Patrick Kane #s, Updated

A month ago, I took a look at how Patrick Kane's season stacked up compared to his peers - specifically the other Top 20 scoring forwards at that time.  I generally focused on offensive possession metrics (corsi, shots, and expected goals) because Kane has led the NHL in points scoring from the start, and I wanted to see if there was some way to really see if Kane was having the "outstanding" season people those points suggested.  At the time, I saw that Kane was individually producing a lot of offensive attempts, and was getting favorable shooting percentages while on the ice.  I also saw that his possession rates were in the middle of the pack, and that he was routinely at the bottom of the list in relative rates.  Not only was he not outperforming his teammates compared to his Top 20 scoring peers - he was actually under-performing compared to his team itself.

Time for an update. Short summary: Not much has changed in a month.

There were a few changes in the list of Top 20 scoring forwards.  D. Sedin, Stone, and Malkin dropped off, and Jagr, Tavares, and Kucherov joined.  17 forwards remained in the Top 20 between posts, including all of the top 15 from the last post.


These results are similar to the first post.  Kane's team on-ice results (CF, CA, CF%) are in the lower half of the pack. His individual numbers are much better.  Team and individual shooting percentages are high.  And, like before, he is at the bottom when it comes to relative stats.  Remember - this is a ranking of Kane's relative results compared to the other Top 20 forwards' relative results.  As I've noted, 17 of the Top 20 forwards have better CF60/CF% stats than their teammates.  Kane does not.

Shots on net are basically the same as last post as well, and follow the same pattern.  Kane's team stats (SF60, SA60, SF%) are on the lower end of the group, while his individual stats are in the top half.  And once again, his relative stats are at the bottom, and some of the only negatives in the group.

We see a lot of the same here.  Kane's team expected goals for (xGF50 and xGF%) are actually bad, with the added notation that he is one of five in the group with an expected GF% under 50.  He also is in the middle of the pack at best for his individual expected goals (ixG and ixG60), so its not like he's personally getting prime scoring chances more often than his peers in this group.  

His relative stats here really stand out.  He has some of the worst relative expected GF% and relative expected GF60 of this group of Top 20 scoring forwards.  But he turns that around to end up with some of the best relative GF% and relative GF60.  

I think this is the key point when trying to understand Kane's season. As I said a month ago:

He’s taking a negative expected GF/60 relative to his team and turning it into the [second] best GF/60 relative to his team in the group. So he’s getting more goals on the ice than his teammates are with him off the ice, even though he’s expected to get less. And that difference between his GF/60 and his teammates GF/60 is not only bigger than expected - its the [second] best among the other top-20 scoring forwards...

Maybe it makes sense to talk about shooting percentages here. Kane may very well be an "above-average" shooter, such that he will always have a better shooting percentage than the average NHLer (or even his peers on this list).  We cannot specifically isolate his true shooting talent - remember that the Expected Goals model does attempt to determine for the quality of the shot, but doesn't do so by taking into account the shooter himself. Kane may have the shooting skill to improve the likelihood of scoring on a specific shot compared to even this peer group - but this group includes Ovechkin, Jagr, Tarasenko, Seguin, etc., so these guys likely have some shooting talent as well.  Also, relative stats are comparing him to his teammates - maybe the other Blackhawks are just having as bad a shooting year as much as Kane is having a good shooting year.  So maybe Kane is a better shooter than all of these people and he doesn't need as many shot attempts as other players to produce points.  But I doubt his shooting skill alone explains why he has such low expected goals results, and high actual goals result. I would bet that its more that he's not only a good shooter, but he's also been a lucky shooter this season.

Looking at some of the "other" stats, its basically the same as last post.  He's middle of the pack in drawing penalties and getting individual rebounds and rush shots (the latter two of which impact expected goals remember).  Super high zone stars, and middle of the pack zone finishes.  His zone finish ratio is actually a slight improvement from the last post, but its still in the bottom half of the group.

When we lump the metrics together, you can see how little Kane stands out.  For example, taking all of the team metrics in this post, Kane is, on average, ranked 14th out of the 20 players in the group.  His average rank on the individual metrics is only in the middle of the pack (8th).  And he typically ranks towards the bottom of the relative metrics.  [Note - these averages don't include the "others" category like PDO and iPENDIFF. I thought those were less meaningful when trying to compare players].

Some potential qualifications here:

1. These are's score, venue, and zone adjusted data.  We don't know exactly what those adjustments are, and whether they might be unfairly punishing Kane.  Maybe WOI's score-adjusted data would show something different.  When TSN's Scott Cullen looked at Kane's stats, he used the NHL's data. Why anyone would use the NHL's data is beyond me, but ok, they showed that Kane's Rel.SAT% (basically un-adjusted Rel.CF%) was positive.  On the other hand, we know that score adjustment matters if you care about a statistic's repeatability and predictability.  I think its fair to assume that will demonstrate that its score, venue, and zone adjustments similarly matter. So until proven otherwise, I'm comfortable in believing that we should be looking at adjusted stats rather than any un-adjusted ones.

2. This is all 5v5.  As Cullen points out in his article, Kane apparently had a super productive year on the PP.  That probably deserves some weighting when comparing these players, but if I were trying to develop a WAR-like formula for these players, I'd probably weight PP results less than I would 5v5 stats.  Maybe Arik Parnass at the Special Teams Project can tell me otherwise!


When I looked at this last month, I questioned whether Kane was truly deserving of all the accolades he was getting for his year.  Since then, there's been more media attention on whether he truly deserves the Hart Trophy over someone like Crosby or Thornton or even Karlsson.  It is impossible to deny that Kane had the best season of doing exactly what he's paid to do - put up points.  But when you start to peel away at the metrics underlying those points, I think its at least arguable that he hasn't had a year that stands out compared to his top scoring forward peers.

Again I'm right in my analysis.