-3 or 4-on-3, but it still is a bit more accurate than just relying on a combination of PP and PK percentages. The formula is as follows:

[([(PPG-SHGA)/PP Opp] + [(TS-PPGA+SHG)/TS])/GP]*82

A team with an even aSTP would get a 1.000 – meaning that not only does the team score as many goals as they prevent on the power play, but that the shorthanded goals scored and allowed are even. Anything over 1.000 means that the combination of offense and defense for special teams benefits the team, and under a 1.000 means that it’s detrimental.

Team PP Opp PPG PP% SHGA TS PPGA PK% SHG STP STP Rank aSTP aSTP Rank Change
PHI 316 71 22.5 1 393 67 83 16 105.5 5 1.092 1 4
MIN 328 66 20.1 6 291 36 87.6 9 107.7 1 1.090 2 -1
SJS 360 87 24.2 11 306 51 83.3 12 107.5 2 1.084 3 -1
BOS 313 74 23.6 7 306 54 82.4 8 106 3 1.064 4 -1
STL 351 72 20.5 8 357 58 83.8 10 104.3 6 1.048 5 1
DET 353 90 25.5 4 327 71 78.3 6 103.8 7 1.045 6 1
WSH 337 85 25.2 11 387 75 80.6 7 105.8 4 1.044 7 -3
BUF 358 75 21 5 336 61 81.8 7 102.8 9 1.035 8 1
ANA 309 73 23.6 8 385 78 79.7 6 103.3 8 1.023 9 -1
OTT 339 66 19.5 5 346 64 81.5 8 101 13 1.018 10 3
MTL 374 72 19.2 11 370 65 82.4 10 101.6 12 1.014 11 1
CHI 363 70 19.3 6 330 64 80.6 10 99.9 17 1.013 12 5
NJD 307 58 18.9 4 324 65 79.9 12 98.8 20 1.012 13 7
LAK 360 69 19.2 8 362 62 82.9 4 102.1 10 1.009 14 -4
VAN 357 67 18.8 5 371 69 81.4 7 100.2 15 1.007 15 0
NYR 346 48 13.9 14 329 40 87.8 9 101.7 11 1.004 16 -5
CAR 374 70 18.7 9 301 59 80.4 8 99.1 19 0.994 17 2
FLA 308 51 16.6 9 311 54 82.6 7 99.2 18 0.985 18 0
NYI 320 54 16.9 5 361 73 79.8 12 96.7 22 0.984 19 3
NSH 318 50 15.7 8 338 59 82.5 9 98.2 21 0.984 20 1
PIT 360 62 17.2 13 347 60 82.7 7 99.9 16 0.983 21 -5
CGY 358 61 17 15 349 58 83.4 6 100.4 14 0.979 22 -8
ATL 357 69 19.3 10 366 88 76 13 95.3 25 0.960 23 2
COL 318 50 15.7 8 318 64 79.9 4 95.6 24 0.943 24 0
TBL 343 61 17.8 9 405 89 78 4 95.8 23 0.942 25 -2
DAL 351 54 15.4 4 327 70 78.6 2 94 28 0.934 26 2
CBJ 322 41 12.7 12 346 62 82.1 8 94.8 26 0.934 27 -1
TOR 330 62 18.8 7 308 78 74.7 6 93.5 29 0.933 28 1
EDM 354 60 17 8 338 76 77.5 3 94.5 27 0.931 29 -2
PHX 344 50 14.5 4 293 68 76.8 5 91.3 30 0.919 30 0

Teams highlighting in gray made the playoffs last season.

Note that all the numbers are from last season, so the rankings will likely change pretty drastically when this season starts. I included each team’s STP as well, to give a comparison, as well as all the stats that I used to compile aSTP. Things to note:

The inclusion of SHG really helped the New Jersey Devils, who rose from a below-average STP to a slightly above-average aSTP because of a defensively-minded power play (only 4 SHGA) and a good amount of offense on thier penalty kill (12 SHG). The Philadelphia Flyers rose to the top of the league because of the 16 SHG they scored and the single SHGA they allowed.

Conversely, the Calgary Flames were hurt by the nine fewer SHG they scored than they allowed. The New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Los Angeles Kings were also hurt

What’s interesting to me is that the Minnesota Wild are so highly ranked despite not making the playoffs. Same with Buffalo and Ottawa – it suggests that a lot of their success stems from special teams, while they have problems while playing 5-on-5. And then the Columbus Blue Jackets are the fourth-worst team, and yet made the playoffs pretty comfortably. The trend is definitely that playoff teams tend to have above 1.000 aSTPs, but with four playoff teams with sub-1.000s and four non-playoff teams with above 1.000 aSTPs it suggests that special teams aren’t necessarily the make-or-break aspect of a team’s success.

Disclaimer: I literally worked this out during history class, so sorry if the math somehow turns out to be wrong. I checked the formula several times, but there’s always a chance for human error. Stats retrieved from NHL.com.