Anze Kopitar hasn’t been a consistent shot producer over the course of his career. In our 2013 season review, we noted that he really struggled with asserting himself as a goal scoring threat. He had the 2nd lowest shot rate at 5v5 in his career and among the lowest in the entire NHL among forwards who saw significant power play time.
After last night’s game winning overtime goal, Kopitar responded to a question related to people urging him to shoot the puck:
Yeah, I’ve been hearing that a lot, so it’s nothing new. First of all, maybe it seems a little bit easier from up top to see what it is. Just a touch. Once I’m on the ice, I’m making the play that I think at that particular moment is the best play for us. If that’s a pass, it’s a pass. If it’s a shot, it’s a shot. I can hear it a little bit, yeah, with 18,000 screaming to shoot it. But it comes down to my brain, my hands, my stick in where the puck’s going to go. [Reporter: By the way, did you pull a nice time to shoot it, you think?] I think it was a fairly good time, yeah.
It’s a reasonable position. There is no point in shooting the puck just to get one’s shot totals up, but last year’s numbers indicate that he may have been looking for a pass a little too often. How is he doing this year as compared to previous seasons?
Kopitar's 5v5 Shot Rate
Kopitar is on pace to post his highest 5-on-5 shot rate over the past 7 years. In fact, his shot rate is up 2 whole shots per 60 minutes over last year.
So far, that production hasn’t been paying dividends as he has yet to pot a goal at 5v5 (both of his goals this season have come on the power play). But the key point is that Kopitar's lack of goals this season hasn’t stemmed from him not shooting, he’s just been snake-bitten.
In recent years, his shooting percentage has been about 10.8% at 5v5. If he continues to take 8.5 shots per 60 and plays 15 minutes a game at 5v5, that would lead to him scoring about 19 goals. 19 goals would be his career high at 5v5. If he runs cold over the entire year and shoots only 9% that would be 16 goals. If he gets hot and shoots 12%, that'd be 21 goals. Given these projections to go along with copious power play time, a 30 goal season isn't out of the equation.
So the bottom line is that if he can keep his shot production up, look for him to fill the net as his shooting percentage trends back to where it should be.
(note: added in the 2nd to last paragraph at 10/31, 11:00P -RP)
More from Jewels From The Crown:
- Roster Move Could be Imminent for the Kings
- Kings-Sharks Recap: Power Play Comes Through, Kopitar Beats San Jose in OT
- Weekly Discussion: How Would You Fix the Bottom Six?
- Should we be concerned about Dustin Brown's production?
- Los Angeles Kings October Prospect Update