Top Goal Scorers: Are they Hot or Not?

Today's tidbit comes courtesy of a fleeting inspiration while compiling some other Shot Quality data. I thought I'd take a snapshot of the Top 50 Goal Scorers at the current time, and list what their Expected Goals figure shows, based on the quantity and quality of the shots they're taking. I've provided that list below, along with a "Hot or Not" factor which is merely Actual Goals/Expected, so starting with Martin St. Louis, he's scored 20% more goals than you'd expect from basic Shot Quality analysis*. The intention is simply to point out which players are the hottest right now (shaded pink), and which are actually underscoring (shaded blue) their predicted value. Now granted, since I'm looking at the Top 50 scorers, someone who is excessively "cold" wouldn't even show up on this list. Some of the players who fell into that category include Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom (13 goals vs. 18.61 expected) and Anaheim's Andy McDonald (12 goals vs. 17.67 expected).

Player Actual Goals Exp. Goals Hot Or Not
Martin St. Louis, TAM 30 25.05 1.20
Teemu Selanne, ANA 30 23.07 1.30
Marian Hossa, ATL 28 27.64 1.01
Dany Heatley, OTT 28 23.96 1.17
Vincent Lecavalier, TAM 28 19.02 1.47
Alexander Ovechkin, WSH 27 29.49 0.92
Alexander Semin, WSH 27 13.33 2.03
Sidney Crosby, PIT 24 15.25 1.57
Jason Blake, NYI 23 19.45 1.18
Evgeni Malkin, PIT 23 17.30 1.33
Brian Rolston, MIN 23 16.63 1.38
Chris Drury, BUF 23 15.83 1.45
Martin Straka, NYR 23 15.44 1.49
Ryan Smyth, EDM 23 13.85 1.66
Olli Jokinen, FLA 22 23.49 0.94
Brendan Shanahan, NYR 22 22.06 1.00
Thomas Vanek, BUF 22 19.83 1.11
Simon Gagne, PHI 22 18.91 1.16
Glen Murray, BOS 22 17.68 1.24
Patrick Marleau, SJS 22 17.62 1.25
Justin Williams, CAR 22 17.61 1.25
Alexander Frolov, LAK 22 16.59 1.33
Ilya Kovalchuk, ATL 21 21.37 0.98
Eric Staal, CAR 21 19.88 1.06
Brian Gionta, NJD 21 19.32 1.09
Jarome Iginla, CGY 21 15.43 1.36
Maxim Afinogenov, BUF 21 12.88 1.63
Bill Guerin, STL 20 16.39 1.22
Jason Pominville, BUF 20 14.20 1.41
Erik Cole, CAR 20 13.67 1.46
Henrik Zetterberg, DET 19 19.85 0.96
Damon Langkow, CGY 19 18.38 1.03
Joe Sakic, COL 19 15.15 1.25
Darcy Tucker, TOR 19 13.02 1.46
Jason Spezza, OTT 19 10.76 1.77
Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 19 10.69 1.78
Jaromir Jagr, NYR 18 24.29 0.74
Mike Cammalleri, LAK 18 20.10 0.90
Mats Sundin, TOR 18 16.79 1.07
Daniel Briere, BUF 18 16.45 1.09
Ray Whitney, CAR 18 16.23 1.11
Chris Kunitz, ANA 18 15.37 1.17
Chris Clark, WSH 18 12.62 1.43
Daniel Sedin, VAN 17 18.58 0.91
Zach Parise, NJD 17 17.71 0.96
Brad Richards, TAM 17 16.36 1.04
Marc Savard, BOS 17 13.59 1.25
Dan Cleary, DET 17 12.08 1.41
Kristian Huselius, CGY 17 9.67 1.76
Petr Sykora, EDM 17 9.40 1.81

Note: Empty-net Goals not included.

Check out the Alexander twins in Washington, Ovechkin and Semin. Ovie's performing right around where you'd expect based on Shot Quality, but Semin's racking up twice as many goals as anticipated. If you conjecture that as the rest of the season plays out, scorers will tend to produce numbers relatively close to their Expected Goals value, then you'd look for 2nd-half swings from the extremes highlighted above. Will Jaromir Jagr get on a hot streak and start capitalizing on more of his opportunities? He stands 4th overall in Expected Goals, but lies well back in the pack in terms of actual results. Whether Jagr heats up or Semin cools off, expect to see a wide-open horse race for the Rocket Richard Trophy as we head down the backstretch of this NHL season.

*By "basic", I mean that I haven't made any adjustment for considering the strength of opposition for the players in question. Some of these guys might face better goaltending within their divisional games, for example.

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