The Factors Behind the Surge in NHL Scoring

The NHL is currently focused on scoring and action, attempting to move away from the Dead Puck Era and emphasizing the skill of the players. The league has seen an increase in scoring over the past decade, and there are several factors contributing to this trend. Crackdowns on goalie equipment, analytics, and an increase in individual skill on every team have all played a role. Teams are no longer limited to two scoring lines and a checking line, as more players throughout the roster are able to contribute to scoring chances. Analyzing forward analytic data over the past 10 seasons showed a steady increase in expected goals for players not averaging the most ice time. There has been an 18.2% increase in expected goals for players averaging the bottom half of ice time, indicating an overall rise in skill level throughout the league. Additionally, teams are focusing on better scoring chances, leading to an increase in attempts while still maintaining an emphasis on skill and speed over traditional “grind” players. This rise in skill throughout the league is a positive development, even if it means saying goodbye to the traditional role players of the past.