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Will Five Forwards On The Power Play Become A Thing?

from Travis Yost of TSN,

While a five-forward power play sounds like a unicorn against a traditional four-man penalty kill, we have seen spots where coaches have experimented.

Just last season, the Philadelphia Flyers tried out a five-man unit in a game against the Minnesota Wild. The New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers also tried it in spots. Sadly, we have only seen it in very limited quantities over the years (and yes, that’s years – there are great examples of teams from two decades ago trying these setups out, usually out of desperation), which makes it very hard to test its feasibility.

We do have access to some underlying data points that might suggest it’s worth experimenting with. Consider: the shift from three forwards to four forwards saw a spike in shot volume of about 12 per cent and an increase in shooting percentage by about 13 per cent. Even when controlling for the drop in team save percentage, four-forward lineups generate about 1.4 net goals more than their three-forward counterparts do.

Then, start considering what we are seeing in other game states. At even strength, a significant portion of the increase in goal scoring can be tied to forwards converting on a higher percentage of their opportunities, whereas defenders – impeded by natural shooting talent, distance from the net and other factors – haven’t seen a change in their conversion rates for over a decade.

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Comments

Avatar

Sure, why not? I look forward to a high octane PP that scores 40% of the time and gives up a shortie 20% of the time.

You don’t have to be Donald Trump to enjoy that kind of PP.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 07/08/19 at 07:36 PM ET

Avatar

Yeah, I’d be pissed about a 33% raise, too.

You’d prefer a 1/3x raise when you could’ve gotten a 3.5x raise? Per year? Times two years?

Wow.

OK.

Do me a favour and tell that to your boss, please.
Film it with your phone.

I promise you, the footage of your boss’s reaction? That’s a viral video waiting to be made.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 07/08/19 at 07:47 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 07/08/19 at 07:47 PM ET

Good move posting under the wrong article, dummy.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 07/08/19 at 07:48 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Consider for a moment that d-men already have even more emphasis on their offensive games, at the expense of actual defending.  That’s been the trend now for about a decade or so.

If a team has 5 forwards as a legit PP unit option, it…. says something pretty awful about their d-men.  Because every team should have 1 or 2 good puck-moving d-men to distribute and also play D in their own end in a pinch.

Posted by Primis on 07/08/19 at 08:45 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Much like pulling the goalie five minutes before the end of regulation, I don’t see this becoming much of a thing except in rare instances.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 07/08/19 at 10:36 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I still think you need a dman to quarterback the play, but most importantly you need someone on the blueline who knows how to play defense and keep the Puck in the zone without getting out of position. That’s a skill a lot of forwards don’t have, understandably.

Posted by TreKronor on 07/09/19 at 09:33 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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