Data Exploration: Goals and Shots

Enough with the poetry already! Time to dig in some numbers!

Inspired and enabled by mc79hockey and his data-grabbing wizardry, I decided to get a bit nerdy and start playing with NHL.com official stats. Specifically, I took a look at Anaheim's regular season and their shots-on-goal. (I pulled empty-net goals, because I think the point I want to make about this is really about goalies and not about empty nets.)

First off, here are these Duck goals sliced by shot type, as tracked by NHL.com. I don’t know why the Ducks didn’t score any (or try many) wrap-around goals, but I can’t think of an incident off-hand to say that this data is wrong.
As you'll note, tip-ins are remarkably efficient. Lesson 1: shot type matters.

Next comes distance, as measured in feet. Andy Grabia at BoA has noted in a rather long post that this distance is measured from the back boards, not the goal line. Whatever, the point is that it is measured.
Shot Type Goals Shots Percentage

Slap

83

1,110

7.48%

Wrist

61

637

9.58%

Snap

38

382

9.95%

Backhand

20

258

7.75%

Tip-In

39

154

25.32%

Wrap-Around

0

34

0.00%

Total

241

2,575

9.36%

The findings feel right; closer shots are more efficient. Lesson 2: shot distance matters.

I didn’t bother separating 5-0n-3 or 4-on-4 or any other such useful nonsense, but here’s the layman’s take on man-advantages.
Distance (feet) Goals Shots Percentage

0 - 12

62

282

21.99%

13 - 24

106

745

14.23%

25 - 36

31

519

5.97%

37 - 48

24

508

4.72%

49 - 60

16

410

3.90%

61 +

2

111

1.80%

Total

241

2,575

9.36%

Lesson 3: man-advantage situation matters.

Measuring time elapsed is trickier, and certainly has kinks. This 'rebound' tracker really just tracks the time elapsed (a) from the start of the period, or (b) from the last shot taken. I also failed to do some useful stuff like think about stoppages in play, but the point really is about rebounds.
Strength Goals Shots Percentage

PP

87

601

14.48%

ES

146

1,848

7.90%

SH

8

126

6.35%

Total

241

2,575

9.36%

Wowzers! Lesson 4: time elapsed between shots matters.

And for sure, it’s separable by shooter, of which here’s a glimpse:
Time Since Last Shot Goals Shots Percentage

within 3 seconds

35

97

36.08%

within 30 seconds

73

675

10.81%

within 60 seconds

43

497

8.65%

more than 1 minute

90

1,306

6.89%

Total

241

2,575

9.36%

Lesson 5: shooter (and player position) matter.

This last one took me a little while, as I still depend on some manual-ish data manipulation, but I tracked what the score was at the time of each shot.
Shooter Goals Shots Percentage

Teemu Selanne

38

265

14.34%

Andy McDonald

34

229

14.85%

Other Forwards

138

1,430

9.65%

Scott Niedermayer

13

181

7.18%

Francois Beauchemin

8

121

6.61%

Other Defensemen

10

349

2.87%

Total

241

2,575

9.36%

Lesson 6: Margin seems not to matter. (though it might when combined with other variables)

So my point is really not about shots, but about saves and save quality. A Selanne power play tip-in is not the same as a Vishnevski short-handed wrap-around, and a good system to really measure goalies and their save percentages should include probably all six of these factors.

"But Sleek! All you’ve done is show me singular cuts of one team’s data. Isn’t there some correlation going on here, and wouldn’t it be more statistically relevant to run this for 30 teams?"

Yeah, yeah, those are future posts, when I can kind of work out the kinks in my dinosaurish data skills. But I’m getting it going, boys.

Maybe you’re looking at a future Islanders G.M.

Anaheim Margin Goals Shots Percentage

Down by 2 or more

32

293

10.92%

Down by 1

49

538

9.11%

Tie Game

89

1,004

8.86%

Up by 1

41

437

9.38%

Up by 2 or more

30

303

9.90%

Total

241

2,575

9.36%

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