Frozen Tools Forensics: Five-on-Five Shooting Percentage

Chris Kane


We are back with Week 2 of our dive into advanced stats and how they are related to projections. Make sure you pick up the Dobber Fantasy Guide for the most up-to-date info out there, but this series should help in understanding why some projections look the way they do and in developing your own. In week one we aligned even-strength IPP and who it might mean is in line for regression. Since we can't ever really take one of these stats in isolation, they don't alone paint a full picture, this week we are going to move on to five-on-five shooting percentage.

First up, definitions. Five-on-five shooting percentage, or 5-on-5 S% as it is listed in the reports, is another even-strength stat. Again, like with last week, even-strength numbers are an important baseline as they show the largest sample size, and are therefore likely to be the most accurate and consistent numbers. This does not mean that other play times, particularly power-play, are unhelpful – they most certainly are important, but it does mean they are often much more subject to variation.

Five-on-five shooting percentage measures the team's shooting percentage while a given player is on the ice at five-on-five. It is different than personal shooting percentage as it measures the number of goals from everyone on the ice from all of the shots taken while a player is on the ice, not just their own. Like with personal shooting percentage though, and IPP there are certain expectations we have of this number so we can use it to tell us a bit about what is happening around a current player which gives us important context to their current point production. In the case of five-on-five shooting percentage, we expect to see a number around eight percent, maybe between eight and nine. Among players who played at least 30 games, and scored at least 30 points in 2019-20 the average five-on-five shooting percentage was 8.01%. There are some player effects here too, but much less pronounced than in IPP. For example, over the last five years, Connor McDavid's five-on-five shooting percentage is 10.5 percent, Nikita Kucherov is at 10.02 and Patrick Kane has been at 9.74, but even Sidney Crosby has averaged right on target at 8.5 percent. The moral of the story here is that while we do have some baseline numbers here it is always a good idea to look at a player's personal history to see how the data compares.

So how do we compare this data? If we see a player's season (or season-to-date performance) and see a number that is a big deviation from the league average or personal history then we have an inkling that something is up. Like with IPP when we see a change we need to figure out if something on the ice has happened that makes that change seem reasonable, and if not, it may mean that player is due for some regression.

For example, Mika Zi