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The NHL’s Top Puck Movers and Puck Transporters

I’m always interested to see how players compare to their competition across the NHL. When analyzing and evaluating defencemen we can look at many different aspects. Points are pretty important, since goals have the biggest impact on the outcome of a games, but there are many other factors to consider.

Today I wanted to look at passing and transporting the puck out of the defensive zone.

With the data from SportLogiq (and lots of help) let’s look at the top-100 defenders in outlet pass attempts, stretch pass attempts, pass ups and carry outs.

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Here is how each pass is defined:

Outlet pass:  Any completed pass (up ice) inside the defensive zone. This does not include lateral passes to defence partner, or passes off boards behind the net.

Stretch pass: Any pass from inside the blueline that is completed beyond the centre ice red line.

Carry out: When the defender carries the puck out of the defensive zone under control into the neutral zone.

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Pass up: A completed pass across the blueline, but not past centre.

Let’s start with Outlet passes as they are the most common among defenders.

5 on 5 Outlet Pass Attempts Outlet Pass Completions Outlet Pass Success Rate
Ethan Bear 879 622 70.8%
Darnell Nurse 667 438 65.7%
Oscar Klefbom 630 454 72.1%
Adam Larsson 488 349 71.5%
Kris Russell 456 318 69.7%
Matt Benning 348 232 66.7%
Caleb Jones 344 243 70.6%
William Lagesson 43 26 60.5%

These numbers match with much of what we see in games. You would like Nurse to complete a few more outlet passes. Could he improve to 69%? I think that is a realistic ask and to do so he would need to complete 25 more passes next season. Essentially one more completed pass every third game.

It is also important to note that Bear and Nurse played almost exclusively together this season. Bear was more of the passer, while Nurse more of the transporter. More on that below.

Caleb Jones was similar to Bear, albeit with 40% fewer attempts and against lesser competition. Keep in mind outlet passes includes making passes under pressure.

How do the Oilers compare to the top-100 pass attempt defenders in the NHL? Take a look.

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OUTLET PASSES:

Any completed pass (up ice) inside the defensive zone. This does not include lateral passes to defence partner, or passes of boards behind the net.

Player Attempts Completions Success Rate
Brent Burns 964 626 64.9%
Drew Doughty 923 690 74.8%
Ben Chiarot 903 636 70.4%
Jeff Petry 889 564 63.4%
Thomas Chabot 888 577 65.0%
Ethan Bear 879 622 70.8%
Shea Theodore 870 588 67.6%
Kris Letang 864 594 68.8%
Damon Severson 846 579 68.4%
Matt Dumba 842 613 72.8%
Neal Pionk 838 649 77.4%
Noah Hanifin 837 601 71.8%
John Carlson 835 586 70.2%
Ivan Provorov 815 592 72.6%
Matt Roy 811 567 69.9%
Alex Pietrangelo 795 554 69.7%
Colton Parayko 793 571 72.0%
Miro Heiskanen 788 518 65.7%
Jaccob Slavin 774 562 72.6%
Nate Schmidt 774 527 68.1%
Samuel Girard 772 558 72.3%
Jonas Brodin 771 561 72.8%
Ryan Suter 768 556 72.4%
Jacob Trouba 764 542 70.9%
Erik Gustafsson 759 532 70.1%
Vince Dunn 750 522 69.6%
Tyson Barrie 747 571 76.4%
Olli Maatta 746 501 67.2%
Justin Faulk 739 508 68.7%
Zdeno Chara 739 487 65.9%
Mattias Ekholm 723 513 71.0%
Anton Stralman 721 483 67.0%
Jake Muzzin 719 516 71.8%
Keith Yandle 714 505 70.7%
Mark Giordano 711 530 74.5%
David Savard 708 472 66.7%
Kevin Shattenkirk 708 468 66.1%
Quinn Hughes 702 507 72.2%
Charlie McAvoy 700 492 70.3%
Nick Jensen 695 476 68.5%
Alex Goligoski 694 478 68.9%
TJ Brodie 692 488 70.5%
Sean Walker 691 477 69.0%
Duncan Keith 688 509 74.0%
Aaron Ekblad 678 486 71.7%
Zach Werenski 678 462 68.1%
Roman Josi 674 474 70.3%
John Klingberg 673 448 66.6%
Dmitry Orlov 671 480 71.5%
Shea Weber 670 458 68.4%
Mikhail Sergachev 669 473 70.7%
Darnell Nurse 667 438 65.7%
Henri Jokiharju 666 436 65.5%
Tyler Myers 659 453 68.7%
Rasmus Ristolainen 658 459 69.8%
Cam Fowler 656 536 81.7%
P.K. Subban 656 464 70.7%
Travis Sanheim 656 451 68.8%
Oliver Ekman-Larsson 655 422 64.4%
Adam Fox 654 484 74.0%
Morgan Rielly 653 477 73.0%
Marcus Pettersson 652 459 70.4%
Dante Fabbro 648 481 74.2%
Ryan Graves 648 434 67.0%
Seth Jones 645 459 71.2%
Erik Karlsson 645 446 69.1%
Tony DeAngelo 643 479 74.5%
Victor Hedman 642 443 69.0%
Matt Niskanen 636 454 71.4%
Josh Morrissey 635 477 75.1%
Ryan Pulock 635 455 71.7%
Connor Murphy 633 455 71.9%
Oscar Klefbom 630 454 72.1%
Patrik Nemeth 629 441 70.1%
Ron Hainsey 628 433 68.9%
Brandon Carlo 622 409 65.8%
Mike Green 612 427 69.8%
Brayden McNabb 612 416 68.0%
Mike Matheson 611 427 69.9%
Hampus Lindholm 610 427 70.0%
Ian Cole 607 418 68.9%
Christopher Tanev 605 442 73.1%
Filip Hronek 605 418 69.1%
Marc-Edouard Vlasic 603 420 69.7%
Jay Bouwmeester 601 418 69.6%
Jake McCabe 599 404 67.4%
Justin Holl 598 464 77.6%
Matt Grzelcyk 592 417 70.4%
Brenden Dillon 586 421 71.8%
John Marino 582 425 73.0%
Will Butcher 581 417 71.8%
Brady Skjei 579 412 71.2%
Troy Stecher 577 418 72.4%
MacKenzie Weegar 574 416 72.5%
Dmitry Kulikov 571 401 70.2%
Alec Martinez 571 398 69.7%
Rasmus Anderson 565 447 79.1%
Devon Toews 565 399 70.6%
Ben Hutton 563 397 70.5%
Rasmus Dahlin 560 396 70.8%

Cam Fowler had the best completion% at 81.9%, followed by Rasmus Anderson (79.1%), Justin Holl (77.6%), Neal Pionk (77.4%) and Tyson Barrie (76.4%).

The bottom five are interesting with Henri Jokiharju (65.5%), Thomas Chabot (65%), Brent Burns (64.9%), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (64.4%) and Jeff Petry (63.4%).

I think it illustrates that, while quality of competition might play a factor (Chabot v. Holl), the perception of who are great outlet passers might not always match what occurs on the ice.

Bear is sixth in pass attempts and 41st in success rate.
Nurse was 52nd in pass attempts and 95th in success rate.
Klefbom was 74th in pass attempts and 25th in success rate.

STRETCH PASSES…

Any pass from inside the blueline that is completed beyond the centre ice red line.

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Here are the Oilers numbers:

5 on 5 Stretch Pass Attempts Stretch Pass Completions Stretch Pass Success Rate
Ethan Bear 196 133 67.9%
Darnell Nurse 190 127 66.8%
Kris Russell 141 95 67.4%
Oscar Klefbom 131 93 71.0%
Adam Larsson 119 84 70.6%
Caleb Jones 92 63 68.5%
Matt Benning 90 60 66.7%
William Lagesson 19 12 63.2%

It is interesting to note that Bear, Klefbom and Larsson’s success rate was lower in stretch passes, while Nurse’s improved. Can he work on improving his outlet passes by a few percent? I’m not sure, but it is something to watch for next season. There is only a 4.3% spread among the top seven defenders.

Here is how the Oilers compare to the rest of the NHL. Again, via Sportlogiq, we used the top-100 in attempts. Which are usually the D-men who played the most.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Best NHL Forwards at Carrying The Puck into Offensive Zone
Players Attempts Completions Success Rate
Shea Theodore 321 229 71.3%
John Carlson 302 201 66.6%
Brent Burns 297 191 64.3%
Alex Pietrangelo 281 187 66.5%
Thomas Chabot 268 166 61.9%
Dmitry Orlov 256 187 73.0%
Ryan Pulock 244 160 65.6%
Nate Schmidt 235 175 74.5%
Ryan Suter 229 155 67.7%
Drew Doughty 226 168 74.3%
Filip Hronek 225 159 70.7%
Scott Mayfield 217 149 68.7%
Damon Severson 217 148 68.2%
Erik Karlsson 214 127 59.3%
Keith Yandle 214 126 58.9%
Nick Jensen 212 144 67.9%
Anton Stralman 208 138 66.3%
Jacob Trouba 206 131 63.6%
TJ Brodie 202 140 69.3%
Alexander Edler 201 146 72.6%
Jaccob Slavin 201 143 71.1%
Quinn Hughes 200 139 69.5%
Colton Parayko 200 131 65.5%
Miro Heiskanen 198 144 72.7%
P.K. Subban 197 118 59.9%
Devon Toews 196 145 74.0%
Ethan Bear 196 133 67.9%
Rasmus Andersson 195 134 68.7%
Justin Faulk 190 147 77.4%
Darnell Nurse 190 127 66.8%
Esa Lindell 189 130 68.8%
David Savard 188 134 71.3%
Oliver Ekman-Larsson 188 122 64.9%
Radko Gudas 186 117 62.9%
Mark Giordano 184 131 71.2%
Ivan Provorov 181 141 77.9%
Tony DeAngelo 179 118 65.9%
Travis Sanheim 179 116 64.8%
Vince Dunn 178 135 75.8%
Mattias Ekholm 177 123 69.5%
Noah Hanifin 176 139 79.0%
Marcus Pettersson 172 115 66.9%
Jake Gardiner 172 113 65.7%
Ben Chiarot 170 103 60.6%
Ron Hainsey 169 105 62.1%
Morgan Rielly 167 105 62.9%
Jay Bouwmeester 162 118 72.8%
Mikhail Sergachev 161 108 67.1%
John Klingberg 161 101 62.7%
Kris Letang 160 116 72.5%
Adam Fox 159 113 71.1%
Torey Krug 159 93 58.5%
Joel Edmundson 158 119 75.3%
Zach Werenski 158 111 70.3%
Victor Hedman 158 98 62.0%
Hampus Lindholm 157 108 68.8%
Kevin Shattenkirk 157 103 65.6%
Henri Jokiharju 156 122 78.2%
Samuel Girard 156 106 67.9%
Alex Goligoski 156 102 65.4%
Tyson Barrie 154 113 73.4%
Brayden McNabb 153 108 70.6%
Matt Dumba 153 102 66.7%
Rasmus Ristolainen 152 101 66.4%
Roman Josi 152 89 58.5%
Aaron Ekblad 151 101 66.9%
Tyler Myers 151 98 64.9%
Duncan Keith 150 88 58.6%
Matt Roy 149 110 73.8%
Christopher Tanev 149 108 72.5%
Ian Cole 149 104 69.8%
Erik Gustafsson 148 93 62.8%
Seth Jones 147 103 70.1%
Jeff Petry 147 100 68.0%
Dylan DeMelo 146 101 69.2%
Jack Johnson 146 90 61.6%
Jared Spurgeon 145 106 73.1%
Nikita Zaitsev 145 89 61.3%
Olli Maatta 144 91 63.2%
Travis Hamonic 143 102 71.3%
Brady Skjei 143 95 66.4%
Jonas Siegenthaler 143 91 63.6%
Matt Niskanen 142 104 73.2%
Madison Bowey 142 94 66.2%
Ryan Graves 141 99 70.2%
Kris Russell 141 95 67.4%
Erik Cernak 140 96 68.6%
Zdeno Chara 140 96 68.6%
Dante Fabbro 140 92 65.7%
Ben Hutton 140 91 65.0%
Cale Makar 139 106 76.3%
Nick Leddy 138 97 70.3%
Brett Pesce 138 92 66.7%
Patrik Nemeth 135 95 70.4%
Mike Green 134 93 69.4%
Will Butcher 133 94 70.7%
Oscar Klefbom 131 93 71.0%
Matt Grzelcyk 130 96 73.8%
Nikita Zadorov 129 93 72.1%
Neal Pionk 125 94 75.2%

The top-five in successful passes were Noah Hanafin (79%), Henri Jokiharju (78.2%), Ivan Provorov (77.9%), Justin Faulk (77.4%) and Cale Makar (76.3%).

But what stood out most was the bottom-five with Erik Karlsson (59.3%), Keith Yandle (58.9%), Duncan Keith (58.6%), Roman Josi (58.5%) and Torey Krug (58.5%). All five of those defenders are considered very good offensive players and good passers. I wonder if they tried passes that others wouldn’t (low success rate), because they felt they could thread the needle? Or maybe some are just better at the shorter, more direct passes, (which are used more) while other D-men are better at the long bomb (just like some quarterbacks).

It was fascinating to me and something I want to dig into deeper.

TRANSPORTING THE PUCK…

Passing happens more of course, but the ability to skate with the puck is vital in today’s game.

Carry out: When the defender carries the puck out of the defensive zone under control into the neutral zone.

Pass up: A completed pass across the blueline, but not past centre.

Here are the numbers from the Oilers defenders:

5 on 5 Carry-outs Pass outs Controlled exits DZ exit success rate
Darnell Nurse 187 57 244 80.3%
Oscar Klefbom 94 24 118 78.0%
Adam Larsson 91 11 102 84.3%
Kris Russell 82 13 95 76.8%
Ethan Bear 73 12 85 77.6%
Caleb Jones 63 18 81 72.8%
Matt Benning 56 6 62 74.2%
William Lagesson 10 1 11 63.6%

Nurse had significantly more carry-outs and pass outs than any other Oilers defender. While his outlet passing can improve, he is much more efficient passing the puck out of the zone. And it seems he and Bear, who played 89% of Bear’s TOI together, played to each other’s strengths. Bear had 200 more outlet pass attempts, while Nurse had many more carry-outs and pass-outs.

I’d like to look at film to see if Nurse is a better passer when he is in motion compared to standing still. Does that impact why he has a higher success rate in completing pass-outs and stretch passes?

Nurse was among the league leaders in both categories.

Name Carry-outs Pass outs Controlled exits DZ exit success rate
Roman Josi 311 Roman Josi 106 Roman Josi 417 81.1%
Thomas Chabot 304 Brendan Smith 83 Thomas Chabot 355 74.9%
Samuel Girard 238 Mark Pysyk 77 Colton Parayko 265 83.8%
Colton Parayko 232 Alex Pietrangelo 75 Samuel Girard 264 76.9%
Charlie McAvoy 198 Mattias Ekholm 66 Darnell Nurse 244 80.3%
Justin Holl 198 Darnell Nurse 57 Dmitry Orlov 244 81.1%
Nick Leddy 198 Dmitry Orlov 56 Miro Heiskanen 239 78.7%
Miro Heiskanen 195 Thomas Chabot 51 Justin Holl 235 82.1%
Dmitry Orlov 188 Jaccob Slavin 49 Mattias Ekholm 233 81.1%
Darnell Nurse 187 Victor Hedman 48 Charlie McAvoy 227 74.0%
Cale Makar 179 Jared Spurgeon 48 Nick Leddy 223 77.1%
TJ Brodie 175 Devon Toews 47 Alex Pietrangelo 214 84.6%
Rasmus Andersson 173 Miro Heiskanen 44 Quinn Hughes 212 80.7%
Jonas Brodin 172 Quinn Hughes 43 Rasmus Andersson 211 83.9%
Quinn Hughes 169 Justin Faulk 43 Victor Hedman 206 74.8%
Shea Theodore 169 Aaron Ekblad 42 Devon Toews 205 82.0%
Mattias Ekholm 167 Dougie Hamilton 42 Jonas Brodin 204 90.2%
Sean Walker 167 Erik Johnson 41 Shea Theodore 203 79.8%
Matt Grzelcyk 164 Zach Werenski 40 Cale Makar 200 81.0%
P.K. Subban 162 Seth Jones 39 Sean Walker 199 76.9%
John Klingberg 161 Rasmus Andersson 38 TJ Brodie 199 75.9%
Erik Karlsson 160 Matt Dumba 38 P.K. Subban 188 79.8%
Devon Toews 158 Damon Severson 38 Erik Karlsson 187 79.1%
Jeff Petry 158 Justin Holl 37 Jeff Petry 185 81.1%
Victor Hedman 158 Alexander Edler 37 Tony DeAngelo 184 78.3%
Mike Green 155 Tyler Myers 36 Tyson Barrie 184 78.8%
Brady Skjei 154 Neal Pionk 35 Mike Green 179 78.8%
Ivan Provorov 152 Adam Fox 35 John Klingberg 179 72.1%
Tyson Barrie 152 Cody Ceci 35 Matt Grzelcyk 179 79.9%
Tony DeAngelo 151 Kevin Shattenkirk 35 Justin Faulk 175 80.6%
Drew Doughty 145 Travis Hamonic 35 Ivan Provorov 175 84.0%
Erik Gustafsson 144 Erik Cernak 35 Brady Skjei 175 77.7%
Hampus Lindholm 144 Olli Maatta 35 Kris Letang 173 78.0%
Kris Letang 140 Shea Theodore 34 Erik Gustafsson 172 76.2%
Alex Pietrangelo 139 Colton Parayko 33 Neal Pionk 171 78.4%
Cam Fowler 138 Tony DeAngelo 33 Tyler Myers 168 79.8%
Ben Hutton 137 Kris Letang 33 Aaron Ekblad 166 75.9%
Mike Matheson 136 Jake McCabe 33 Zach Werenski 165 81.8%
Neal Pionk 136 Brent Burns 33 Ben Hutton 165 77.6%
MacKenzie Weegar 135 David Savard 33 Drew Doughty 163 80.4%
Justin Faulk 132 Michal Kempny 33 Adam Fox 162 79.0%
Tyler Myers 132 Jake Gardiner 33 Mike Matheson 162 78.4%
Jakob Chychrun 131 Jonas Brodin 32 Erik Johnson 160 80.6%
Travis Dermott 130 Sean Walker 32 Cody Ceci 160 82.5%
Noah Hanifin 128 Tyson Barrie 32 Noah Hanifin 159 86.2%
Adam Fox 127 Duncan Keith 32 Hampus Lindholm 159 69.8%
Brett Pesce 126 Mark Giordano 32 Cam Fowler 158 79.7%
Morgan Rielly 126 Noah Hanifin 31 Mark Pysyk 156 73.1%
Cody Ceci 125 Mikhail Sergachev 31 MacKenzie Weegar 156 82.7%
Zach Werenski 125 Alex Goligoski 31 Jaccob Slavin 154 80.5%
Aaron Ekblad 124 Rasmus Dahlin 30 Mikhail Sergachev 154 72.1%
Mikhail Sergachev 123 Jacob Trouba 30 Jakob Chychrun 154 78.6%
Patrik Nemeth 120 Charlie McAvoy 29 Matt Dumba 151 78.8%
Erik Johnson 119 Nate Schmidt 29 Brett Pesce 151 83.4%
Vince Dunn 119 Brandon Montour 29 Morgan Rielly 150 83.3%
Brandon Carlo 118 Erik Gustafsson 28 Travis Dermott 150 80.0%
Rasmus Dahlin 117 Ben Hutton 28 Rasmus Dahlin 147 83.0%
Ben Chiarot 114 Michael Del Zotto 28 Kevin Shattenkirk 146 81.5%
Matt Niskanen 114 Erik Karlsson 27 Patrik Nemeth 146 84.2%
Matt Dumba 113 Jeff Petry 27 Jake McCabe 144 82.6%
Jake McCabe 111 Torey Krug 27 Vince Dunn 142 81.7%
Kevin Shattenkirk 111 Marcus Pettersson 27 Duncan Keith 141 73.8%
Christopher Tanev 110 Shea Weber 27 Brendan Smith 140 70.0%
Nick Jensen 110 Samuel Girard 26 Brandon Carlo 139 77.7%
Torey Krug 110 P.K. Subban 26 Seth Jones 138 81.9%
Brett Kulak 109 Mike Matheson 26 Torey Krug 137 70.8%
Duncan Keith 109 Patrik Nemeth 26 Matt Niskanen 137 81.8%
Marcus Pettersson 109 Troy Stecher 26 Marcus Pettersson 136 78.7%
Ryan Graves 109 Jon Merrill 26 Jacob Trouba 133 79.7%
Ryan Suter 108 Nick Leddy 25 Jared Spurgeon 132 88.6%
Anton Stralman 107 Brett Pesce 25 Christopher Tanev 132 85.6%
Jordan Oesterle 106 Jamie Oleksiak 25 Alex Goligoski 131 79.4%
Filip Hronek 105 Brad Hunt 25 Nate Schmidt 131 73.3%
Jaccob Slavin 105 John Carlson 25 Ryan Graves 129 76.0%
Connor Murphy 104 Trevor Daley 25 Ben Chiarot 129 76.0%
Esa Lindell 103 Joel Edmundson 25 Jamie Oleksiak 128 79.7%
Jacob Trouba 103 TJ Brodie 24 Filip Hronek 128 82.0%
Jamie Oleksiak 103 Mike Green 24 Ryan Suter 128 83.6%
Nate Schmidt 102 Morgan Rielly 24 Brett Kulak 127 70.1%
Oliver Ekman-Larsson 102 Jay Bouwmeester 24 Travis Hamonic 126 83.3%
Alex Goligoski 100 Oscar Klefbom 24 Brandon Montour 126 80.2%
Ryan Pulock 100 Travis Sanheim 24 Nick Jensen 126 73.8%
Jay Bouwmeester 99 Andy Greene 24 Brent Burns 125 72.8%
Seth Jones 99 Vladislav Gavrikov 24 Mark Giordano 123 79.7%
Brandon Montour 97 Ivan Provorov 23 Jay Bouwmeester 123 79.7%
Dmitry Kulikov 95 Jakob Chychrun 23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson 123 78.0%
Oscar Klefbom 94 Vince Dunn 23 Esa Lindell 123 78.9%
Ryan Lindgren 94 Matt Niskanen 23 Connor Murphy 122 70.5%
Oliver Kylington 93 Filip Hronek 23 Jordan Oesterle 122 74.6%
Shayne Gostisbehere 93 Brenden Dillon 23 Anton Stralman 121 70.2%
Brent Burns 92 Rasmus Ristolainen 23 Dougie Hamilton 119 73.1%
Dante Fabbro 92 Mark Borowiecki 23 David Savard 118 82.2%
Nick Holden 92 Christopher Tanev 22 Oscar Klefbom 118 78.0%
Zdeno Chara 92 Dante Fabbro 22 Ryan Pulock 118 73.7%
Adam Larsson 91 Nick Holden 22 Erik Cernak 117 79.5%
Mark Giordano 91 Philippe Myers 22 Troy Stecher 116 80.2%
Travis Hamonic 91 Ryan Ellis 22 Olli Maatta 115 79.1%
Troy Stecher 90 Cale Makar 21 Dante Fabbro 114 75.4%
Adam Pelech 88 Brady Skjei 21 Nick Holden 114 78.9%
Jake Muzzin 87 MacKenzie Weegar 21 Damon Severson 113 77.0%
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Roman Josi was on a completely different level in zone exits. He led in both carry-outs and pass-outs and his 417 zone exits were 62 more than second place Thomas Chabot. And Chabot was 90 ahead of third place Colton Parayko. It is interesting to see Chabot and Nurse both in the top-five in zone exits, but much lower in successful outlet passes.

Nurse was 10th in carry-outs, sixth in pass-outs, fifth in zone exits and 37th in successful exits.
Klefbom was 87th in carry-outs, 81st in pass-outs, 93rd in zone exits and 68th in successful exits.
Larsson was 95th in carry-outs, but wasn’t in the top-100 of total zone exits. He did have a very good 84% success rate, but that is due to him carrying it out and rarely passing it with only 11 pass outs.

WRAP UP…

I enjoyed this process, and want to thank Mike and Kenny from SportLogiq for being patient with my multiple requests. They were awesome and provided some incredible data.

It is great to dig a bit deeper into puck movement, both passing or transporting the puck, for defenders. The game is evolving and you need defenders who can excel in one or the other, and ideally both.

I wanted to look at the numbers, because I think hyperbole has become too rampant in analyzing players. Often I read or hear, “He is a terrible skater,” or “He can’t make a pass,” which is asinine considering these are the best players in the world.

Would you like Nurse to improve as a passer? Yes. He should improve by a few % points, and I think that is possible when he works more with his skills coach, Adam Oates, in the off-season. I don’t expect Nurse to suddenly become an elite outlet passer. He doesn’t need to be, but if he can improve 3-5% on successful outlet passes, that is a good improvement and realistic.

But while his passing needs work, he is among the NHL’s elite at transporting the puck out of his zone. It is important to look at the areas a player succeeds at rather than only focus on where they struggle. If we focus too much on the latter, it overshadows what they do well.

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