Shots, Goals and Playoffs.
Correlations between the three.
It should come as no surprise that in the last 3 years, 86% of the teams in the top ten in ‘Goals For' have made the playoffs. It should also come as no surprise that over the last 3 years, 93% of teams that fall in the top ten in ‘Goals Against' (meaning the fewest goals against) have made the playoffs. This is pertinent on two fronts. Focusing more on the offensive aspect, finding teams that excel at this early should provide your team with a gauge of what teams will supply players with a higher potential for goals and a more favorable plus minus. On the other side you will be able to find favorable goalie situations as well as defensemen who will also provide you with a favorable plus minus. The sample size is small but looking at metrics like this early on can help when deciding on a nightly or weekly basis on who to play.
One way to gauge the foundation of goals for and against comes from some of the advanced metrics that the NHL.com stats page has upgraded in the offseason. Goals ultimately come from shots. NHL.com stat page shows the correlation between Full Team Shoot Attempts % Close and making the playoffs. The calculation of this breaks down as this:
Precursor: Shot Attempts % is 100 x (shot attempts for / Shot attempts for + shot attempts against). This is also known as Corsi for %
Shot Attempts % Close = Shots Attempts % when team is within one goal of their opponents in periods 1 and 2, or tied in period 3.
Essentially this is breaking down a team who is outshooting their opponent in a close game (which removes a goalie who is standing on his head or playing terrible and one team is up by 2-3 goals despite being outshot 30 to 10). This shows teams that have more shots for, fewer shots against, keep games close and can potentially close those gaps and pull out wins in the end. One other advantage to the way this statistic is calculated is that it is measuring shots for vs. shots against which (to some degree) nullifies a team that has played more of fewer games. Throughout the season keeping apples to apples comparisons is difficult when looking at aggregate totals since some teams will have played as many as 4-5 more games though counterparts but when you are comparing the favorable vs. unfavorable shots for each game it brings that into a level playing field. Below are favorable teams to consider early in the season given their propensity for shots for vs. shots against in close games. These teams are currently above the 50% line in Shot Attempts % Close (ranked in order from top to bottom):
San Jose Sharks
New Jersey Devils
St. Louis Blues
New York Islanders
Tampa Bay Lightning
Los Angeles Kings
Taking shots down to a per player level:
Among players with at least 20 goals last year the highest shooting percentage was 21.2% (Alex Tanguay) the lowest was 7.2% (Erik Karlsson). The average number of shots among these players was 206. I bring this up because currently among the shot leaders we are seeing this trend:
Tyler Seguin - 17 SOG; 0 Goals; 0%
Daniel Sedin - 17 SOG; 1 Goal; 5.9%
Nikolaj Ehlers - 15 SOG; 1 Goal; 6.7%
Kris Letang - 15 SOG; 1 Goal; 6.7%
Rick Nash - 15 SOG; 0 Goals; 0%
Nazem Kadri - 14 SOG; 0 Goals; 0%
Brendan Gallagher - 12 SOG; 0 Goals; 0%
Nick Foligno - 12 SOG; 0 Goals; 0%
Johnny Boychuk - 12 SOG; 0 Goals; 0%
I am expecting at least 20 goals out of every one of these players this year. Given all of their percentages falling below the bottom trend of last year, I anticipate some goals coming their way in the next few weeks. There is always a chance, however slim that somehow they go another week or two into this drought but with the shots come the goals so they are a good projected possibility to score soon.