The new Puck and Player Tracking system is expected to increase goal scoring by 25%. Can it work for you?
By Daniel C. Bryndle
Boost your goal scoring with these techniques
UPDATE—January 19, 2021: The NHL has released a statement regarding puck tracking:
The National Hockey League announced today that, effective with tonight’s games, the League will be using game pucks without the imbedded tracking technology. The decision was made after concerns were raised about the puck’s performance during the first few days of the 2020-21 season. A review by the League determined that the first supply of 2020-21 pucks did not receive the same precise finishing treatments during the off-season manufacturing process as were used during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It is expected that a new supply of the League’s “tracking pucks” will be available soon and, after undergoing appropriate quality control testing, will be back in use for all games. In the interim, the League will use the official game pucks from the 2019-20 season and will continue to utilize Player tracking technology for all games.
If you knew where most of the goals are scored on the best goalies in the world, would you assume those areas are very likely the same vulnerable spots that the adult and youth hockey leagues can score in? The answer would be a resounding yes.
The NHL has announced an exciting breakthrough in goal scoring for the 2021 season. The new Puck and Player Tracking system is expected to help improve scoring by about 25% because of it. Here’s why.
According to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, “The new Puck and Player Tracking system can track pucks at a rate of 2,000 times per second in real time, with inch-level accuracy.” The technology will be used across the NHL this season.
To get a better idea of how this works, just imagine you’re a goalie in the NHL. Now every goal that is scored on you can be tracked, with accuracy to mere inches. Opposing players will know with certainty exactly where the goals went in your net. To be fair, there would have to be an understanding as to where each goalie was positioned at the time of the goal. That can be easily accomplished from the video that will be made available to each team in the league.
One result of this innovation will be the effect of exposing specific areas of the net where each goalie is most vulnerable. Once the data is properly sequenced and charted inside the goal, the super shooters of the NHL will have an exact spot to shoot and score at. It’s likely we will see more than four 80-goal scorers in the league this season. And when the data is properly transferred to the players, it is anticipated that there will be a 25%-40% increase in goal scoring, league wide.
As can be expected, goalies will be more vulnerable to specific target shooting in their net. Shooters can picture several areas where the locations in the net will be marked like a bulls-eye. We have all seen goalies become exasperated when excessive scoring on them occurs, where the multitude of goals can reach five or more. The goalies are often removed from the game at that point, to allow them to rest and just watch the game from a different vantage point: the bench.
The graphic shown below was developed by NHL goalie coach Hiroki Wakabayashi. It demonstrates how 3,854 goals that were scored on the goalies were charted by percentage in the goal. Their scoring potential is illustrated as low, middle, and high. Now imagine a similar chart with inch-level accuracy, along with the placement of each shot and the position of the goalie. The Puck and Player Tracking system will reveal the exact spot where the most talented shot makers in the world of hockey can shoot to score.
With the introduction of the Puck and Player Tracking system, 2021 promises to be the most dynamic and exciting year in the history of the sport. And it may well be just a matter of time before it makes its way to adult and youth rec hockey.