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The Power Play Ratio: The Wild Don't Need to Change Anything, Just Score

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL season is still very young for the Minnesota Wild. Only four games into the season with an odd scheduling anomaly that saw the Wild play two games, and then take four days off, to only play two more games before another extended break, we still really don't know what kind of team the Wild really are. They've only played three teams and out-possessed two of them.

The main storyline so far this season: Minnesota has yet to score a power play goal. There are only three teams in the NHL going into Wednesday night's action without breaking their duck with the man advantage: the Winnipeg Jets, the Buffalo Sabres, and your Minnesota Wild.

So that power play hasn't been clicking yet, fine, but how has the level of play been? Have they been getting opportunities? The Pittsburgh Penguins are the only team that has played as many games (not counting Wednesday night) as the Wild and has had a similar amount of opportunities with the man-advantage with 17 to the Wild's 16. The Wild are currently tied last place in PP%. Who has the no. 1 powerplay in the league? You guessed it, the Penguins do. They have capitalized on eight of their 17 tries and possess a 47.1 power play success rate.

The Wild have been getting their opportunities but haven't been converting. A closer look shows that they have been getting shots, with 57 Corsi events for while on the power play in their four games. That's 57 shots that were either on goal, missed the net, or were blocked. That is a CF/60 rate of 110.68 compared to last year's power play CF/60 rate of 91.38. They are shooting at a torrid pace to start this year.

The Penguins, who have nearly the same amount of power plays, have only 48 Corsi events.

In my investigation, I was looking to see what the numbers for the top power play teams are to see if there is any correlation with what the Wild are doing. I looked at the Wild for the last three years as well as Pittsburgh, who owned the best power play last season, and the Washington Capitals as they had owned the second best power play last season and were tops the season before that.

So far this season the Wild are out -shooting the Pens in every shooting category (Corsi For, Fenwick For, and Shots For). I then came up with a set of ratios that determine the ratio of Fenwick shots to Corsi shots that I call Fenwick to Corsi Ratio (FCR), Shots to Fenwick Ratio (SFR) and Shots to Corsi Ratio (SCR). What I am trying to determine is the percentage of attempted shots that don't get blocked and then the percentage of Fenwick events that end up on net.

Here is what I found:

Minnesota

2014-15

2013-14

2012-13

PP CF

57

PP CF

641

PP CF

412

PP FF

48

PP FF

486

PP FF

312

PP SF

36

PP SF

347

PP SF

234

FCR

84.2%

FCR

75.8%

FCR

75.7%

SFR

75.0%

SFR

71.4%

SFR

75.0%

SCR

63.2%

SCR

54.1%

SCR

56.8%


Pittsburgh

2014-15

2013-14

2012-13

PP CF

48

PP CF

815

PP CF

458

PP FF

42

PP FF

626

PP FF

354

PP SF

30

PP SF

468

PP SF

249

FCR

87.5%

FCR

76.8%

FCR

77.3%

SFR

71.4%

SFR

74.8%

SFR

70.3%

SCR

62.5%

SCR

57.4%

SCR

54.4%


Washington

2014-15

2013-14

2012-13

PP CF

51

PP CF

817

PP CF

416

PP FF

40

PP FF

640

PP FF

316

PP SF

27

PP SF

469

PP SF

218

FCR

78.4%

FCR

78.3%

FCR

76.0%

SFR

67.5%

SFR

73.3%

SFR

69.0%

SCR

52.9%

SCR

57.4%

SCR

52.4%

As you can see, the Wild this year are not just shooting a lot more, but they are getting a ton of shots through to the net. What I tend to notice is that roughly 25 percent of the shots that are not blocked by a defending player are missing the net completely. The Wild so far this season are finding ways to be more accurate in their shooting while increasing their ability to get shots around the defense.

So what sets the Pens and the Caps apart from the Wild? Well...frankly, shooting percentage. The Wild just cannot find the back of the net. Essentially, they are doing everything right but scoring. Now, this could be because of early chemistry problems, or the fact that the opposition penalty killing is that good. Not to mention that they've gone up against a goalie that has lost only five games in his young career in Frederik Andersen, Jonathan Quick who backstops a Stanley Cup winning team in front of him, and Semyon Varlamov, whom was under barrage but was able to stand tall during the Wild power plays.

Pittsburgh's PP PDO? Well that's an astronomical 126.67 as the league leader. The Wild have a league-worst 75 PP PDO. What does that mean? The Wild have been having terrible luck on the power play. With the law of averages, this should surely regress to the mean and the Wild should start scoring, eventually.

So how do the Wild break through? I understand why Mike Yeo is changing the power play units in search for the right mix. But really, the Wild just need to continue to do exactly what they are doing. Personnel decisions can and should be debated, but these numbers, small sample size aside, are really dominant numbers. It just becomes a matter of sustaining this type of play.