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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
ShooterShotsExp. GoalsAct. GoalsDiff
Marian GABORIK, MIN9910.5198.5
Alexander OVECHKIN, WSH19420.3287.7
Ilya KOVALCHUK, ATL908.1156.9
Eric STAAL, CAR829.8166.2
Alex TANGUAY, CGY729.8166.2
Joe NIEUWENDYK, FLA586.0126.0
Ruslan FEDOTENKO, TBL749.1155.9
Mike FISHER, OTT818.1145.9
Jonathan CHEECHOO, S.J12016.4225.6
Pavel DATSYUK, DET474.7105.3

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

Worst Wrist Shooters, 2005-06
ShooterShotsExp. GoalsAct. GoalsDiff
Michal NYLANDER, NYR9113.97-6.9
Tyler ARNASON, CHI/OTT657.61-6.6
Bill GUERIN, STL698.53-5.5
Jaroslav BALASTIK, CBJ696.11-5.1
Dominic MOORE, NYR586.92-4.9
Evgeni ARTYUKHIN, TBL434.90-4.9
John MADDEN, NJD878.84-4.8
Mike RICHARDS, PHI747.73-4.7
Milan HEJDUK, COL14617.613-4.6
Alyn MCCAULEY, SJS546.52-4.5

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

Top Wrist Shooters, Current Season
ShooterActual GoalsExp. GoalsDiff
Jordan STAAL, PIT177.389.6
Joe SAKIC, COL179.157.9
Chris CLARK, WSH157.317.7
Mats SUNDIN, TOR135.857.2
Sidney CROSBY, PIT1710.576.4
Kristian HUSELIUS, CGY104.105.9
Glen MURRAY, BOS115.165.8
Alexander OVECHKIN, WSH2014.285.7
Jozef STUMPEL, FLA82.795.2
Daniel BRIERE, BUF126.795.2

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
ShooterActual GoalsExp. GoalsDiff
Jaromir JAGR, NYR1016.47-6.5
Mike RICHARDS, PHI05.46-5.5
Eric PERRIN, TBL16.18-5.2
Vaclav PROSPAL, TBL49.18-5.2
Henrik SEDIN, VAN37.77-4.8
Dustin BROWN, LAK37.61-4.6
Milan HEJDUK, COL913.52-4.5
Chris NEIL, OTT26.40-4.4
Dominic MOORE, PIT15.07-4.1
Nikolai ZHERDEV, CBJ14.78-3.8

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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