Having the ability to make an indirect pass off the wall is one of the most undervalued skills in hockey. Most people think that indirect passes are unskilled plays…but I think it’s the exact opposite. The degree of difficulty in making this kind of play into an area or on a player’s tape is much higher than making a direct, tape-to-tape pass.
Indirects can be useful in a couple of different situations, and both are evident in the plays on this video. Many times, the defensive structure is aimed at taking away the middle of the ice, so indirects can be used to keep possession without having to risk a bad turnover.
But indirects can also be used when you don’t have passing options and you are going tape-to-space. The Rangers do an EXCELLENT job of that on their goal on this video. They put the puck into an area where their teammate can be first to it and then make a play.
Another key component of indirect passes (that isn’t necessarily used in this video example) is taking a step or two into the middle first before passing the puck. This not only gives the passer a better angle to use against the wall, but it also pulls the defender into the middle to give you more space.
Indirect passes when used properly are highly skilled plays. As a coach, it’s important to incorporate them into some of your passing drills as you will certainly use them in games.