Frozen Tool Forensics: I’m Not Throwing Away My Shot
How many ways can you categorize a shot? Well it turns out many, and each one tells us something a little different. It can be a great way to learn a bit more about a player's habits, which can help us when considering their future.
We are talking about shots (cue LMFAO if you please) and as per usual the Tool's page has a report for that. It is appropriately titled, Shots. Once we export for future manipulation and sort for total shots here is what we get.
|Name||Pos||Age||Team||GP||G||S%||EV SOG||PP SOG||SH SOG||SOG 0-15||SOG 16-30||SOG 31-45||SAT||SOG|
It is a little bit much all at once, so as we go, we will lose some columns to make it easier to read. Basically, we have shot counts broken down by total, distance, and situation. I have listed here the top ten for total shots on goal.
There are a couple of things surprising right off the bat. Roman Josi right up there at #7? He was averaging 3.77 shots per game over the course of 2019-20. It is his highest shot pace of the last four seasons (and has been creeping up over that time period). One other thing I wanted to point out about Josi here is his ridiculous shot attempt number (SAT). He has the fourth-highest total on this list, but his shot totals are closer to guys who have 150 fewer shot attempts (more on this in a second).
One other player of note here is Max Pacioretty. He has historically been a good shooter, so it isn't really that surprising, except for the fact in 2018-19 he shot under three shots per game versus 4.33 per game in 2019-20.
If we take a quick look at shots attempted instead of total, we see a little reordering of the above list but it generally stays the same. That makes sense, as the guys who are attempting the most shots likely will end up with the most shots on goal.
An interesting exception here is defense. Shea Theodore and Brent Burns pop up all of a sudden as attempting quite a few shots, but not having them translate to actual shots on goal. A pretty reasonable theory here is that these guys are shooting from further away, so are more likely to miss or to have their shots blocked. Using the shot distance columns above we can add a little bit to the puzzle here.
The column all the way to the right is the percent of a player's total shots that were made from the farthest-tracked distance. We can see immediately the impact of being a defenseman. Josi, Burns, and Theodore are the only players in the top 10 who have more than 51% of their shots from that distance. It makes it even more impressive that Josi still ranks in the top ten for overall shots on goal.
As you may have noticed we now have another great opportunity to talk about Alex Ovechkin. He leads the league in shot attempts, but not just shot attempts, but shot attempts from the distance. Not coincidentally, he also leads this group in having the largest amount of his total shots taken from a distance. Only Patrik Laine takes more shots from distance percent wise.
Anyone who has been reading this column, or who has watched Caps games likely isn't surprised by this.
We looked at power-play time a few weeks ago and Ovechkin was on the ice for Washington’s entire power play. And where does he play on that power play? The blue line. Additionally Ovechkin's patented spot is at the top of the circles, which again is at distance from the net (Steven Stamkos occupies a similar spot for Tampa and that is reflected in his 49% share of shots from distance).
Another note from the above chart is the column comparing shots on goal to attempted shots. It references the percentage of total shot attempts that made it to the net. Again it is pretty clear that guys like Burns and Theodore are ranking pretty low comparatively, while Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, and Patrick Kane occupy the high end.
These guys are all volume shooters though, and definitely aren't the most selective. The table below is sorted by shot efficiency, with at least 250 shot attempts on the season.
Surprisingly, not a lot of big scorers on this list. I would have also expected to see some higher shooting percentages, and while there are a few, there are definitely notable exceptions.
Boone Jenner's shooting percentage is pretty low, and while it does represent a recent low for him, he hasn't crested 10 percent in four seasons. It shouldn’t be too shocking then for me to reveal he does have the highest percentage of shots from distance of this group (at 31 percent).
The rest are more or less between 20 and 25 percent, with the exception of Anders Lee and Brock Nelson in the mid-teens. Apparently, they are very selective and don't shoot unless they are close. Given that I would definitely have expected higher shooting percentages, particularly with Lee. Over the last three seasons his shooting percentage has been up around 17 percent, so we could just be looking at an aberration in 2019-20.
There is a lot to unpack here, but hopefully this started the juices (or shots) flowing.
That is all for this week. Thanks for reading.
Stay safe out there.
Want more tool talk? Check out these recent Frozen Tool Forensics Posts.
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