Who needs defense in an offensive league?
As you have seen me mention many times on here, the NHL has decided to manufacture more scoring this season. They have cracked down on penalties and have officials crying foul whenever a skater breathes wrong on another. It’s too early to truly tell if the rule changes add much more offense. But, the last time the NHL did something like this, it added over a goal more per game throughout an entire season. So, time most certainly will tell us if the rule changes have indeed led to more offense.
So, with all of that expected offense, the common consensus would be to add as many offensive threats to your team as you can. Not a bad thought. In hockey, there is only one statistic that matters when it comes to winning, goals. The basis of every advanced stat out there is goals. Take a look at the possession analytics of Corsi and Fenwick. The importance of having possession of the puck is because you can’t score without it. Or take the PDO statistic. PDO is the combination of the team’s shooting percentage (goals scored divided by shots taken) and the team’s save percentage (shots saved divided by total shots). All of that amounts to what? Goals.
Even though goals are the only important statistic, it doesn’t mean the only way to account for goals is by scoring them. Defense is just as important as offense. You can win by scoring one more goal than the other team, or you can also win by allowing one less goal than the other team. Look at the Predators win last week against the Philadelphia Flyers. It was 1-0. Defense dominated that game for both sides. The Predators just happened to play that much better defense.