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Primary & Secondary Assists at EV, 2007-08

One of the statistics often taken for granted in the National Hockey League is the assist. However, the assist is actually two distinct statistics; primary assists and secondary assists.

Among the offensive stats that Behind The Net breaks down is the assist. Taking that data, (in primary assists/60 mins and secondary assists/60 mins), I've converted it to a percentage. As follows are the Edmonton Oilers forwards ranked by what percentage of their assists at even strength are primary (the assist that sets up the goal).

Ethan Moreau - 1.00
Ales Hemsky - .823
Kyle Brodziak - .804
Sam Gagner - .738
Zach Stortini - .626
Robert Nilsson - .625
Raffi Torres - .603
Marc Pouliot - .597
Marty Reasoner - .548
Shawn Horcoff - .500
Andrew Cogliano - .500
Curtis Glencross - .416
Jarret Stoll - .382
Geoff Sanderson - .375
Fernando Pisani - .370
Dustin Penner - .369
What does this mean, you ask? I don't think it's coincidental that the top offensive players on the team are bunched up at the top. Hemsky, Gagner and Nilsson are all getting assists of the primary kind at least 62% of the time. Keeping in mind too that there are more primary assists to get (given that often a second assist is not awarded), I think .500 has to be considered not the median, but somewhere south of that.

Rather than drawing the negatives out of this list (feel free to if you'd like), I think it indicates that Gagner and Nilsson in particular are creating much of the offense, and also that Brodziak is probably more of an offensive creator than I've ever given him credit for.

Fine, one negative: look who's sitting at the bottom of the list.