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July 29, 2013, 05:37 PM ET

Forward Usage Relative to Scoring

by Corey Pronman

As a quick number crunching exercise I decided to try and look at who were the most over and most underused forwards relative to their production. In order to do this I took forward’s even-strength TOI/60 and their respective league rank in that category. I then took 5v5 Points/60 and did the same and took the difference. It’s a relatively simple exercise. Of course points do not encapsulate all player value and thus this is not a place to draw many conclusions. Forwards have defensive responsibility and their point scoring can be influenced by random chance.

Per this method, here were the top 25 most overused forwards (in order of most overused to least) in the NHL last season:

NAME TEAM TOI/60 P/60
ILYAKOVALCHUK N.J

16.55

1.18

T.J.OSHIE STL

14.39

0.97

OLLIJOKINEN WPG

14.28

0.93

KYLEBRODZIAK MIN

13.73

0.82

JEFFSKINNER CAR

15.07

1.23

NIKOLAIKULEMIN TOR

13.73

0.91

RYANNUGENT-HOPKINS EDM

15.08

1.29

MARIANGABORIK CBJ

15.13

1.35

DANIELALFREDSSON OTT

14.14

1.17

DANYHEATLEY MIN

14.89

1.34

GABRIELLANDESKOG COL

14.54

1.26

R.J.UMBERGER CBJ

13.98

1.16

COREYPERRY ANA

14.7

1.33

ADAMHENRIQUE N.J

13.32

0.97

ZACKSMITH OTT

13.63

1.1

TRAVISZAJAC N.J

14.09

1.24

NICKSPALING NSH

13.13

0.97

DAVIDJONES COL

13.11

0.97

MIKAELBACKLUND CGY

13.13

0.99

JAROMIRJAGR BOS

14.74

1.44

MARCELGOC FLA

14.12

1.32

TYLERBOZAK TOR

15.17

1.55

TOMMYWINGELS S.J

12.49

0.8

MIKHAILGRABOVSKI TOR

13.34

1.12

RYANJOHANSEN CBJ

13.08

1.04

Like everything in hockey analytics, all of this needs to be taken with context. Grabovski and Henrique played extremely tough minutes in difficult situations to score this season, while a player like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had great underlying numbers but did not get the bounces. The same could apply for Marian Gaborik.

Now the 25 most underused forwards (order is most underused to least):

NAME TEAM TOI/60 P/60
ANTOINEROUSSEL DAL

8.59

2.68

ADAMCRACKNELL STL

8.6

2.09

ALEXGALCHENYUK MTL

11.05

2.83

KYLEPALMIERI ANA

10.87

2.37

BRENDANGALLAGHER MTL

11.43

2.86

STEVEBEGIN CGY

6.65

1.75

BENOITPOULIOT T.B

11.35

2.49

MATHIEUPERREAULT WSH

10.41

2.07

SVENBAERTSCHI CGY

11.59

2.59

AARONPALUSHAJ COL

10.51

2.06

RYANGARBUTT DAL

9.02

1.85

FRAZERMCLAREN TOR

5.1

1.63

JOELWARD WSH

11.73

2.5

BEAUBENNETT PIT

10.52

1.97

KYLECHIPCHURA PHX

9.21

1.84

MAGNUSPAAJARVI-SVENSSON EDM

12.09

2.7

CASEYCIZIKAS NYI

10.01

1.86

VERNONFIDDLER DAL

9.86

1.85

MATTCULLEN MIN

12.23

2.69

ROBKLINKHAMMER PHX

11.79

2.31

MIKAZIBANEJAD OTT

11.18

2.04

KYLECLIFFORD L.A

9.83

1.78

COLINMCDONALD NYI

11.08

1.93

DAVIDSTECKEL ANA

7.98

1.55

VIKTORSTALBERG CHI

11.57

2.1

You notice a lot of young players in this list where their coach may have been hesitant to increase responsibly. Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk seems like a great example as an 18 year old who was 92nd in league GVT and put up a lot of points at even-strength given his limited usage.  Again forwards have defensive responsibility so that could have played into the low ice time for a lot of these youngsters, but it’s also possible some top young talents like Galchenyuk, Mika Zibanejad, Beau Bennett and Sven Baertschi could see a notable rise in their counting numbers soon.

A player like Frazer McLaren cracks this list likely because he was dead last in ESTOI/60 and a point or two extra makes him look extremely valuable given his little extra. Other low line players such as Steve Begin and Adam Cracknell likely also benefited from this.

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