Habs Goal Projections for 2011-12 Season: Mid Season Update

In November I looked at the shot rate of Habs players to project how well they would score for the rest of the season. Now with a full half season of data to look at whose keeping their initial pace, whose dropping and whose surging forward in goal scoring. Once again, this is an attempt to look at a players goal scoring pace while compensating for the vagaries of luck, non-repeatable performance factors and so on with more of an eye towards what is sustainable in the longer term.

Here I will attempt to get a good idea of what kind of goalscoring production we may expect from Montreal's players by basing our projection on the most stable component of a player's goalscoring given their current usage and competition, shots per game, while combining it with the element that best reflects his style and historical goalscoring ability, career shooting percentage. However, as the existing scoring results from this year are in the past and thus unchanging, the projections are only for the balance of the season with the player's current goal totals added afterwards.

The Forwards:

Player

Games

Goals

Shots Per Game

Career

Shooting%

Expected Goals

Projected Goals

Previous Projection


Erik Cole

41

17

3.0

0.127

15.62

32.62

27.55

Max Pacioretty

38

12

3.5

0.085

12.20

24.20

29.32

Michael Cammalleri

36

9

3.1

0.117

14.87

23.87

29.70

Tomas Plekanec

41

8

2.8

0.111

12.74

20.74

26.01

Andrei Kostitsyn

31

10

1.7

0.128

8.92

18.92

23.98

Brian Gionta

30

8

2.4

0.111

10.92

18.92

19.38

Lars Eller

38

8

1.7

0.113

7.88

15.88

9.15

Travis Moen

39

9

1.1

0.080

3.61

12.61

11.52

David Desharnais

41

6

1.1

0.136

6.13

12.13

10.48

Scott Gomez

13

0

2.1

0.073

6.29

6.29

9.28

Mathieu Darche

41

2

1.2

0.082

4.03

6.03

10.42

Petteri Nokelainen

33

2

0.6

0.086

2.12

4.12

3.29

Mike Blunden

18

1

0.7

0.045

1.29

2.29

1.16

Almost across the board the top of the lineup is falling off the pace. Pacioretty, Plekanec, Cammalleri and Kostitsyn all are projecting to more than 5 goals less than they were in the start. Kostitsyn at least has the excuse of injuries and would likely be projecting above 20 goals if he hadn't missed 10 games with injury. However Kostitsyn along with Pacioretty and Cammalleri have had a worrying decrease in their shot production. Plekanec has kept his shot rate up but continues to be off his career conversion rate, with his 5 goal decrease in projection a result of goals he has failed to score in the past 20 games.

In any event, 3 potential 30 goal men and 6 potential 20 goalers is far more impressive than 1 potential 30 goal man and 5 players with greater or lesser chances for 20.

Cole is the big success story with a visibly strong effort being reflected in his shots and his goals. His 17 goals in 41 games looks entirely sustainable. Gionta's shot rate has significantly rebounded, which allows him to maintain his earlier pace despite being out for as long as Kostitsyn. Lars Eller also is looking much stronger with an increased shot rate to go along with the goals he acquired in single outburst against Winnipeg. A 16 goal season would be a significant accomplishment for a young playmaking center that gets no powerplay time. Mathieu Darche is no longer the nice depth scoring option he was these past two years.

The Defensemen:

Player

Games

Goals

Shots Per Game

Career

Shooting%

Expected Goals

Projected Goals

Previous Projection


P.K. Subban

40

3

2.6

0.056

5.97

8.97

11.46

Yannick Weber

34

3

1.5

0.033

2.03

5.03

5.64

Tomas Kaberle

12

1

1.4

0.060

3.44

4.44

NA

Raphael Diaz

39

2

1

0.051

2.09

4.09

5.28

Josh Gorges

41

2

0.8

0.040

1.31

3.31

3.57

Chris Campoli

9

1

0.8

0.070

2.30

3.30

9.11

Hal Gill

36

1

0.6

0.032

0.79

1.79

1.9

Alexei Emelin

30

0

1

0.000

0.00

0.00

0

Subban has regained some of his mojo in terms of scoring goals but like the top forwards, his shot rate is down. Weber has an unfair advantage of playing forward at time compared to the others. Kaberle is a solid shot producer although his shooting percentage has declined heavily in recent years and his career conversion rate might be overly optomistic. Emelin and Diaz's lack of track record make a real projection difficult, certainly Emelin isn't going to be a career 0.0% shooter. I doubt Campoli is really a 7.0% shooter either, but 2 goals in 41 games isn't unrealistic.

As a team, Montreal is projecting to 20 goals less over the season, coincidently about what they've lost from Plekanec, Pacioretty, Cammalleri and Kostitsyn. This was to be expected to some degree, every team gets injured. But the weaker performances from the team's top players has to be a major reason why its much harder to see these Habs as a strong offensive team than 20 games into the year. For the top players the anaemic power play has to be seen as the major collective reason for this drop off. Returning to Montreal's traditional strength there is central to any turnaround this team could accomplish.

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