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Having fun with shot location: Winnipeg Jets centres

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Taking a look at Bryan Little, Mark Scheifele, Mathieu Perreault, and Jim Slater for their impact on shot location.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Shot quantity is a highly repeatable and persistent skill, but so is shot location. Well... it is repeatable offensively at a team level; despite natural human intuition saying otherwise, the same cannot be said as confidently for defensive repression.

We decided to look at what shot location since the 2011-12 season says about the Jets and their players. Today we turn to the Jets centres.

These numbers have some inaccuracies and are estimates, so some caution must be taken when making inferences. Two differing numbers may not actually be significantly different. It would be wise to predominately look at the rough trends. It should also be noted that these numbers are taken without any adjustments for differences in usage.

Bryan Little

Little1

Little2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 1.13 0.98 0.15 1.17 0.97 0.20 1.10 1.02 0.08
Against 1.08 1.01 0.07 1.08 1.01 0.07 0.97 1.05 -0.08
Differential 0.05 -0.03 0.08 0.09 -0.04 0.13 0.13 -0.03 0.16

Bryan Little has always been quite the underrated player. His shot volume generation is far above league average, especially in the high slot. The only area where Little does not outperform his teammates is in the defensive zone slot. Little's shot differential is positive in all three areas. The Jets overall perform better with Little on the ice than off and in all three regions.

Mark Scheifele

Perreault1

Scheif2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 0.96 0.93 0.03 1.02 1.01 0.01 1.07 1.08 -0.01
Against 0.97 0.96 0.02 1.01 1.01 0.00 1.11 1.03 0.08
Differential -0.01 -0.03 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.01 -0.04 0.05 -0.09

Mark Scheifele's career shot differentials have steadily improved as the season has progressed. The Jets shot location chart for and against look oddly similar. Scheifele's shot differential is negative within the slot and positive outside. Scheifele appears to either minimally impact the Jets shot differentials in the slot; the difference may be negligible as well.

Mathieu Perreault

Perreault1

Perreault2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 1.09 0.98 0.11 1.07 0.99 0.08 1.10 0.99 0.11
Against 0.96 1.01 -0.05 0.93 1.04 -1.01 0.98 1.04 -0.06
Differential 0.13 -0.03 0.16 0.14 -0.05 0.20 0.12 -0.05 0.17

The numbers community has long thought of Mathieu Perreault as a highly underrated shot differential player. Perreault's teams have tended to perform superior in all regions both offensively and defensively with Perreault on the ice than off. Perreault has had a larger influence on his team's shot differentials than either Scheifele or Little.

Jim Slater

Slater1

Slater2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 0.81 1.11 -0.30 0.81 1.10 -0.29 0.89 1.06 -0.17
Against 1.15 1.01 0.14 1.08 1.04 0.04 1.11 0.96 0.15
Differential -0.34 0.10 -0.44 -0.27 0.06 -0.33 -0.22 0.10 -0.32

These numbers and charts paint an ugly picture. This should not come as a surprise; of the 365 forwards to skate over 1000 minutes of 5v5 icetime between 2011-14, only fifteen individuals have been more severely outshot than Slater. One day hopefully the Jets will add some more skill to their fourth line and stop the bleeding.

Final Thoughts

The most common arguments against hockey analytics tend to fall into the "building a straw man" category. Predictive modelling is argued against as if they are displaying destinies, not probabilities. Trend analysis is argued against as if individuals and exceptions existing is ignored. Factors that have either a minor impact or unfavourable signal to noise ratio are treated as not existing.

The infamous debate over shot quality commonly falls into this type of debate. Because most (but not all) analysis relies on shot quantity, detractors of hockey statistics often criticize for viewing all shots as equal. No one believes all shots are equal, and this has been shown statistically. While shot distance and location is a highly repeatable and persistent trait offensively, shooting percentage has a very high amount of noise per signal.

For more thoughts on shot quality -with some links to other articles-, check out Eric Tulsky's article: Shot quality matters, but how much?

Bonus Section: Alexander Burmistrov

Burmi1

Burmi2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 1.06 1.04 0.02 1.03 1.02 0.01 1.06 1.01 0.05
Against 0.97 1.13 -0.16 1.00 1.05 -0.05 0.91 1.01 -0.11
Differential 0.09 -0.09 0.18 0.03 -0.03 0.06 0.16 0.00 0.16

During his tenure in Winnipeg, Alexander Burmistrov was a player the numbers constantly indicated that he was impacting the team's chance to score despite not being a great scorer himself. According to these numbers, the Jets shot rates were better with Burmistrov on the ice in all areas except the high slot in the offensive zone. Burmistrov actually improved his team's low slot shot differential more than any of the other centres, although his impact is predominately in shot repression.