Analyzing the 2009-2010 Dallas Stars' Shots on Goal

What follows is an extremely frivolous, inconsequential look at the 2009-2010 Dallas Stars shots on goal. We are not attempting to make some profound hockey point, rather, we're attempting to kill a slow off-season crawl to September 17th. Please don't email me (because one time you took a stats class in college) to tell me how stupid this is. I am telling you that it is right now.

This spring, during the Dallas Mavericks stretch run/playoffs, SB Nation's own Bob Sturm (he of Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket) started investigating the average distance per shot ("ADS") of that Maverick team. While this concept translates better to basketball, and a jump-shoot-happy Maverick team in particular, I couldn't help but wonder what a similar study would reveal about the local hockey team. Having an entire season's worth of data at my disposal, I wrote a program that dumped 82 play-by-plays into a database to see what would come out the other side.

The results?

A pretty unimpressive difference in shots for versus shots against, actually. The average Dallas Star SOG was 36.16 feet from the net, while the average shot against was 35.15. A foot difference doesn't sound like significant statistical data to me, but over 82 games there could be something to be said for it? Maybe? We love to complain that half of the Stars shots come from lazy blue line wristers anyway, right? This might be a more fruitful game by game exercise, comparing it to the win loss record as we go...Maybe next year.

These numbers, and all numbers that follow, include 2,579 Dallas shots on goal, which differs from what you'll find at NHL.com because my numbers (the missed shots, in particular)  include shootout attempts.

Not content to consider this information useless all on it's own, I went in search of other useless information, and took blocked shots and "missed" shots into account. For instance, how many "intended" shots actually reach the net?

Player "Missed Shots" "Shots that got blocked" "Shots on Goal" Total Attempted SOG
Richards 144 145 284 573
Robidas 78 116 199 393
Eriksson 84 55 214 353
Neal 81 71 200 352
Benn 67 67 182 316
Morrow 62 52 155 269
Niskanen 58 93 110 261
Ribeiro 55 41 155 251
Ott 49 43 146 238
Daley 47 55 107 209
Modano 40 41 115 196
Petersen 33 20 110 163
Wandell 32 45 85 162
Lehtinen 34 34 87 155
Skrastins 30 55 53 138
Grossman 23 27 58 108
Fistric 22 29 46 97
Woywitka 18 27 44 89
Sutherby 5 18 49 72
Brunnstrom 13 14 38 65
Segal 12 10 31 53
Barch 13 10 29 52

 

Now is that some useless off-season information or what?!?!

Believe it or not, I have more...

There's an interesting caveat to all of this, however, and that is the accuracy of the play by play. The NHL is likely not pouring over game film trying to pinpoint the exact distance of every shot, so the numbers are a rough guess at best. The results give us the lowest average on the team at 24.8 feet per shot (Loui Eriksson), which is farther than you'd think. I remain quite dubious of the distance component of the data.

The LONGEST shot of the season was a 178 ft slapshot belonging to James Neal. Marty Turco was credited with one shot on goal, a 169 foot wrister that helped ruin the team average.

My next question was "how successful are players at getting pucks on net when they decide they're going to take a shot?" Well, combining blocked "shots", missed "shots" and actual shots "shots" is a curious exercise because the NHL is essentially attempting to (and claiming they can) divine the intent of the players. Blocked shots could have been intended passes and things that end up looking like passes could have been attempted shots on goal, etc...we'll never know. Here's what the flawed numbers say about it anyway...

Player % Successful (SOG/Attempted SOG)
Sutherby 68.06%
Petersen 67.48%
Ribeiro 61.75%
Ott 61.34%
Eriksson 60.62%
Modano 58.67%
Segal 58.49%
Brunnstrom 58.46%
Morrow 57.62%
Benn 57.59%
Neal 56.82%
Lehtinen 56.13%
Barch 55.77%
Grossman 53.70%
Wandell 52.47%
Daley 41.20%
Robidas 50.64%
Richards 49.56%
Woywitka 49.44%
Fistric 47.42%
Niskanen 42.15%
Skrastins 38.41%

 

As badly as we'd all like Niskanen being at the bottom of this list to be significant, a quick look at where Brad Richards and Stephane Robidas are renders the point pretty moot. One thing is for sure: When Karlis Skrastins decides he's going to put his head down and send one on net...It's probably not going to make it there.

On that note, and given their low offensive contribution on the blue line, I wondered how the Stars compare in SOG by defensemen. Here is the entire Western Conference...

Team SOG by Defensemen
Detroit 747
Nashville 729
Vancouver 728
Chicago 720
Phoenix 715
San Jose 687
Anaheim 677
Dallas 627
Columbus 625
Calgary 621
St. Louis 470
Minnesota 567
Edmonton 551
Colorado 539
Los Angeles 526

 

The top six there were in the playoffs, and the Avs and Kings destroyed that point completely. The Stars had the lowest offensive output (in points) in the Western Conference by blue liners, but are middle of the pack in SOG. Our guys are trying, but the quality isn't there. (News Flash, I know...). About a third of those SOG by defensemen were Stephane Robidas alone.

One last things before I go...Goalposts...

Player # Posts Hit
Richards 10
Neal 8
Daley 4
Robidas 4
Ott 4
Ribeiro 4
Modano 3
Benn 3
Morrow 3
Grossman 3
Eriksson 2
Lehtinen 2
Fistric 1
Wandell 1
Niskanen 1
Skrastins 1

 

(These include shootout attempts, thus Neal's 8. Richards had by far the most real posts hit during the course of actually playing hockey.)

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