FanPost

Expected versus Actual Goal Production: Why Montreal’s Offense is Underperforming


The biggest problem with the Montreal Canadiens’ offense this season has been an overall inability to convert on shots on net.  The Habs average 31.7 shots per game, good for a tie for 7thin the league with the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning

The team shooting rate is only 8.17%, among the worst in the league (better than only the Ottawa Senators with8.03%, Florida Panthers with 7.68% and New Jersey Devils with 7.27%). 

The good news is that team shooting tends to be transient, with little carryover from year to year while team shooting tends to be a more permanent phenomena (for more on that look at the excellent work being done at behindthenethockey.ca). Since the NHL the lockout, Montreal has scored at 9.77%, 9.86%, 10.77%, 9.83% and 8.95%, which suggests that this year is an aberration. If the Canadiens ice a similar lineup next year they should be a relatively good offensive club. 

Note that overall shooting percentage has gone down league wide this year but not nearly to the extent it has affected Montreal.

 

This poor  team shooting percentage would explain why so many Habs have undershot their typical offensive boxcar numbers. To examine this phenomenon I have used the total shots of each player and their career shooting percentage to look at what each Canadien would have produced, if this had been a typical conversion year for each player, and what kind of total offensive year the Canadiens as a whole would have had. 

A player’s shooting percentage tends to fluctuate around their career average, unless they undergo a major change in their playing style, so this could be taken as an indicator of about how much each player would have scored if they had average "puck luck."

Note that a flaw in this study is that it does not distinguish between power play and even strength shooting which tend to vary (it is easier to convert a shot into a goal on the power play).

Expected goals is the term I have elected to use for shots*career shooting percentage. Results are prorated to an 82 game season.

Player

Shot #

Career Goals to Shots Ratio

Expected goals

Games

Prorated Expected Goals

Gionta

290

0.11

31.900

80

32.698

Plekanec

222

0.115

25.530

75

27.913

Cammaleri

186

0.12

22.320

65

28.158

Subban

190

0.072

13.680

75

14.957

Kostitsyn

187

0.124

23.188

79

24.069

Gomez

152

0.074

11.248

78

11.825

Hamerlik

129

0.052

6.708

77

7.144

Pouliot

127

0.131

16.637

77

17.717

Pacioretty

112

0.082

9.184

34

22.150

Moen

99

0.071

7.029

79

7.296

Darche

87

0.09

7.830

57

11.264

Wisniewski

83

0.049

4.067

41

8.134

Eller

79

0.103

8.137

75

8.896

Lapierre

78

0.076

5.928

38

12.792

Spacek

65

0.06

3.900

57

5.611

Pyatt

65

0.035

2.275

59

3.162

Halpern

62

0.127

7.874

72

8.968

Gill

62

0.032

1.984

74

2.198

Weber

60

0.014

0.840

39

1.766

Desharnais

54

0.143

7.722

41

15.444

Picard

49

0.068

3.332

43

6.354

White

29

0.029

0.841

25

2.758

Gorges

20

0.037

0.740

36

1.686

Markov

20

0.077

1.540

7

18.040

Mara

14

0.063

0.882

18

4.018

Boyd

8

0.129

1.032

10

8.462

Sopel

4

0.046

0.184

11

1.372

Dawes

3

0.111

0.333

4

6.827

Palushaj

3

0

0.000

3

0.000

O'Byrne

0

0.021

0.000

3

0.000

 

Career goals to shots ratio is used instead of career shooting percentage is used for ease of calculation. It is the same as career shooting percentage divided by 100. Rookies and other young players do not have much of a track record to compare to, so their career average might widely differ from their true talent. Fortunately, except for P.K. Subban, their totals are not a large portion of the results, and his are not unusual for an offensive defensemen of his caliber.

Using this method we come up with a total expected goals of 226.865 compared to a real value of 207, and an expected goals per game ratio of 2.84 compared to 2.59.  Here are the total differences between expected and actual goals for the entire team.

Player

Expected goals

Actual Goals

Expected vs. Actual Differential

Gionta

31.900

26

-5.900

Plekanec

25.530

21

-4.530

Cammaleri

22.320

18

-4.320

Subban

13.680

14

0.320

Kostitsyn

23.188

20

-3.188

Gomez

11.248

7

-4.248

Hamerlik

6.708

5

-1.708

Pouliot

16.637

13

-3.637

Pacioretty

9.184

14

4.816

Moen

7.029

6

-1.029

Darche

7.830

12

4.170

Wisniewski

4.067

7

2.933

Eller

8.137

7

-1.137

Lapierre

5.928

5

-0.928

Spacek

3.900

1

-2.900

Pyatt

2.275

2

-0.275

Halpern

7.874

11

3.126

Gill

1.984

2

0.016

Weber

0.840

1

0.160

Desharnais

7.722

8

0.278

Picard

3.332

3

-0.332

White

0.841

1

0.159

Gorges

0.740

1

0.260

Markov

1.540

1

-0.540

Mara

0.882

0

-0.882

Boyd

1.032

1

-0.032

Sopel

0.184

0

-0.184

Dawes

0.333

0

-0.333

Palushaj

0.000

0

0.000

O'Byrne

0.000

0

0.000

 

The difference between the actual and expected performance can be explained by the results of the top six shot producing forwards which correspond to the expected top two lines going into the season (Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammaleri, Andrei Kostitsyn, Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Benoit Pouliot) witha total differential of -27.531 compared with the team’s -19.865.

With the new totals the Habs would have three players on pace for the vicinity of 30 goals and 5 above 20, which would be typical of a good offensive team without a dominant goal scoring forward. Gomez remains a poor goal scorer but is not quite as pathetic as this year and would likely have a higher assist total from increased linemate production, especially Gionta’s -5.9.

The biggest overproduction compared to career shooting percentage is from Max Pacioretty, Mathieu Darche and Jeff Halpern who all have an overproduction of above 4 goals this season.  However Pacioretty had a very low career shooting percentage for an offensive forward due to low production in his two previous NHL seasons. His 12.5% this year is about average for an offensive forward and it is likely that he will be able to maintain it in his future career, thus his results should not be seen as particularly lucky.

 

Stats are from NHL.com after game 80 of the 2010-2011 season.

Fanpost content is created by members of the community and is not published by the authors, editors, or manager of Eyes on the Prize.

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