The game has evolved to producing more shots – it has been covered by Mike Clifford as well. Rather than focus on the trend of shot volume increase, I wanted to take a look at the top scoring players in the East last year and see how their shot volumes changed from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018. Shots create more than goals, they can lead to rebounds and assists as well – so in a future article I’d like to try and tie a bow on the discussion of ixGF, shot, primary assist rates, shooting percentage, and rebounds. I’m planning on training a model that can use prior year information to predict the future (good luck with that) – nonetheless maybe we’ll find something interesting to hang our hats on for next year.
When creating your rankings the context of your league is important – 10 team – you will have roughly 150 skaters taken. 14 team? You’ll be drafting somewhere around 210 players. So figuring out how many shots is average in your league is important. The top 50 skaters by points last year averaged 229 shots on the season, whereas the previous three seasons were about 15 shots less at 215 shots for the top players. Using this trend as a guideline I thought it would be interesting to see who reversed course on shots per game basis. Shots are one of the easiest things to mine in fantasy hockey and I simply do not have the patience for 150 shot players.
So without further ado – here are the 10 largest positive shot volume changes in the East:
Note: I can’t wait to draft Kyle Palmieri next year
Nick Bjugstad – What a year from a shot volume perspective, Bjugstad was launching pucks all year long. His health has always been a problem for fantasy owners, but he is certainly trending in the right direction. His shooting percentage was stable for this shot volume and if anything likely to increase next year compared to his career. Sounds like a player destined to eclipse the 20-goal barrier (don’t forget to recalibrate how many goals your players should be scoring in order to be rostered). Since some of you may not be inclined to click every link in articles – do yourself a favor and get acclimated with the revamped Frozen Tools page that Dobber has out. You will not be able to compete in a tight league next year without this information.
Aleksander Barkov – Sasha certainly showed us all what he was capable of and like his fellow teammate, he also shattered his SOG per game average. I’m typically terrified of picking injury-riddled players, but sometimes it’s worth rolling the dice on players if they will at least be in your lineup as fantasy playoffs begin. Barkov should be able sustain his shot volume based on his skill level – as last year’s results become a little more distant it’s feeling like Barkov’s ADP is going to have a lot of value next year if he finds himself outside of the first round.
Alex Galchenyuk – Something has got to give with Galchenyuk, he’s certainly looking at an increase in playing time next year as the cupboard should be mostly bare in Montreal (unless he’s traded). I think the smart way of writing a little blurb on him for next season is that the volume increase for shots is an encouraging sign that he can put together a season both Hab fans and fantasy owners can appreciate. His shooting percentages last year were just too low for his skill level, if Peter Chiarelli was in Montreal he would have been traded at the deadline. For those that missed it Galchenyuk’s return is predicted by Mike Clifford as well.
Dylan Larkin – Larkin’s volume increase like Galchenyuk did not translate into extra goals. Larkin is almost certain to eclipse his goal total if he is able to sustain the shot volume increase he produced last year. On a bad Detroit team, I like his chances to repeat his point totals from last year – perhaps with his goal total creeping up to offset some of his 47 assists from last year
For those willing to read the entire article – the below table has skaters in the East with greater than 40 points who experienced a drop in shot volume. These guys are going to have red flags next to their names next year for me – why in today’s NHL did they drop so much? Stamkos? Even Crosby? Comment and send me looking for answers – some of these guys will need to be looked at.
Previously from Eastern Edge:
You can reach Cam on Twitter here: @DH_jcameronmetz
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