Who Were The Dallas Stars Top Shot Blocking Defensemen In 2014?
Hint: not Sergei Gonchar.
I've been wanting to do this for a while.
Now I have time to do it.
So here it is.
In this case, it is an attempt to identify which Dallas Stars defensemen were the most efficient shot blockers in the 2014 season. Generally when people think of shot blocking they look at volume, but the problem with looking at total numbers of blocked shots is that you have to be stuck in your own end often to rack up higher totals of blocks.
This is not ideal.
What I used were the on ice stats for Stars defensemen. This will tell us what happened when a particular player is on the ice and gives us a good idea of what the player in question was able to do. We can't really find the individual number without manually tracking games because who is to say that a shot was taken at a particular player without tracking the game in question?
Essentially what I did was take blocks for on ice per 60 minutes then divided it by shots against on ice per 60 minutes and blocks for on ice per 60 minutes added together. Multiply that by 100 and you have block percentage. Success percentage is something else I wanted to see. It includes missed shot attempts, but I'm not sure it really means much.
Aaron Rome was 13th in the NHL among defensemen with at least 10 games played. 41% of the pucks fired at the net with Rome on the ice ended up as blocked shots.
Alex Goligoski and Jordie Benn, for the complaints they drew defensively, actually blocked a pretty high percentage of shots. There were among the more successful shot blockers in the NHL as both were in the top 50.
Jamie Oleksiak, Cameron Gaunce, and Patrik Nemeth didn't play enough games to get on the list in their own right, but I added them here to show how they did. Gaunce and Nemeth hardly blocked any shots. The interesting thing with Nemeth is that the Stars were only allowing 23.2 shots per 60 minutes with him on the ice which was by far the lowest total on the team.
The important caveat here is that being a good shot blocker doesn't mean you are an elite defensive player. This is certainly a useful skill to possess, but it doesn't make up for playing actual defense. The Stars had several guys who were successful shot blockers though, and those guys could fortunately also play hockey for the most part.
We'll probably look at the forwards soon too.