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Video Breakdown: How Steve Valiquette will change how we think about goaltending

The former Rangers goaltender is doing some great work on MSG Network and is changing how we look at goaltending

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Welcome to Video Breakdown, where I take a piece of video and use some fancy arrows and whatnot to explain what's going on.

First, today's video that I'm going to breakdown

Not what you were expecting was it? You see, for the first time in a long time MSG Network has some very good hockey analysis on it and the one spearheading that is former Rangers goalie Steve Valiquette. What Steve is mainly focused on is getting better information about the shots that goaltenders face and from where on the ice the shots come from.


So this is the meat of Valiquette's idea. The Green and Red goals and shots, it's seems pretty self explanatory but it is a step in the right direction for understanding the murky waters of shot quality.


This is Steve's breakdown of what a "green shot" consists of, you'll notice the phrase "royal road" which we'll get to in a second, but this is a good point to know what to watch for when watching games.


This is thefoundation of what Valiquette is basing his work off of, the "Royal Road" is a stretch of ice in the offensive zone that goes from the blue line straight down to the goal line and across the face off circles. This is where Steve is looking at to get as much data as possible and for the most part it works out.


As you can see a lot of offense comes from these "green shots", makes sense that they do, right? Better shots leads to more goals. Now let's take a look at what Valliquette found when he looked at low percentage or "red shots"


You can see the immediate drop off in offense when shooting red shots as opposed to green and while it may seem pretty basic this system is a great foundation to build off of when we talk about getting quality shots.

There are some limits to this, however, and that's mostly because Steve Valiquette is one man watching every NHL goal and tracking it by hand, there is no real cohesive tracking system or database for this information...yet. Hopefully with the implementation of SportsVu (cameras that track the movement of athletes and the puck around the and collecting tons of data. Already used in the NBA today and is getting rave reviews) in all hockey arenas by next year we'll be able to better refine this theory and get easily digestible data that helps explain or quantify "shot quality." Though Sportsnet writer Chris Boyle is doing something very similar with his own Shot Quality Project.

Now for some funsies, here's how the Rangers offense has looked within the Royal Road, as well as the "Home Plate" scoring chance area


As you can see in the heat map above, the Rangers are doing a very good job of creating quality scoring chances and converting on them and it's not like this is some kind of new thing this year. Here's the comparison between this year and last year's regular season.


With all of that yellow and red inside the high quality area, you can see where and why the Rangers are succeeding offensively.

Thoughts on all this guys?