Faceoffs: The Market Inefficiency for Champions?
Team: NHL Faceoff Analytics
How much do faceoffs actually matter in winning hockey games? Many of the recent seismic developments in hockey analytics have been characterized by the importance of puck possession, a key determinant in the latest models such as expected goals and other metrics like Corsi. Yet amid this shift to focusing on possession, there is yet to be consensus or any similarly robust models on the importance of faceoffs, the most frequent and decisive determinant of possession occurring on the order of 60 times per game. This project analyzes how faceoffs drive offensive and defensive results and impact teams’ ability to win games by mapping faceoff outcomes to an amount of goals gained or lost through faceoff performance. We argue that faceoffs are an underappreciated market inefficiency that teams can exploit to win championships and provide models for quantifying and predicting faceoff performance.