Recent studies have created data to support this hypothesis.
The Flyers’ fourth line (Couturier-Talbot-Rinaldo) averaged 0.29 shots per time they dumped or deflected the puck in, while the top line (Giroux-Jagr-Hartnell) averaged 0.28. The fourth line averaged 0.56 shots per time they carried or passed the puck in, while the top line averaged 0.53.
The reason Giroux has a better shot differential than Rinaldo isn’t that he does more with each entry; it’s that he wins the neutral zone more often (more total entries) and does so more decisively (gaining the zone with possession).
If it’s true that the less-skilled players are being coached to just dump the puck in—and I suspect it is—then the coach might be doing more to limit their offense than their own lack of skill is. This is the kind of inefficiency that can be identified, fixed, and exploited to gain an advantage over the rest of the league. Info provided by- Eric T. of Broad Street Hockey and NHL Numbers
The conclusions drawn from this study may have some people questioning the deployment of players in zone specific roles. But remember from above that a substantial amount (>50%) of offensive production comes after an offensive or neutral zone (faceoff) win, obviously having a huge impact on game outcomes. Simply put, neutral zone performance predicts future wins, offensive and defensive zone performance determines wins. I don't think this data really changes anything for zone starts. Coaches who deploy their players in zones best suited to their talent are efficiently utilizing the resources on their roster. If given an option for a player who performs equally well in the offensive and neutral zone, then perhaps, choosing the neutral zone above the offensive zone may be a better choice. Info provided by- http://www.fearthefin.com/2012/8/12/3224106/1st-shift-corsi-by-zone-the-impact-of-neutral-zone-performance-on
stats can be intimidating, I know. But this one's super-simple. "Fenwick" is the differential between the shots a team takes (minus blocked shots), and those taken by its opponent. Think of it as +/-, but for shots instead of points. A .500 percentage is average. "Fenwick close," which this graphic shows, is the same thing, but only in one-goal situations in the first and second periods, and in tied games after that. It's a more effective baseline that discards situations where one team is trying to run out the clock, or desperately catch up.
The graphic charts every team's Fenwick close since the 2007-2008 season. It's broken up into 50-percentage-point quadrants, from .400 to .600. Read it counterclockwise from the top right. Zero teams with the lowest Fenwick close have made the playoffs in the last five years. Every team with the highest Fenwick close has played into May, with three of the eight reaching the Cup finals. Even discarding those outliers, there's an enormous correlation with being on the plus side of .500.
(As of yesterday's games, only the Kings and Bruins would fall in the highest quadrant.)
You want to reach the postseason? Own the puck, and take more shots than your opponents. I love it when a complicated sport is made simple.
Info provided by- http://deadspin.com/this-wonderful-graphic-proves-that-in-the-nhl-puck-pos-470045959
Here is a great video on Puck Possession, covering great concepts such as Offensive Zone entry, cycling, puck support and good passing angles...
Furthermore, NHL.com Ranks the NHL's best defenseman, furthering illustrating the importance of having great first passers D's who can quickly and effectively transition the puck from defense to offense. Here's the list-
7 out of 8 of these players were on teams that made the playoffs in the 2012-2013 shortened NHL season.