I liked earlier this week when Justin posted the leaders to shots-per-game. Looking the players on that list, it’s hard to disagree that the number of shots are a reflective, repeatable indicator of the best players in hockey. I think we, as a hockey-watching public, give enough credit to great things like the “10-shot” game that has only happened 16 times this season, while it seems like half the scrubs in the league have a hat-trick by now.
But shots-per-game can be influenced by a number of things, the most important of which is ice-time. A player with 15 minutes at even strength and two powerplay minutes has a much better chance of racking up a shot count than a player with 10 minutes at even strength and none on the powerplay, so we’ve separated this out to shots per 60 minutes, allowing us to ignore powerplay minutes and balancing out the even strength minutes for NHL players and find out exactly at what rate they’ve been able to shoot the puck.
With a bit of Microsoft Excel magic and the fabulous Behind The Net dot ca, I charted the players who, with a minimum of 50 games played, have the most shots on per 60 minutes of even strength play (SOG/60) so far this season:
I included players there who were tied for 30th. Many of the names that appear on Justin’s chart from earlier this week have ended up on this one as well: Evgeni Malkin, however, gets surpassed by Evander Kane and surprising entrant Tyler Kennedy, those two top the new list. Max Pacioretty, 9th in ‘per game’ stats, makes the leap up to 3rd in this one. I think Pacioretty is a fantastic player that the Canadiens would be smart to build their corps around and he can hurt you in a number of different ways, but I’ll admit I never saw him as a high-volume shooter until I looked at the numbers from Wednesday.
Notably, look at Sean Bergenheim there. I listened to a Dale Tallon radio interview this year who brought up Bergenheim’s playoff performance from last season as a reason why the Florida Panthers were interested in him, but when I analyzed player numbers from last season, he was a very good possession forward in Tampa Bay, leading the team in relative Corsi despite moderately tough minutes. Whether Florida stumbled on him accidentally or not, he’s certainly a reason why the balance of power in the Southeast Division has shifted.
New Jersey’s David Clarkson appears on this list, Daniel Sedin does not. Chad Larose, who I don’t think generated a scoring chance in Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup run appears, somehow ahead of Jeff Skinner.
One of the other fun things we can do with Behind The Net is include missed and blocked shot data to come up with a list of players that aren’t really All-Stars. Blocked shots are usually shots that were taken from the perimeter and have little chance hitting the net in the first place, and players who miss a lot, well, they’re leaving some goals on the table. Here are the most attempted shots per 60 minutes at even strength(Att/60):
Cody McLeod, Jakub Voracek and Dustin Brown get a lot of shots blocked, while Kaspars Daugaviņš leads the NHL in the all-important “best name” category.
Given the respective entrants on both lists, you could say that the players who get a lot of shots on goal are probably better than the ones who get a lot of attempts on the surface. The ones who do register a lot of attempts, however, do have the puck in the offensive zone a lot.
In a game where goal-prevention is just as important as goal-scoring, let’s not confuse “bad offence” for what it really is: “good defence”.