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