Advanced Metrics: The range of finishing talent between first and fourth line forwards

In case you weren't aware, fourth line players don't possess the same scoring touch as their first line counterparts.

If you haven't looked at Tom Awad's piece on the Columbus Blue Jackets, do take a look - it's great stuff. I made an offhand comment to Tom yesterday about the difference in shooting talent between forwards and defensemen, and that there's also a big difference in shooting talent between 1st and 4th line forwards, but I didn't have the numbers. So here are those numbers at even-strength:

TOI/G Quality Shot % Shots/60
Top 1/4 19.55 7.21 7.97 49.3
2nd 1/4 16.56 7.13 7.42 44.3
3rd 1/4 13.81 7.15 6.89 41.2
Bot 1/4 9.60 7.07 5.97 40.8

So that's an imperceptible difference in everyone's favorite shot quality statistic, but a very large difference in actual shooting percentage. First-line forwards are 6% better than second-line forwards at finishing, 13% better than third-liners and 23% better than fourth-liners. Defensemen, as a group, fall about halfway between 3rd and 4th line forwards in terms of finishing talent, though they shoot from such different spots on the ice it's hard to quantify that talent.

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