A Fresh Look at Top Wrist Shots

Last fall, when I first took a look at breaking down shooting performance by shot type, I made a grave error by not taking Shot Quality into account. When, for example, I listed the top Wrist Shooters in the league last season, Alex Tanguay rose to the top of the heap, largely because he took the majority of his shots from in close to the net. Today, I thought I'd revise those standings to reflect who actually scores more than expected, as well as provide a look at this year's leaders. After all, with all this shopping going on prior to the trade deadline, do GM's really want to pick up a guy who's not capitalizing on his opportunities?

The tables below show the number of wrist shots taken, the Expected Goals (given average opposing goaltending, based on the distance of those shots), the Actual Goals, and the Difference between Actual and Expected. Our leader from last season, Marian Gaborik, scored 8.5 goals more than you'd expect, for example, given the number of wrist shots he took, and the distance he took them from.

Top Wrist Shooters, 2005-06
Shooter Shots Exp. Goals Act. Goals Diff
Marian GABORIK, MIN 99 10.5 19 8.5
Alexander OVECHKIN, WSH 194 20.3 28 7.7
Ilya KOVALCHUK, ATL 90 8.1 15 6.9
Eric STAAL, CAR 82 9.8 16 6.2
Alex TANGUAY, CGY 72 9.8 16 6.2
Joe NIEUWENDYK, FLA 58 6.0 12 6.0
Ruslan FEDOTENKO, TBL 74 9.1 15 5.9
Mike FISHER, OTT 81 8.1 14 5.9
Jonathan CHEECHOO, S.J 120 16.4 22 5.6
Pavel DATSYUK, DET 47 4.7 10 5.3


And on the opposite end of things, who took lots of wrist shots but failed to score last year?

Worst Wrist Shooters, 2005-06
Shooter Shots Exp. Goals Act. Goals Diff
Michal NYLANDER, NYR 91 13.9 7 -6.9
Tyler ARNASON, CHI/OTT 65 7.6 1 -6.6
Bill GUERIN, STL 69 8.5 3 -5.5
Jaroslav BALASTIK, CBJ 69 6.1 1 -5.1
Dominic MOORE, NYR 58 6.9 2 -4.9
Evgeni ARTYUKHIN, TBL 43 4.9 0 -4.9
John MADDEN, NJD 87 8.8 4 -4.8
Mike RICHARDS, PHI 74 7.7 3 -4.7
Milan HEJDUK, COL 146 17.6 13 -4.6
Alyn MCCAULEY, SJS 54 6.5 2 -4.5



Turning our attention to this year, let's see who's lighting the lamp...


Top Wrist Shooters, Current Season
Shooter Actual Goals Exp. Goals Diff
Jordan STAAL, PIT 17 7.38 9.6
Joe SAKIC, COL 17 9.15 7.9
Chris CLARK, WSH 15 7.31 7.7
Mats SUNDIN, TOR 13 5.85 7.2
Sidney CROSBY, PIT 17 10.57 6.4
Kristian HUSELIUS, CGY 10 4.10 5.9
Glen MURRAY, BOS 11 5.16 5.8
Alexander OVECHKIN, WSH 20 14.28 5.7
Jozef STUMPEL, FLA 8 2.79 5.2
Daniel BRIERE, BUF 12 6.79 5.2



Those are some big-time names leading this list, from the rookie phenom Staal to accomplished veterans like Sakic and Sundin. The only carryovers from last year's list are Alex Ovechkin and the Staal parents (for Eric last year, and Jordan this season). One interesting name towards the bottom is that of Jozef Stumpel, currently serving out a sentence with the Florida Panthers. A recent shoulder injury notwithstanding, his ability to play center or wing could present an attractive option to teams looking for offensive depth heading into the playoffs.

Lastly, let's take a look at those shooters who perhaps would be better off passing the puck:


Worst Wrist Shooters, Current Season
Shooter Actual Goals Exp. Goals Diff
Jaromir JAGR, NYR 10 16.47 -6.5
Mike RICHARDS, PHI 0 5.46 -5.5
Eric PERRIN, TBL 1 6.18 -5.2
Vaclav PROSPAL, TBL 4 9.18 -5.2
Henrik SEDIN, VAN 3 7.77 -4.8
Dustin BROWN, LAK 3 7.61 -4.6
Milan HEJDUK, COL 9 13.52 -4.5
Chris NEIL, OTT 2 6.40 -4.4
Dominic MOORE, PIT 1 5.07 -4.1
Nikolai ZHERDEV, CBJ 1 4.78 -3.8



Interestingly, Dominic Moore and Milan Hejduk are repeat offenders in this category. With Moore, this fact is even more disturbing when you consider that he went from the Rangers to the Penguins, so at least he's got new personnel to work with.

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