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Having fun with shot location: Winnipeg Jets wingers

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Taking a look at Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane, Michael Frolik, Chris Thorburn, Matt Halischuk, and T.J. Galiardi for their impact on shot location.

John E. Sokolowski-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 wingers.

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.

Andrew Ladd

Ladd1

Ladd2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 1.17 0.96 0.21 1.18 0.96 0.22 1.13 1.00 0.13
Against 1.05 1.03 0.02 1.05 1.03 0.02 0.98 1.04 -0.06
Differential 0.12 -0.07 0.19 0.13 -0.07 0.20 0.15 -0.04 0.19

When True North extended Andrew Ladd soon after buying the Atlanta Thrashers franchise, there were those who said Andrew Ladd was merely a third line forward on a contending team. While not without faults, Ladd has posted above first line average scoring per minute rates while taking and beating tough minutes. The captain's shot differentials in each region is in the positives and better than the Jets with him off the ice.

Blake Wheeler

Wheel1

Wheel2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 1.18 0.97 0.21 1.14 0.98 0.17 1.09 1.02 0.07
Against 1.03 1.04 -0.01 1.12 1.00 0.12 1.01 1.03 -0.02
Differential 0.15 -0.07 0.22 0.02 -0.03 0.05 0.08 -0.01 0.09

While their talents lie in different areas, Blake Wheeler has performed similarly to Ladd. While not as strong of a shot repressor as Ladd, Wheeler is just as efficient -if not more- than Ladd in shot generation. Overall Wheeler has a slightly better shot differential in the slot than Ladd, but lower in the high slot and outside.

Evander Kane

Kane1

Kane2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 1.10 1.01 0.09 1.06 0.99 0.07 1.09 1.02 0.07
Against 1.04 1.06 -0.02 1.09 1.02 0.07 1.00 1.06 -0.06
Differential 0.06 -0.05 0.11 -0.03 -0.03 0.00 0.09 -0.04 0.13

Evander Kane's shot differentials have been on the rise this season. He's had a positive shot differential and the Jets have performed better with him on the ice than off in both the slot and the outside. His performance in the high slot is around the Jets average. Kane -like Wheeler- has struggled a bit in shot repression, which is why Kane has performed so well with strong shot repression players like Mathieu Perreault, Alexander Burmistrov, and Michael Frolik.

Michael Frolik

Fro1

Fro2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 0.92 1.02 -0.10 1.04 1.00 0.04 1.16 1.02 0.14
Against 0.93 0.96 -0.03 0.93 0.94 -0.01 0.99 0.97 0.02
Differential -0.01 0.06 -0.07 0.11 0.06 0.05 0.17 0.06 0.12

Frolik's numbers are not apples-to-apples comparable to the Jets, as two of his seasons come from the elite shot metric Chicago Blackhawks. It is interesting to see that Frolik's shot generation numbers are concentrated on the outside, like how many view Kane would be. Is this systematic of playing on a fourth line for the Blackhawks? Is it maybe that Frolik has a negative impact on shot quality?

Matt Halischuk

Hali1

Hali2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 0.92 0.93 -0.02 0.76 0.98 -0.22 0.82 0.98 -0.16
Against 0.95 0.93 0.02 1.01 0.98 0.03 1.10 1.05 0.05
Differential -0.03 0.00 -0.03 -0.25 0.00 -0.25 -0.28 -0.07 -0.21

Matt Halischuk over the past three seasons has been outshot more than any of the Jets' regular forwards not named Jim Slater or Chris Thorburn. Relatively speaking, Halischuk has performed much better in the slot than in the other two regions. It is possible that simple shot differentials overvalue Halischuk's negative impact. Still, it should be noted that his impact is still negative nonetheless, but that is normal for a fourth line player.

Chris Thorburn

Thor1

Thor2


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 0.82 1.06 -0.24 0.80 1.06 -0.26 0.87 1.07 -0.20
Against 1.02 1.05 -0.03 1.03 1.06 -0.03 1.09 1.01 0.08
Differential -0.20 0.01 -0.21 -0.23 0.00 -0.23 -0.22 0.06 -0.28

Thorburn is the 43rd most outshot player with at least 750 minutes in the NHL over the last three seasons. His shot repression is far from terrible, rather the issue lies in shot generation. Overall you end up with a player that has a very negative impact in all three regions.

T.J. Galiardi

gali2

gali1


Low Slot

High Slot

Outside


With Without Relative With Without Relative With Without Relative
For 1.01 1.02 -0.01 0.93 1.00 -0.07 1.03 1.05 -0.02
Against 0.99 1.00 -0.01 1.01 1.04 -0.03 1.02 1.02 0.00
Differential 0.02 0.02 0.00 -0.08 -0.04 -0.04 0.01 0.03 -0.02

Fourth line players rarely ever give the team a positive impact; they are on the fourth line for a reason. The trick is to find players who bleed the least, and possibly provide value else where like special teams. While Galiardi's numbers have not been super, he provides some shot repression value and performs well on the penalty kill. As of late, Galiardi has been the one chosen to sit in the press box in favour of Chris Thorburn and Anthony Peluso.

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?