Stu Hackel Week on Arctic Ice Hockey: Improved Shooting Accuracy - "Stats the NHL Ought to Keep"

WASHINGTON DC - FEBRUARY 25: Alex Ovechkin #8 sits in the goal of the New York Rangers after missing a shot on goal at the Verizon Center on February 25 2011 in Washington DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Stu asks: "Improved shooting accuracy. We only have a stat for shots on goal. Play-by-play sheets note which players had shots blocked and who missed the net, but the totals are not compiled anywhere. Every shot blocker must have a blockee, right? And if, say, Dion Phaneuf is always firing pucks into his opponents’ shin pads, that’s a measure of his shooting accuracy as well. So how about breaking down shots by those on net, ones that miss the net, and those that never reach it?"

First of all, of course these totals are compiled somewhere - we've got missed shots for the last five seasons:

Missed Shot Leaders for 2011-12

Not surprisingly, Alex Ovechkin is #1 every single season - if you lead the league in shots and don't play right around the net, you'll tend to do such things.

I've never seen anything particularly useful come out of that list, probably because forwards possess *zero* identifiable talent for hitting or missing the net when they shoot. Defensemen miss the net more often than forwards, but that's because they shoot from further away. Again, they show zero identifiable talent for missing the net. Forwards have no repeatable talent in having their shots blocked either, though defensemen do (and I'll publish this data at a later time) - Kyle McLaren (57%) had the highest percentage of his shots blocked, while Dion Phaneuf (33%) was 141st out of 197 players who had 200+ road shots since the lockout. So one out of four mean something.

While I'm all for keeping track of absolutely everything that happens in the NHL, I don't see the burning impetus to track this data given that it generally does not represent a true and repeatable talent.

Verdict: the NHL may as well report this stat on their site, but everyone should hold off on making any conclusions based on it.

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