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Are LA's Defensemen Shooting Effectively?

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Examining the LA blueline's proficiency at getting shots on goal, and past shot blockers.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The most important goal in the history of the Los Angeles Kings was scored because a defenseman was able to create a shooting lane on an innocent-looking shot. A week later, Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final was won because Willie Mitchell got a second chance to get a point shot through to the front. It doesn't always display itself on such a big stage, but a defenseman's ability to get the puck on net is of critical importance I've seen criticism of Drew Doughty because he doesn't get enough shots on net, Robyn Regehr suddenly has a whopping three goals, and fans (and at least one media member) were calling for Jamie McBain to inject some life into the offense before that whole eight-goal thing happened.

Which got us thinking... are some of the Kings defensemen more effective than others at getting shots on goal, or at least, avoiding getting their shots blocked? Here are the numbers from this season:


Even Strength Shooting: 2014-15

Player Name Goals/60 Shots/60 Fenwick/60 Corsi/60 % of Shots On Goal % Shots Unblocked Shooting %
Drew Doughty 0.22 4.93 7.25 11.13 44.3% 65.1% 4.4%
Jake Muzzin 0.28 4.84 7.38 11.48 42.2% 64.3% 5.7%
Andrej Sekera 0.1 3.7 5.48 9.67 38.3% 56.7% 2.6%
Matt Greene 0.17 3.68 6.15 9.43 39.0% 65.2% 4.7%
Alec Martinez 0.3 5.18 7.5 11.63 44.5% 64.5% 5.8%
Brayden McNabb 0.07 3.86 6.48 10.15 38.1% 63.9% 1.7%
Robyn Regehr 0.17 3.26 4.87 6.81 47.9% 71.4% 5.3%
Jamie McBain 0.44 2.4 5.66 8.28 28.9% 68.4% 18.2%

raw stats/60 from: Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com

And for the sake of not judging based on a single season, numbers since the 2012 lockout:


Even Strength Shooting: Post-Lockout

Player Name Goals/60 Shots/60 Fenwick/60 Corsi/60 % of Shots On Goal % Shots Unblocked Shooting %
Drew Doughty 0.18 4.74 7.35 11.23 42.2% 65.5% 3.8%
Jake Muzzin 0.23 5.38 7.92 12.58 42.8% 63.0% 4.3%
Andrej Sekera 0.17 3.73 5.46 8.98 41.5% 60.8% 4.6%
Matt Greene 0.15 3.72 6.34 9.33 39.8% 67.9% 4.1%
Alec Martinez 0.34 4.31 7.09 10.97 39.3% 64.6% 7.9%
Brayden McNabb 0.06 3.78 6.22 9.89 38.2% 62.9% 1.5%
Robyn Regehr 0.08 2.97 4.63 6.72 44.1% 68.8% 2.8%
Jamie McBain 0.18 3.33 4.93 7.86 42.3% 62.7% 5.5%
Slava Voynov 0.18 4.03 6.46 9.94 40.5% 65.0% 4.6%

raw stats/60 from: Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com

Some observations:

  • If you were looking to make a huge sweeping judgment on Drew Doughty after looking at these stats... you might be out of luck. His numbers are oddly ordinary; he isn't the most prolific shooter on the team, and his ability to get shots through is above-average. Not wonderful, not awful.
  • You know who DOES get shots to the net effectively? Robyn Regehr! Here are some assorted theories at why Regehr has the highest percentage of both shots that are unblocked AND shots that are on goal (this year, and since the lockout):
    • Regehr only shoots when he's wide open, explaining his low shot count
    • Teams aren't afraid of letting Regehr shoot the puck
    • Regehr doesn't shoot to score, he shoots to get the puck to the front
    • Regehr happens to be good at finding lanes
    • It's random, and we're reading too much into it
    Pick your favorite one.
  • Offensive sparkplug Jamie McBain is actually, by far, the least proficient at getting his shots on goal, though his blocked shot frequency is lower than most of his fellow blueliners. That reads like a guy who is shooting to score or is aiming for the corners, which is backed up by his 18% shooting percentage. Except...
  • ... his shooting percentage in the two seasons prior was 4%. Quite a drop from 18%. McBain's also attempted just 38 shots at even strength this season. It's hardly worth trying to read ANYTHING into those numbers, given how infrequently he plays.
  • Alec Martinez has a similar profile to McBain's, including a year of tremendous shooting luck (shooting percentage of 15% at even strength last season) buoying his stats. That profile, again, is a decent ability to get shots through, but a lower percentage of shots which actually test the goalie. There's reason to think this is a more consistent pattern, though, as he's spent this season shooting more frequently than any other d-man. INCLUDING Doughty.
  • And including Jake Muzzin, who was far and away the most trigger-happy in 2013-14. Muzzin's cut back slightly on shot attempts, but he hasn't been noticeably better or worse at getting shots on goal.
  • Andrej Sekera's at the bottom of the barrel, but he hasn't played often enough with the Kings for us to determine whether a change of scenery would improve those statistics. He and Brayden McNabb both have solid slapshots which haven't really gone in much this year.
  • Matt Greene's shooting percentage is better than I'd expect.
  • The league average for defensemen: 45.4% of shot attempts are put on net, while 65.4% of shot attempts go unblocked. LA is below-average in both departments (41.7%, 64.2%).

You've read about which defensemen fire away. Now, fire away with your thoughts in the comments.