How to use stats for evaluation
For forwards and goalies, it’s easy to use stats to evaluate how well a player is doing.
Defensive players unfortunately do not have a wealth of stats upon which to draw, with loose balls and caused turnovers being their primary performance metric.
If you see a guy soaking a shot, preventing an opponent from getting a shot off, and causing turnovers, then chances are you’ve got a good defenseman out there.
Your primary goal scorers, forwards should first and foremost have a healthy amount of goals, assists and points.
If you see a forward with 20 goals and 10 assists, you can assume they are more of a finisher instead of a feeder.
The next most important stat is their shooting percentage. League average for this stat is around 16%.
Finally, forwards are going to get the ball knocked out of their stick. Defenders are great in the NLL, and they’ll take plenty of chances to get the ball back for their team.
A forward with a low amount of turnovers typically means he held onto the ball well.
The important stats for goalies really boil down to three categories: minutes, goals against average, and save percentage.
More minutes means your goalie is playing plenty between the net and can give you a better sample size for how they performed.
Goals against average tells you how well a goalie – and to a large extent the defense in front of them – have played on average. Generally, an average goaltender sits around 12 GAA.
A save percentage tells you how many times a goaltender is blocking shots on goal. A high number means few balls are finding the twine.
The numbers have to be referenced together to properly evaluate how well a goalie is performing. The more minutes a goalie plays is almost always a great thing.
A high GAA and low SV% means a player isn’t doing well at net.
A low GAA and low SV% suggests the goalie isn’t seeing too many shots, more than likely a courtesy of the defense in front of him.
A high GAA and high SV% says that defense is letting a lot of shots get off.