During the fall season, hockey coaches throughout the world are running practices to get their team ready for opening night.
Part of this process involves trying several line combinations to see what works best to start the season. This is a dilemma every coach faces.
Do you spread out the talent in your lineup? Do you load up your top two lines and just try to limit the minutes of your bottom-six? Who best complements another player?
All of the answers to these questions can be influenced by circumstance as well. Penalties, score state, and time remaining all impact a coach’s bench management.
But how a coach operates from a strong base lineup is the key.
Let the analysis provide a solid foundation and then allow coaches to make in-game changes to maximize win probability when they see an opportunity to gain an edge.