There are a couple of scraping programs on the internet these days that allow you to easily grab shot coordinate data from the RTSS -- something I find immensely interesting. Knowing what we know about the importance of shot distances and their relationship to goal-scoring
, I think there's value in looking at year-to-year stuff, especially with guys on the poles.
When I say guys on the poles, I'm talking about the guys who have generally established themselves as players who either (a) have exhibited an impressive ability to generate a large portion of their shot-share inside of the home plate area; or (b) have exhibited an impressive ability to deter a large portion of the shot-share against from the home plate area.
I've been playing a bit with an R package that allows for easy display of shot coordinates for/against. To kind of illustrate the above examples, let's quickly look at two players who would seem to fit the (a) and (b) criteria -- Mathieu Perreault and Zdeno Chara.
This is just last year. Perreault is a plus-possession player who generates an awful lot from, well, basically the opposition's crease. It's translated to a four-year shooting percentage of 18.9%. While I always champion regress for future projections, it seems likely that Perreault has established himself as one of the league's better shooters -- primarily due to shot location.
Let's look at Zdeno Chara against, and let's expand the sample to the last five years.
He's been pretty amazing, huh?
Let's bring last year's Ottawa team into this discussion. We know they generated a ton of shots. We know they conceded a ton of shots. Though they remained a 52% possession team for most of the year, they saw a larger portion of their shot-share come from less dangerous areas (the Karlsson effect), and saw a larger portion of their shot-share against come from more dangerous areas. This is why their Shot% dragged behind their Corsi%, and why their ScoringChance% was probably closer to 50% than the 52% Corsi% they posted.
The team was more or less a defensive trainwreck from player to player, but I thought it'd be interesting to pull out numbers for the departed Jason Spezza and current forward Erik Condra -- who basically has only defensive value. If the shot location suspicions are accurate, Spezza should've conceded far more shots in dangerous areas; Condra less so. Does it hold?
Here's the team With Spezza / Without Spezza:
Here's the team With Condra / Without Condra:
Stark, stark difference. Now Spezza is maybe one hundred times the player Condra is in the offensive zone -- I may be underselling that, actually. But, if you needed one graph to (a) explain why Ottawa's top-line struggled so mightily last year; and (b) explain why Erik Condra has more value than a decent portion of the team's bottom-six, there you go.