DETROIT - MARCH 22:  Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings turns up ice with the puck during an NHL game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena on March 22, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.  The Red Wings defeated the Penguins 3-1.  (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

I often talk about the value of Corsi (and Fenwick and other shot-based metrics) in evaluating teams and players, because I believe that they do a good job of showing possession ion the offensive zone, and that possession of the puck in the offensive zone leads to goals, and prevents goals against.


Using Corsi the other day over in this thread, I was chided by a commenter who tossed out this criticism:


You know what Willis always says…

"Corsi wins championships"

… Oh right, no one says that, because that’s retarded


Because I’m me, I decided it might be interesting to look at the shot data for the Stanley Cup champions, going back as far as the NHL makes the records available (1997-98).  One quick caveat – this isn’t Corsi, but rather straight shot differential, which is less precise.  Here are the regular season and playoff results for out-shooting, per game, for Cup-winning teams going back to 1997-98:


Season Team Regular Season Shot Differential Playoff Shot Differential
1997-98 Detroit +5.1 +5.1
1998-99 Dallas +3.6 +4.8
1999-00 New Jersey +7.5 +8.3
2000-01 Colorado +4.1 -0.7
2001-02 Detroit +4.7 +5.3
2002-03 New Jersey +8.1 +2.4
2003-04 Tampa Bay +4.6 -0.6
2005-06 Carolina +0.6 +1.8
2006-07 Anaheim +4.1 +2.9
2007-08 Detroit +10.9 +12.9
2008-09 Pittsburgh -1.3 +3.5
Averages   +4.7 +4.2

It’s an interesting chart, I think, and one that shows at least a strong indication that outshooting is incredibly important.  10 of 11 teams out-shot in the regular season, and nine of 11 outshot in the post season., while the average team fired nearly five more shots per game than their regular season opponents, and just over four more shots per game than their playoff opponents.


Next up: comparing shot differential with other things (offence, defence, special teams, goaltending, etc.) that reputedly win championships.