Blues by the Numbers: Even Strength Shot Results

Dilip Vishwanat

We are scaling things back this week and just taking a look at the results from the shots taken by the Blues over the last 28 games.

Behind the Net is a great source for "advanced" hockey stats. They do a great job compiling stats beyond just the typical +/-, shots taken, goals, assists, points, etc. So this week I wanted to continue exploring the different data they have available and took a look at their break out of how the St. Louis Blues have been shooting the puck so far this season.

They do not just track the shots and goals, but also if the shot was missed or saved. They also provide you with an average distance of the shots that have been taken. I put this all together into one visualization that you can explore this week.

But first, I wanted to take a moment to walk you through some of the ways you can interact with the visualization. The tips/tricks that I provide now will be applicable to most of the visualizations I will be publishing weekly here at St. Louis Game Time. You might want to bookmark this page for future reference.

How to Interact with a Tableau Viz

  • Hover over the data points, bars in a chart, and even the reference lines in the charts. Most of the time, additional information appears in a "tool tip" so you can see the exact numbers related to that particular bar, circle, or line. Sometimes hovering can also trigger a highlight in a companion chart in the visualization.
  • Click on the data points or the bars in a chart. Most of the time this will either trigger a highlighting action to help you find related data points in a companion chart, or it will trigger a filter action that will filter the other charts. For instance, in the visualization below, if you click on a bubble, the Shot Results table will filter to only show that player. Or if you click on a name in the Shot Results table, you'll see that player's bubble highlighted in the scatterplot.
  • Explore these visualizations. There are lots of other controls and filters available to you. Click around. Play with the filters. You aren't going to damage it. And if you end up making the visualization look crazy you can always...
  • Reset the visualization by clicking on the circle-arrow at the very very bottom (2nd from left). Also, just to the left of the reset button, you will see a button that looks like a tray. Use that button to convert the visualization into a jpeg that you can then share in an email or post in a forum.

For this visualization I thought it might be interesting to take a look at a player's average distance compared to their shot percentage (number of goals/total number of shots). I wanted to see if there was a pattern between distance to the net and their shot percentage. The short answer...no. While there might appear to be a slight pattern, if you control for the defense (who by the nature of their position will be taking shots from a longer distance) you will see that all the offensive players pretty much cluster around 30 feet. That equates to pretty much at the top of the circles (goal line to blue line is 64 feet).

Of course Chris Stewart is at the top of the chart with the most goals and the highest shot percentage on the team. I'm a little embarrassed that I was caught off guard by where David Perron fell on the chart. On average he shoots closer in to the net than most of the other offensive players and he has the second highest shot percentage on the team. As I watch the games, I have not been too impressed with his play. But obviously he is producing points for the Blues and doing it from somewhere inside the circles.

The chart at the bottom shows the break out of the results of each player's shots. Behind the Net tracks them as misses, saves, or goals. I have to think that a save can be equated with getting the puck on net. And not only has Backes shot the puck more than any other Blues' player, but two thirds of those shots are put on net -- more than any other Blues' player. You can sort that chart by all the different ways shots are tracked. If you want to just highlight a particular shot result, you can click on that result in the color legend and the related dots will be highlighted for you.

This is obviously not a very complex or detailed analysis. But it does provide a some basic data and context, and should give you a better understanding of how the Blues are shooting the puck during the game so far this season.

Thank you for reading...see you next week!

PS: Hey Dan...is this enough blue and gold for ya?

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