Part IV of a series
It’s not hard to conjure up an image of the NHL’s best snipers in your head. You’ll think of Alex Ovechkin in his office on the power play, or Steven Stamkos and Auston Matthews scoring from all over the ice with an ease and confidence almost never seen in the sport.
But what makes the best shooters in the NHL?
Generally, shooting and scoring go hand in hand, but not all the best shooters are the best scorers in the game. Scoring at the NHL level is both an art and a science. It involves volume, velocity, precision, and yes, a little luck on the other end. As we have learned in the age of analytics, not all plans are created equally, even though they all count equally on the dashboard.
Add to that the idea that we have separate types of player rating categories available for scorers in our Daily Faceoff Archetype Leaderboards and the exercise becomes a bit more challenging. Ovechkin and Matthews, along with Leon Draisaitl and the other prodigious scorers, are in the Franchise category and therefore are not eligible to be listed as « Shooters ».
Not all of the NHL’s top scorers are pure Shooters. Some gobble up rebounds like Forward net scorersothers create off-the-cycle and off-the-wall opportunities as effective and rare power forwards.
So what constitutes a shooter? This player’s first instinct with the puck is to, well, shoot it. Utilizing his sniping, whether by volume or by virtue of a high shooting percentage, this player has an uncanny ability to find daylight behind a goalie or has a knack for getting shots. shots in traffic.
With that guiding light and the help of five anonymous NHL front office executives, here is Daily face-to-face Top 20 Shooters projected for the 2022-23 season, with their league-wide ranking from last season in these categories:
|R k||Player||Pos||Age||Crew||Goals||Shoot%||SAT/G||Rush shots||Slot shots||1xer||xG|
|4||Alex De Brincat||RW||24||OTT||41||15.5||35||22||27||13||4|
Goals: Goals scored in 2021-22
Shoot%: Individual shot percentage
SAT/G: NHL Ranking in Shot Attempts per Game in 2021-22
Rush Shots: NHL ranking in number of shot attempts produced out of the run per game in 2021-22
Slot shots: NHL Ranking in Shot Attempts from the Slot in 2021-22
1xer: NHL rank for one-timers in 2021-22 (shots attempted immediately after a pass without shooter first establishing puck control)
xG: NHL rankings by number of goals a skater was expected to score in 2021-22 given the quantity and quality of their chances.
In the study (in alphabetical order): Viktor Arvidsson, Sam Bennett, Filip Forsberg, Jordan Kyrou, Brad Marchand, Jonathan Marchessault, William Nylander, Mikko Rantanen, Jeff Skinner, Tyler Toffoli.
As you can see, the player with the best clean shot – perhaps Patrik Laine – didn’t find his way to the top of the list. Pastrnak led the entire league last season in shot attempts per game and was in the Top 10 in three other categories, which is incredibly impressive considering 11 of the game’s top forwards are already in the separate franchise bucket.
Among the most frequently asked questions with hockey operations leaders: Are Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg both shooting? Is Jack Eichel a shooter or a power forward given his ability to get into the zone hard with the puck? Is Viktor Arvidsson, one of the league’s top volume shooters, worthy of making the cut? You will find these answers above in the ranking.
There was no shortage of difficult calls. Given Boeser’s emergence as a net-front power-play specialist last season, he deserved significant consideration for the Net-Front Scorer rankings. Use of data from Stathletes to help separate shooters from net scorers, shooters generally had a large drop in shots from the slot compared to shots from the inside slot, the most exclusive area on the ice closest to the net. They usually fare much worse in deflections than one-timers, where the shooter is always looking to show off their wares and get butts out of the seats.
Faceoff Archetype Daily Ranking Series
Part I: Explainer / Franchise Actors
Part II: Clutch
Part III: Distributor
Part IV: Shooter
Next step: forward power
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