Iafrate Points

By tabness · Feb 11, 2019 · Updated Feb 11, 2019
  1. tabness
    We all know that Al Iafrate does not like empty net goals. The story goes that Iafrate was in clear but elected to shoot the puck in the corner rather than into the open net and when asked about it afterwards was quoted as saying:

    "empty net goals are for [sissies/pansies/wussies/losers/and some other terms that are more likely to be the actual quote but I will refrain from posting so I don't get banned]"

    (does anyone have the actual video of this game and the interview?)

    In any case I also think that in general empty net goals are cheap. Sure there are exceptions and some empty net goals are actually pretty impressive and certainly a goalie scoring an empty net goal is almost always cool (and I certainly wouldn't call Ron Hextall for example a "sissy" or whatever) and also empty net goals may be good indicators that a coach trusts a player to protect a lead at the end of the game but in general I do not think they are a good indicator of offensive performance at all.

    So I always remove empty net goals from player stats in my (offensive) evaluations. The NHL website makes this easy in their stats page by having a column for empty net goals in their goals by type report (NHL.com - Stats).

    But what about assists on empty net goals? Not every hockey player does the honorable thing like Brett Hull and make sure other players don't get cheap empty net assists. I think these in general are even cheaper than empty net goals and I would expect them to be more common than empty net goals just like assists in general.

    Despite these issues I was unaware of empty net assists being tracked anywhere and so it was definitely a goal of mine to ensure I tracked empty net assists when gathering boxscore data. As I continue to work on that project recently I stumbled upon the goal finder from Hockey Reference and noticed it allows you to explicitly search for empty net goals which shows not only the goal scorer but also who assisted on the goal among other information (Goal Finder | Hockey-Reference.com). While the data only goes back to the 1979-1980 season and there is some missing data (for example Mario Lemieux scored 69 goals in 1995-1996 but the Hockey Reference goal finder only has 68 goals for him that season) it is still a good basis for starting on Iafrate points.

    Iafrate points are simply points excluding empty net points named in honor of Al Iafrate for his principled stance. Let us refer to empty net points as simply cheap points for the purposes this forum. Please note that I did not attempt to correct for any issues in actually granting cheap points (there is data where a goalie is actually present for a empty net goal and I know from going through the NHL statsapi that there are goals with no goalie but that are still not marked as empty net goals)

    There were 6707 empty net goals recorded from 1979-1980 to 2017-2018 and 2270 players had a cheap point in that time frame

    Highest career cheap points 1979-1980 to 2017-2018

    cheap pointsplayer
    85Wayne Gretzky
    60Marian Hossa
    56Jarome Iginla
    55Joe Thornton
    53Eric Staal
    51Ron Francis
    50Jaromir Jagr
    48Mark Messier
    45Mark Recchi
    44Mario Lemieux
    42Teemu Selanne
    41Bryan Trottier
    40Patrice Bergeron
    40Sidney Crosby
    40Steve Yzerman
    39Keith Tkachuk
    39Ray Bourque
    38Alex Ovechkin
    37Daniel Alfredsson
    37Henrik Zetterberg
    36Brendan Shanahan
    36Mike Modano
    35Blake Wheeler
    35David Backes
    35Henrik Sedin
    35Pavel Datsyuk
    34Gary Roberts
    34Ilya Kovalchuk
    34Jari Kurri
    34Nicklas Backstrom
    34Zach Parise
    33Doug Gilmour
    33Mike Bossy
    33Patrick Kane
    33Rick Nash
    33Rod Brind'Amour
    32David Legwand
    32Evgeni Malkin
    32Patrick Marleau
    31Anze Kopitar
    31Jonathan Toews
    31Max Pacioretty
    31Pavel Bure
    31Rick Tocchet
    31Ryan Kesler
    30Brad Marchand
    30Craig Conroy
    30Daniel Sedin
    30Olli Jokinen
    29Guy Carbonneau
    29John Tavares
    29Jordan Staal
    29Justin Williams
    29Mike Ridley
    29Shane Doan
    29Theoren Fleury
    29Tomas Plekanec
    28Doug Weight
    28Dustin Brown
    28Jeremy Roenick
    28Joe Pavelski
    28Kelly Miller
    28Mikko Koivu
    28Patrik Elias
    27Alexandre Burrows
    27Brent Sutter
    27Joe Sakic
    27Martin St. Louis
    27Ray Whitney
    27Sergei Fedorov
    27Trevor Linden
    26Al Macinnis
    26Antoine Vermette
    26Chris Kelly
    26Jamie Langenbrunner
    26Keith Primeau
    26Michael Grabner
    26Michal Handzus
    26Mike Fisher
    26Milan Lucic
    26Peter Stastny
    26Radim Vrbata
    26Scott Stevens
    26Todd Marchant
    26Zdeno Chara
    25Brandon Dubinsky
    25Brian Rolston
    25Chris Pronger
    25Dale Hunter
    25Mats Sundin
    25Nicklas Lidstrom
    25Patrick Sharp
    25Saku Koivu
    25Tony Amonte
    25Vincent Damphousse
    25Vincent Lecavalier
    24Alex Kovalev
    24David Krejci
    24Dino Ciccarelli
    24Jason Spezza
    24Marian Gaborik
    24Paul Coffey
    24Paul Kariya
    23Adam Oates
    23Ed Olczyk
    23Jeff Carter
    23Loui Eriksson
    23P.J. Axelsson
    23Paul Stastny
    23Tom Fitzgerald
    23Troy Murray
    22Alex Steen
    22Dave Poulin
    22Daymond Langkow
    22Glenn Anderson
    22Logan Couture
    22Miroslav Satan
    22Murray Craven
    22Rob Niedermayer
    21Andrew Cogliano
    21Chris Chelios
    21Corey Perry
    21Drew Doughty
    21John Maclean
    21Mike Gartner
    21Radek Bonk
    21Rick Middleton
    21Steve Kasper
    21Steve Larmer
    20Brett Hull
    20Brian Gionta
    20Claude Lemieux
    20Denis Savard
    20Duncan Keith
    20Jamie Benn
    20Jason Pominville
    20Joel Ward
    20Jussi Jokinen
    20Kelly Buchberger
    20Michael Peca
    20Mike Grier
    20Peter Forsberg
    20Ryan Callahan
    20Ryan O'Reilly
    20Tyler Seguin
    20Valtteri Filppula
    I cut it off at 20 because it simply got too unwieldy to go further. Some real good players are sadly on this list. Yet another record for Wayne Gretzky which he has a large margin of victory but there likely isn't much pride in this one. Some active players have probably already moved up as this table does not account for cheap points from the current season.

    Highest career cheap assists 1979-1980 to 2017-2018

    cheap assistsplayer
    31Ron Francis
    29Wayne Gretzky
    28Jaromir Jagr
    28Joe Thornton
    26Mark Recchi
    26Patrice Bergeron
    24Jarome Iginla
    24Nicklas Backstrom
    23Craig Conroy
    23Eric Staal
    23Henrik Zetterberg
    23Mark Messier
    23Pavel Datsyuk
    23Sidney Crosby
    22Paul Coffey
    22Ray Bourque
    21Chris Pronger
    21Rod Brind'Amour
    20Anze Kopitar
    20Jari Kurri
    20Marian Hossa
    19Al Macinnis
    19David Legwand
    19Drew Doughty
    19Duncan Keith
    19Henrik Sedin
    19Joe Pavelski
    19Ryan Kesler
    19Zdeno Chara
    18Adam Oates
    18Chris Chelios
    18Dale Hunter
    18Jonathan Toews
    18Michal Handzus
    18Mike Bossy
    18Mike Modano
    18Mikko Koivu
    18Sergei Fedorov
    18Steve Yzerman
    17Brandon Dubinsky
    17Brendan Shanahan
    17Bryan Trottier
    17Daniel Sedin
    17Doug Gilmour
    17Loui Eriksson
    17Mike Fisher
    17Olli Jokinen
    17Ryan Suter
    17Saku Koivu
    17Scott Niedermayer
    17Scott Stevens
    17Teppo Numminen
    16Blake Wheeler
    16Brent Sutter
    16David Krejci
    16Jordan Staal
    16Keith Tkachuk
    16Ray Whitney
    16Ryan O'Reilly
    16Teemu Selanne
    16Thomas Steen
    16Todd Marchant
    15Alex Kovalev
    15Brent Seabrook
    15Jason Spezza
    15Jeremy Roenick
    15Kelly Miller
    15Murray Craven
    15Nicklas Lidstrom
    15P.J. Axelsson
    15Patrick Kane
    15Tomas Plekanec
    15Vincent Lecavalier
    Gretzky is probably happy to let Ron Francis have this record. 1415 cheap goals were left unassisted.

    Highest cheap points in a season 1979-1980 to 2017-2018

    playerseasoncheap points
    Jaromir Jagr2000-200110
    Wayne Gretzky1986-19879
    Mike Ridley1992-19939
    Keith Tkachuk1996-19979
    Mario Lemieux1996-19979
    Pavel Bure1999-20009
    Jamie Benn2015-20169
    Eric Staal2016-20179
    Craig Ramsay1979-19808
    Wayne Gretzky1988-19898
    Theo Fleury1997-19988
    Mike Modano2002-20038
    Alex Ovechkin2008-20098
    Eric Staal2009-20108
    Olli Jokinen2011-20128
    Joe Thornton2014-20158
    Jean-Gabriel Pageau2015-20168
    Patrick Kane2016-20178
    Sidney Crosby2017-20188
    Vincent Trocheck2017-20188
    I cut it off at the 20 seasons of 8 or more cheap points as there were 40 seasons of 7! Jaromir Jagr is the only player with double digit cheap points in a season (from 1979-1980 to 2017-2018).

    Season by season cheap points leaders 1979-1980 to 2017-2018

    seasonplayer(s)cheap points
    1979-1980Craig Ramsey8
    1980-1981Bryan Trottier
    Mike Bossy
    Wayne Gretzky
    1981-1982Mike Bossy7
    1982-1983Paul Coffey
    Ron Francis
    1983-1984Wayne Gretzky7
    1984-1985Dwight Foster6
    1985-1986Murray Craven
    Troy Murray
    Wayne Gretzky
    1986-1987Wayne Gretzky9
    1987-1988Denis Savard6
    1988-1989Wayne Gretzky8
    1989-1990Brent Sutter7
    1990-1991Ray Bourque7
    1991-1992Mike Ridley
    Wayne Gretzky
    1992-1993Mike Ridley9
    1993-1994Brendan Shanahan6
    1994-1995Dino Ciccarelli
    Keith Primeau
    1995-1996Keith Tkachuk7
    1996-1997Keith Tkachuk
    Mario Lemieux
    1997-1998Theo Fleury8
    1998-1999Alexei Yashin
    Chris Pronger
    Craig Conroy
    Tony Amonte
    1999-2000Pavel Bure9
    2000-2001Jaromir Jagr10
    2001-2002Bryan Smolinski6
    2002-2003Mike Modano8
    2003-2004Jason Blake
    Mike Peca
    2005-2006Michal Handzus
    Vinny Prospal
    2006-2007Jarome Iginla7
    2007-2008Evgeni Malkin6
    2008-2009Alex Ovechkin8
    2009-2010Eric Staal8
    2010-2011Nicklas Backstrom
    Patrice Bergeron
    2011-2012Olli Jokinen8
    2012-2013Blake Wheeler5
    2013-2014Andrew Cogliano
    Jarome Iginla
    Max Pacioretty
    2014-2015Joe Thronton8
    2015-2016Jamie Benn9
    2016-2017Eric Staal9
    2017-2018Sidney Crosby
    Vincent Trocheck
    Iafrate point leader different from scoring leader
    • 1979-1980 (was tied): Wayne Gretzky 134 (Marcel Dionne 132)
    • 1994-1995 (was tied): Eric Lindros 68 and Jaromir Jagr 68
    • 2000-2001: Joe Sakic 116 (Jaromir Jagr 111)
    • 2002-2003: Markus Naslund 104 and Peter Forsberg 104
    • 2014-2015: Jamie Benn 84 and John Tavares 84
    The highest scoring player who never scored a cheap point from 1979-1980 to 2017-2018 is Reijo Ruotsalainen with 344 wholesome Iafrate points

    Technically speaking Guy Chouinard and Steve Shutt scored more points in the time frame without scoring a cheap point but since their careers predate 1979-1980 I cannot give them such an honor without confirming

    Al Iafrate himself unfortunately scored 3 cheap points

    dateteamopponentgoalfirst assistsecond assistperiodtimesituation
    12/15/87toronto maple leafswashington capitalsed olczykal iafratetom fergus3rd19:51ev
    2/18/92washington capitalssan jose sharksal iafratedale hunterkelly miller3rd19:25ev
    12/5/92washington capitalsnew york islandersmike ridleydale hunteral iafrate3rd19:52ev
    I bet the goal is an error in scorer transcription and I can only imagine what happened in the locker room after the game after the other two empty net goals were scored

    No excuse for these cheap points

    I know some of you will come at me with the talk that cheap points are valuable for ensuring the win. Well these guys don't even have that going for them. These are the empty net goals (not at weird times discussed below) that didn't win the game in regulation (four empty net goals were actually scored in games where the player's team lost but they were all at weird times):

    dateteamopponentlocationresultgoalfirst assistsecond assistperiodtime
    12/30/88minnesota north starsst louis bluesroadtiemarc habscheidneal brotenbrian maclellan3rd19:27
    11/24/08new york islandersmontreal canadiensroadwin (so)bill guerin3rd15:13
    4/4/10vancouver canucksminnesota wildhomewin (ot)alexander edler3rd19:05
    Empty net goals due to brilliant coaching (brought to you by Patrick Roy)

    Coaches having been pulling the goalie earlier in recent seasons but I remember that Patrick Roy was on another level at doing this and even though it worked sometimes it seemed to backfire just as much and I never understood why (maybe he was still traumatized by a game where he felt he should have been pulled earlier :sarcasm:). So here are the empty net goals at really weird times (not in the last 5 minutes of the third):

    dateteamopponentresultgoalfirst assistsecond assistperiodtime
    11/28/79new york islanderscolorado rockieslossbilly smith3rd4:50
    11/29/87new york rangersnew york islanderswindavid shaw2nd8:59
    3/27/88new jersey devilsnew york rangerswinpat conacherrandy velischekclaude loiselle3rd14:43
    4/1/89st louis bluestoronto maple leafswin (ot)gino cavallinibernie federkogreg paslawskiot4:10
    4/2/89pittsburgh penguinsphiladelphia flyerswin (ot)mario lemieuxtroy loneyot3:38
    4/16/92winnipeg jets (1979)san jose sharkswined olczyk2nd19:46
    4/12/93washington capitalsmontreal canadienswin (ot)mike ridleybob carpenterkevin hatcherot4:12
    11/2/93detroit red wingsboston bruinswinpaul coffey2nd3:30
    12/4/97new jersey devilspittsburgh penguinswinbob carpenterkevin dean3rd8:44
    11/25/98toronto maple leafsvancouver canuckswindmitry yushkevich3rd10:58
    12/29/98montreal canadiensedmonton oilerswinmark recchi1st5:56
    1/2/99ottawa senatorsnew jersey devilswindamian rhodes1st8:14
    2/15/00new jersey devilsphiladelphia flyerswinmartin brodeur3rd9:43
    4/7/00edmonton oilersvancouver canuckswinrem murrayot4:01
    3/25/03columbus blue jacketslos angeles kingswin (ot)andrew casselsot4:12
    12/31/05mighty ducks of anaheimst louis blueswin (so)vitaly vishnevski2nd7:27
    4/15/06nashville predatorsphoenix coyoteswinchris mason3rd10:47
    1/16/08chicago blackhawksst louis blueswinpatrick kanerobert langbrent seabrook3rd14:38
    3/21/09phoenix coyotesvancouver canuckswinviktor tikhonov2nd10:30
    1/12/14edmonton oilerschicago blackhawkslossboyd gordon2nd11:29
    3/29/14buffalo sabrestampa bay lightningloss (ot)cory conacher3rd8:14
    11/28/14vancouver canuckscolumbus blue jacketswinbrad richardsonnick bonino3rd14:38
    12/20/14vancouver canuckscalgary flameswin (ot)yannick weber1st4:40
    2/19/15washington capitalswinnipeg jets (2011)wintroy brouwer3rd13:33
    2/24/15nashville predatorscolorado avalanchewineric nystromroman josi3rd8:28
    3/17/15st louis bluescalgary flameswindavid backes3rd14:25
    1/26/16san jose sharkscolorado avalanchewinpaul martinbrent burns3rd8:21
    2/4/16florida panthersdetroit red wingswinvincent trocheckreilly smithjussi jokinen3rd14:19
    2/21/16minnesota wildchicago blackhawkswinerik haula3rd13:49
    2/21/16vancouver canuckscolorado avalanchewinchris tanevhenrik sedindaniel sedin3rd11:37
    3/22/16dallas starschicago blackhawkswincody eakinjamie benn3rd13:48
    3/26/16minnesota wildcolorado avalanchewinmikael granlunderik haula3rd11:06
    4/9/16ottawa senatorsboston bruinswinjean-gabriel pageau3rd11:33
    4/9/16ottawa senatorsboston bruinswinzack smithjean-gabriel pageau3rd14:29
    10/15/16calgary flamesvancouver canucksloss (so)troy brouwer1st9:14
    12/13/16dallas starsanaheim duckswinradek faksajordie benn3rd13:57
    1/5/17nashville predatorstampa bay lightningwincolton sissonscalle jarnkrok3rd14:02
    1/14/17st louis bluessan jose sharkswinalex steenjaden schwartzkevin shattenkirk3rd14:37
    2/9/17ottawa senatorsdallas starswinchris kelly1st17:55
    Some are likely own goals and I'd imagine the overtime ones were due to pulling the goalie to try and win for playoff positioning but yeah...

    Wouldn't a shooter tutor be better than a goalie who lets in empty net goals?

    dateteamopponentgoalfirst assistsecond assistgoalieperiodtime
    10/14/16edmonton oilerscalgary flamesleon draisaitlmilan lucicdarnell nursebrian elliott3rd18:40
    11/30/16new york islanderspittsburgh penguinsnikolai kulemincasey cizikasmatt murray3rd19:36
    1/16/17san jose sharkswinnipeg jets (2011)joe thorntonmichael hutchinson3rd19:50
    2/4/17pittsburgh penguinsst louis bluessidney crosbyjake allen3rd19:42
    11/3/17nashville predatorsanaheim ducksp.k. subbanpekka rinneaustin watsonjohn gibson3rd19:42
    11/21/17dallas starsmontreal canadienstyler seguinalexander radulovcharlie lindgren3rd19:33
    12/1/17winnipeg jets (2011)vegas golden knightskyle connormark scheifeleblake wheelermaxime lagace3rd18:52
    12/14/17columbus blue jacketsnew york islandersjosh andersonthomas greiss3rd19:59
    12/22/17florida panthersminnesota wildjonathan huberdeaualeksander barkovalex stalock3rd19:54
    2/2/18minnesota wildvegas golden knightseric staalmathew dumbajonas brodindevan dubnyk3rd18:31
    2/16/18new york islanderscarolina hurricanesjohn tavarescam ward3rd19:28
    2/24/18washington capitalsbuffalo sabreslars elleralex chiassonmatt niskanenrobin lehner3rd17:48
    3/8/18san jose sharksst louis bluestomas hertlbrent burnsjake allen3rd19:45
    This is either scorer transcription error or perhaps they are now starting to call it a goal against the goalie and an empty net goal when the goalie is out of the net but hasn't made it to the bench but it must suck to be a goalie that lets in empty net goals.


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