A few months back, I wrote an article for The Coaches Site about a term I coined: ‘Trap Goals.’
I came up with the idea after working remotely for an NHL head coach during the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs.
During pre-scouts and analyzing in-game play, I noticed successful teams effectively used the back of the net to open up the offensive zone. They make a living in the “trapezoid” area, the only area below the goal line where the goalie can play the puck, hence the name “trap goals.”
The best teams use it as a strategy to alleviate pressure, to get the defensive team running around and to create chaos or mismatches.
The best offenses, like a fire, crave oxygen. They want space.
Defensive teams seem to buy into more defensive schemes in the playoffs. They typically aim to suffocate the offense. They pack it in around the front of their net. Teams usually aren’t worried about play behind the net. Unless you’re Trevor Zegras, it’s hard to directly score from the “trap.”
But the best teams have found a way to create offense from within the trapezoid area.
As part of the study, I determined how the puck entered the ‘trap’ area, then how many seconds after the puck exited the ‘trap’ area did it enter the net. It would only count as a ‘trap goal’ if the puck was in the net within nine seconds of playing through that area.