The Michael Grabner Breakaway Tracker

Kevin Schultz, Islanders Point Blank:

Michael Grabner is a fast hockey player who generates many breakaways. Sometimes, he scores on those breakaways. But we don’t really know much more than that.

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 10.22.49 PMHow many does he get? Exactly how many does he score on? What is a reasonable amount to expect him to score on?

These are questions without answers. After we complete this exercise, they may still be unanswered. Or maybe we will learn something. It’s hard to say. That’s how science works.

So, this season we will be tracking all of Grabner’s breakaways. The NHL makes available a wonderful amount of statistics in their post-game statsheets but breakaways are not among them. They are usually useless to track because breakaways — not to be confused with odd-man rushes — are infrequent unless a team has a Michael Grabner.

Hopefully someone smart will figure out what to do with the data we gather. At the very least it will be a fun exercise. We’ll also figure out a spot to put this page on the site’s homepage so you can easily come back to it later on.

Let’s begin the science.

Data to be gathered: Date, opponent, video evidence (if available), whether it occurred shorthanded, on the power play, or at even strength, and the result of the play.

How we define a breakaway: Grabner must pass the last defender and possess the puck before reaching the goal line. He does not need to be a full body length ahead of the last defender but he needs to have the advantage of the play. For example, if he is 1-on-1 with a defender clearly in front of him and gets shut down, this is not a breakaway. However, if he is speeding down the wing, is even with the last defender but has a clear path to the net, this will be counted (see #3 for example).

Other specifics: Odd-man rushes (3-on-2s, etc) do not count. These are not unadulterated breakaways and are also a bit harder to define and very open to interpretation. Multi-player breaks (2-on-0, 3-on-0) do count, as long as Grabner is one of the players breaking and has had a hand in the play in some way, whether it be a pass, steal or similar.

Continuation: In scoring the results of a breakaway, some leeway will be given to letting the play unfold; breakaways where the goal occurs after the breakaway is seemingly concluded. A good rule of thumb is probably 5-10 seconds after the breakaway. A good example of this is #6 on the chart. In general, the breakaway should lead almost directly to the goal to be counted as a goal in the data.

See a mistake? Did we miss a breakaway? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.


# Date Opp Video EV/PP/SH Result
1 10/4 @ NJD link EV Brodeur save
2 10/4 @ NJD link EV Goal (Brodeur)
3 10/4 @ NJD link EV Goal (Brodeur)
4 10/4 @ NJD link EV Brodeur save
5 10/5 CBJ link EV Bobrovsky save
6 10/8 PHO link EV Assist (Bailey Goal, on Greiss)
7 11/1 @ OTT SH Lehrner save
8 11/2 BOS SH no shot
9 11/7 @ CAR link 4v4 Peters save
10 11/16 DET link EV Gustavsson save
11 11/23 @PHI EV Mason save
12 11/30 WSH EV No shot — WSH hooking penalty
13 12/9 @ANA link EV Hiller save
14 12/14 MTL 13:56/3rd EV Price save
15 12/20 @NYR 2:51/1st SH Goal
16 12/20 @NYR 13:08/2nd SH Crossbar

Last update: 12/20/13

2 comments
Nick Queen
Nick Queen

Kind of liberal w the breakaways, eh? No way that Bailey goal was one. That first clip vs Brodeur was kind of iffy too, since the dman forced him to take a shot from the faceoff dot...

Kevin Judge
Kevin Judge

The one that Bailey scored on he got possession of that puck a bit late and tight on the goalie. That would of been amazing if he buried it