The Journey: Arthur Kaliyev and the Shot-Happy Freshmen

Benjamin Gehrels

2022-04-02

Welcome back to The Journey, where we follow hockey prospects and their paths to the NHL, providing fantasy predictions and analysis along the way.

Something that has jumped out about rookie performances this year is that Arthur Kaliyev (LAK) has taken a whopping 11.6 shots/60 so far. That places him first among rookies and 14th overall league-wide in that category, nestled between known triggermen like Brady Tkachuk, Kyle Connor, and Kirill Kaprizov. If Kaliyev maintained that shot rate with an additional five minutes of ice per night, he'd be sitting well above three shots per game—up from the 2.5 he's at now. On top of that, if his shooting percentage increased from the 7.6% it's at currently into, say, the 15% range that is pretty common for snipers like him as he gets more comfortable in the league, he would have 26 goals right now. His low PDO (984) indicates he's been a bit unlucky so far, suggesting his shot percentage is likely to increase over time.

This is a player with a demonstrated penchant for goal-scoring in junior, and he seems to be putting it all together already at the top level. Get your Kaliyev stocks now if you can.

Inspired by Kaliyev, let's take a look at shot data from other promising rookies in the NHL this year and see what insights we can glean from that. We'll use the Frozen Tools Report Generator for all of this digging, by the way; it's the most advanced publicly available database for hockey stats and has a ton of filters and useful categories. If you haven't yet, go play around with it now. Make sure you hit the "more stats" button at the top to see the impressive range of filters.

Shots/Game

The rookie leader in shots per game used to be Kaliyev (2.5) but is now Cole Caufield (MON) with 2.7—a remarkable feat given that he didn't explode offensively until Martin St. Louis took over as the Canadiens coach in early February. Caufield went from 2.4 shots/game under Dominic Ducharme to exactly three shots/game so far under St. Louis. Other rookies averaging over two shots/game include Trevor Zegras (ANA, 2.4), Lucas Raymond (DET, 2.3), Matt Boldy (MIN, 2.3), Moritz Seider (DET, 2.2), and the ageless wonder, Michael Bunting (TOR, 2.1). Shot volume alone can only tell you so much (more on that later) but it can still be a useful metric for ballparking which players stand the highest chance of ending up with strong goal totals.

Shots/60

Using per 60 stats can give you an advantage over the average fantasy player who simply sorts by season-long totals or even averages. Players, especially young players, often