The hockey world—and sports at large—continues to trend towards more and more advanced stats usage. The NHL has followed suit with this new-aged line of thinking and has introduced public tracking data of their own, called NHL EDGE. This data includes both puck and player, so an individual can look at things like shots, top skating speed, goals, and skating distance, among many others. All visuals and advanced stats referenced are directly from the NHL EDGE website.
The data featured comes from three seasons: 2021–22, 2022–23, and the few games so far in 2023-24. So if you are a Calgary Flames fan, you can set course back to 2021-22 and reminisce on the absolute force of a team we had. Or, you could look at this season and see if things have changed from last season or remain the same.
How the NHL EDGE website works
Once you log into the website, you are greeted with seven tabs:
First tab – Homepage
The first tab is the homepage, which has some useful videos on some of the advanced stats presented, such as shot speed and skating distance. There are also some profiles on this page, highlighting a player, goalie, and team. Below this is a feature of the top ten ranking for skaters, goalies, and teams. As of writing date, Rasmus Kupari is the league leader in terms of max speed, clocking in at 38.54 kilometres per hour. The more you know!
Second tab – Skater
The next tab is the skater tab, which allows users to select a team and then a player on that team. Clicking on a player will pop up a player card page with a variety of statistics, a radar chart, and a bunch of adjustment menus when you scroll down. For example, you can adjust the skating distance to all strengths, even strength, power play, or penalty kill. I’ve highlighted Jonathan Huberdeau for the player card example. So far, he’s rated out pretty well being in a high percentile in most categories. He does fall below the 50th percentile in both top skating speed and top shot speed.
Third tab – Goalie
After that, we head over to the goalie tab, which looks identical to the skater tab but has different advanced stats. I have included the goalie card for Dan Vladar to give you a better visual below. As you can see, Vladar finds himself below the 50th percentile in every advanced stat. Not a great start to the season for him. Sorry to pick on you, Vladar.
Fourth tab – Team
The fourth tab takes us to team data. This brings up more team stats, so you can see where the team ranks league-wide. Fascinating to see the Flames rank in the 99th percentile for skating distance, 96th percentile for shots on goal, and 93rd percentile for offensive zone time. The thing that matches with the eye test the most is the Flames being below the 50th percentile in both top skating speed and speed bursts over 32 kph. This team looks slow from a watchable perspective and this data confirms that so far. Just like the skater and goalie tabs, you can adjust for all strengths, even strength, power play, or penalty kill.
Fifth tab – Comparison
The fifth tab, Comparison, is the tab that will get used the most to win social media arguments. There are three menus to choose from, Skater vs Skater, Goalie vs Goalie, and Team vs Team. Naturally, I had to choose a comparison between the Flames and the Edmonton Oilers because, well, of course I did. One can see that the Flames lead in skating distance and shots on goal, but the Oilers lead in speed bursts and top shot speed.
Sixth tab – Videos
The sixth tab, titled Videos, brings up the videos that are also available on the homepage.
Seventh tab – Glossary
The most useful tab is tab seven, called ‘Glossary’. For people new to advanced stats, there are detailed definitions for all of the stats featured on the website. You don’t know what “Goal diff per 60” means? Just head on over to the Glossary tab and there is a nice explanation.
Some changes are still needed
This was a great start for a league that is notoriously behind on things. The more data the better. You can definitely bet on all of our wonderful writers referencing this data in future articles. It’s awesome to see the NHL bridging some gaps between the average fan and learning about advanced stats in a public setting.
However, there are a couple of things that could use some work. First, the website has some lag. I would imagine this is in part due to the high traffic on the first day of launch. I definitely had an easier time when using the website later on in the day. Having to go back and re-select the team to look at a different player is also unnecessary and adds an extra refresh that isn’t needed.
Finally, show us the percentiles below 50. I know the NHL wants to avoid creating extra drama for players who are at the bottom of the barrel. But it’s quite unfair for someone at the 49th percentile to be looped in with players in the 2nd percentile, etc.
Photo from NHL EDGE