NHL API: Get Year-By-Year Stats



The NHL has a publicly accessible Application Programming Interface (or API) that allows users to obtain a lot of useful data (including detailed play-by-play data). There are a couple of obstacles though: 1) the NHL API does not come with a user manual; and 2) the NHL API is most easily accessed using a programming language such as R or Python. To help you overcome those obstacles I’m writing articles that provide the code (in the R programming language) for functions that pull data from the NHL API.

In this article I provide a function that pulls a skater’s yearly stats for the NHL. The function also pulls stats for other leagues (such as the AHL) to the extent those stats are available.

The Data

Before I provide the code, here’s a sample of the data. Note: I included the stats for only one season in this sample. The function pulls these same stats for every year that they’re available.

player_id: 8478402

player: Connor McDavid

season: 20222023

league_id: 133

league: National Hockey League

team_id: 22

team: Edmonton Oilers

gp: 82

toi_as: 110137

toi_es: 84569

toi_pp: 19313

toi_sh: 6255

goals: 64

assists: 89

points: 153

shots: 352

hits: 89

blocks: 40

pim: 36

goals_es: 39

goals_pp: 21

goals_sh: 4

goals_ot: 2

assists_es: 36

assists_pp: 50

assists_sh: 3

points_pp: 71

points_sh: 7

shooting_pct: 18.2

face_off_pct: 51.93

plus_minus: 22

The Code

Here’s the code for the function that pulls the above data.

# This function pulls a player's yearly stats (including pre-NHL stats)
# Results for more than one team per season are returned on separate rows
# Time-on-ice data is returned as seconds
# Use my get_team_rosters() function to find player_ids
# Wrap this function in a loop to pull data for multiple players at the same time (see EXAMPLE on GitHub)

get_year_by_year_stats <- function(player_id) {
        # Get the player's full name
        player_site <- read_json(paste0("https://statsapi.web.nhl.com/api/v1/people/", player_id))
        player_name <- player_site$people %>%
                tibble() %>%
        player_name <- player_name$fullName
        # Pull and organize the raw data
        yby_site <- read_json(paste0("https://statsapi.web.nhl.com/api/v1/people/", player_id, "/stats/?stats=yearByYear"))
        stats <- yby_site$stats %>%
                tibble() %>%
        stats <- stats$splits %>%
                tibble() %>%
                unnest(1) %>%
                unnest_wider(1) %>%
                unnest_wider(stat) %>%
                unnest_wider(team, names_sep = "_") %>%
                unnest_wider(league, names_sep = "_")
        # Add player data
        stats <- mutate(stats, player_id = player_id,
                        player = player_name)
        # Add special teams assists data
        stats <- mutate(stats, assists_pp = powerPlayPoints - powerPlayGoals,
                        assists_sh = shortHandedPoints - shortHandedGoals)
        # Add even strength scoring data
        stats <- mutate(stats, goals_es = goals - (powerPlayGoals + shortHandedGoals), 
                        assists_es = assists - (assists_pp + assists_sh))
        # Select the data to be returned by the function
        stats <- select(stats, player_id,
                        league = league_name,
                        team = team_name,
                        gp = games, 
                        toi_as = timeOnIce, 
                        toi_es = evenTimeOnIce, 
                        toi_pp = powerPlayTimeOnIce, 
                        toi_sh = shortHandedTimeOnIce, 
                        blocks = blocked, 
                        goals_pp = powerPlayGoals, 
                        goals_sh = shortHandedGoals, 
                        goals_ot = overTimeGoals, 
                        points_pp = powerPlayPoints,
                        points_sh = shortHandedPoints,
                        shooting_pct = shotPct,
                        face_off_pct = faceOffPct,
                        plus_minus = plusMinus)
        # Final clean up for time
        stats$toi_as <- ms(stats$toi_as, quiet = TRUE)
        stats$toi_as <- period_to_seconds(stats$toi_as)
        stats$toi_es <- ms(stats$toi_es, quiet = TRUE)
        stats$toi_es <- period_to_seconds(stats$toi_es)
        stats$toi_pp <- ms(stats$toi_pp, quiet = TRUE)
        stats$toi_pp <- period_to_seconds(stats$toi_pp)
        stats$toi_sh <- ms(stats$toi_sh, quiet = TRUE)
        stats$toi_sh <- period_to_seconds(stats$toi_sh)
        stats <- arrange(stats, desc(season))

Get It On GitHub

I’ve created a public repository on GitHub where I’ll be sharing my functions for accessing the NHL’s API. You can go to the repository by clicking here.

The End Of The Article

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Mark (18 Skaters)