The NHL game reports give us individual TOI data, including even-strength, powerplay, and penalty kill TOI back through 2002-03. Using this, we can build some pretty interesting databases with season progressions such as the above. Here, I’ve taken two young players, one (Ilya Kovalchuk) a highly talented, much-needed forward for the early Atlanta Thrashers; the other, Craig Adams, was a late-rounder who chopped his way through the NCAA and up to the NHL, finally getting his first real minutes late in 2002-03. These TOI charts I developed (starting quite awhile ago over at AIH) take a player’s TOI and expresses it as a percentage of the top TOI in those strengths (forwards and defense are split up). Top-liners would be right up against the 100% mark; 2nd liners are more around 80-85%, and so on down. These charts can show very interesting stories related to player production (since production is strongly attached to TOI)…here, we see Craig Adams earn a major role in Carolina’s forward lines in the final 20 games of 2002-03. No surprise, then, that he produced nearly 65% of his shots and other offensive production in those games. Kovalchuk, of course, was just moving into a massive role in Atlanta’s offense (along with Dany Heatley).
This is just one of many things we can do with the mounds of buried data from the pre-BTN Era.