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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).


PlayerActual GoalsExp. GoalsHot Or Not
Martin St. Louis, TAM3025.051.20
Teemu Selanne, ANA3023.071.30
Marian Hossa, ATL2827.641.01
Dany Heatley, OTT2823.961.17
Vincent Lecavalier, TAM2819.021.47
Alexander Ovechkin, WSH2729.490.92
Alexander Semin, WSH2713.332.03
Sidney Crosby, PIT2415.251.57
Jason Blake, NYI2319.451.18
Evgeni Malkin, PIT2317.301.33
Brian Rolston, MIN2316.631.38
Chris Drury, BUF2315.831.45
Martin Straka, NYR2315.441.49
Ryan Smyth, EDM2313.851.66
Olli Jokinen, FLA2223.490.94
Brendan Shanahan, NYR2222.061.00
Thomas Vanek, BUF2219.831.11
Simon Gagne, PHI2218.911.16
Glen Murray, BOS2217.681.24
Patrick Marleau, SJS2217.621.25
Justin Williams, CAR2217.611.25
Alexander Frolov, LAK2216.591.33
Ilya Kovalchuk, ATL2121.370.98
Eric Staal, CAR2119.881.06
Brian Gionta, NJD2119.321.09
Jarome Iginla, CGY2115.431.36
Maxim Afinogenov, BUF2112.881.63
Bill Guerin, STL2016.391.22
Jason Pominville, BUF2014.201.41
Erik Cole, CAR2013.671.46
Henrik Zetterberg, DET1919.850.96
Damon Langkow, CGY1918.381.03
Joe Sakic, COL1915.151.25
Darcy Tucker, TOR1913.021.46
Jason Spezza, OTT1910.761.77
Ryan Getzlaf, ANA1910.691.78
Jaromir Jagr, NYR1824.290.74
Mike Cammalleri, LAK1820.100.90
Mats Sundin, TOR1816.791.07
Daniel Briere, BUF1816.451.09
Ray Whitney, CAR1816.231.11
Chris Kunitz, ANA1815.371.17
Chris Clark, WSH1812.621.43
Daniel Sedin, VAN1718.580.91
Zach Parise, NJD1717.710.96
Brad Richards, TAM1716.361.04
Marc Savard, BOS1713.591.25
Dan Cleary, DET1712.081.41
Kristian Huselius, CGY179.671.76
Petr Sykora, EDM179.401.81

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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