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Cullen: Which NHLers miss the net most, least?

Scott Cullen
7/14/2011 4:13:27 PM
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"Hit the net!"

A common refrain that is cried out in hockey rinks all over, as a scoring chance is squandered by an errant shot, missing the 4' x 6' cage.

Scott Cullen takes a look at the numbers to see which NHL players were best and worst when it came to hitting the net during the 2010-2011 season.

Looking at these results, there are only indications to be gleaned, no surefire answers, but hopefully a few trends worth noting.

The players have been divided as forwards and defencemen because, for the most part, defencemen don't hit the net as frequently; something about shooting from further away that makes it harder to find the target.

From the defencemen that missed the net most often, there's an unfortunate trend out of Dallas, where three of the bottom six in accuracy played last season, while No. 17, Matt Niskanen, played most of the year for the Stars too.

Getting an offensive defencemen, like Alex Goligoski, might change matters a little as he should get higher quality shots when he jumps into the rush, but Goligoski missed 33.6% of his shots directed at the goal too, which was middle of the road among defencemen.

Many of the defencemen on this list are of the stay-at-home variety, so there shots towards the goal may not be much more than plays to keep the puck deep in the offensive zone, but it's more concerning when power play trigger men like Michael Del Zotto, Jack Johnson, Marek Zidlicky and Shea Weber are missing the mark.

Of course, Weber tied for fourth among blueliners with 16 goals last season, so there is some risk and reward involved when he unleashes his blasts from the point.

First up, the defencemen with the highest percentage of missed shots (minimum 20 shots on goal):

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS SOG MS MS%
1. Josh Gorges Montreal D 20 19 48.7%
2. Mark Fistric Dallas D 26 24 48.0%
3. Brian Lee Ottawa D 35 30 46.2%
4. Nicklas Grossman Dallas D 38 32 45.7%
5. Jay Harrison Carolina D 49 40 44.9%
6. Karlis Skrastins Dallas D 30 24 44.4%
7. Brett Lebda Toronto D 34 27 44.3%
8. Nick Schultz Minnesota D 46 35 43.2%
9. Mark Stuart Atlanta D 41 31 43.1%
10. Jeff Petry Edmonton D 41 31 43.1%
11. Justin Braun San Jose D 44 33 42.9%
12. Steve Eminger N.Y. Rangers D 23 17 42.5%
13. Ian Cole St. Louis D 22 16 42.1%
14. Michael Del Zotto N.Y. Rangers D 58 42 42.0%
15. Jonas Holos Colorado D 36 26 41.9%
16. Bruno Gervais N.Y. Islanders D 43 31 41.9%
17. Matt Niskanen Pittsburgh D 77 54 41.2%
18. Marek Zidlicky Minnesota D 53 37 41.1%
19. Mike Lundin Tampa Bay D 55 38 40.9%
20. Jack Johnson Los Angeles D 153 105 40.7%
21. Cam Barker Minnesota D 44 30 40.5%
22. Shea Weber Nashville D 63 42 40.0%
23. Michael Sauer N.Y. Rangers D 54 36 40.0%
24. Ryan O'Byrne Colorado D 45 29 39.2%
25. Tim Gleason Carolina D 84 53 38.7%

On the other end of the spectrum, are the defencemen that hit the net most frequently.

While there are a number of non-descript players here, due to small sample sizes, it does stand out that an active shooter like Bryan McCabe still hit the net so frequently.

Among the Top 25 defencemen in terms of accuracy, Avalanche defenceman Erik Johnson and Sabres blueliner Jordan Leopold were the only ones with at least eight goals, so it's not as though the ability to hit the net from the blueline suddenly means a defenceman is a scoring threat.

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS SOG MS MS%
1. Matthew Corrente New Jersey D 21 3 12.5%
2. David Hale Ottawa D 20 4 16.7%
3. Bryan McCabe N.Y. Rangers D 122 30 19.7%
4. Tom Poti Washington D 20 5 20.0%
5. Matt Carkner Ottawa D 40 10 20.0%
6. Kyle Quincey Colorado D 39 10 20.4%
7. Adam Foote Colorado D 23 6 20.7%
8. Ed Jovanovski Phoenix D 73 20 21.5%
9. Matt Gilroy N.Y. Rangers D 75 21 21.9%
10. John Erskine Washington D 58 17 22.7%
11. Derek Joslin Carolina D 34 10 22.7%
12. Steve Montador Buffalo D 118 37 23.9%
13. Milan Jurcina N.Y. Islanders D 76 24 24.0%
14. Colin White New Jersey D 50 16 24.2%
15. Fedor Tyutin Columbus D 128 41 24.3%
16. Jordan Leopold Buffalo D 134 43 24.3%
17. Erik Johnson Colorado D 161 52 24.4%
18. Matt Hunwick Colorado D 100 33 24.8%
19. Andrew Alberts Vancouver D 21 7 25.0%
20. Mike Mottau N.Y. Islanders D 21 7 25.0%
21. Adam Pardy Calgary D 36 12 25.0%
22. Jakub Kindl Detroit D 62 21 25.3%
23. Scott Hannan Washington D 56 19 25.3%
24. Kent Huskins San Jose D 38 13 25.5%
25. Adam McQuaid Boston D 46 16 25.8%

When it comes to forwards that miss the net most often, there are a couple of ways to look at the results. A player that simply has an erratic shot, or perhaps is too fine when trying to pick corners, could be one of the reasons that a player misses a high percentage of their shots.

Another possibility is that forwards that don't go to the so-called "dirty areas", like the slot right in front of the net, are more likely to miss the net; again, something about shooting from a greater distance making it harder to hit the target.

In some cases, that may be a reflection of a player's positioning on the power play, but it still doesn't reflect particularly well on Alexander Semin to be missing the net the most among forwards that received significant ice time.

These are the forwards that missed the net on the highest percentage of their shots directed at the opposition's net (minimum 20 shots on goal).

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS SOG MS MS%
1. Trent Hunter N.Y. Islanders RW 30 20 40.0%
2. Darryl Boyce Toronto C 27 18 40.0%
3. Chris Drury N.Y. Rangers C 26 17 39.5%
4. Andrei Loktionov Los Angeles C 26 16 38.1%
5. Lars Eller Montreal C 79 48 37.8%
6. Matt Ellis Buffalo LW 20 12 37.5%
7. Doug Weight N.Y. Islanders C 26 15 36.6%
8. Alexander Semin Washington RW 196 112 36.4%
9. Nick Bonino Anaheim C 23 13 36.1%
10. Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim C 117 65 35.7%
11. Alexander Steen St. Louis LW 218 120 35.5%
12. Brandon Segal Dallas RW 40 22 35.5%
13. Kevin Westgarth Los Angeles RW 20 11 35.5%
14. George Parros Anaheim RW 33 18 35.3%
15. Eric Belanger Phoenix C 127 69 35.2%
16. Drayson Bowman Carolina LW 28 15 34.9%
17. Tanner Glass Vancouver LW 45 24 34.8%
18. Tom Wandell Dallas C 94 50 34.7%
19. Jamie McGinn San Jose LW 63 33 34.4%
20. Mike Richards Philadelphia C 184 96 34.3%
21. Michal Handzus Los Angeles C 94 49 34.3%
22. Michael Repik Florida RW 54 28 34.1%
23. Matt Stajan Calgary C 81 41 33.6%
24. Chris Kunitz Pittsburgh LW 133 67 33.5%
25. Kyle Okposo N.Y. Islanders RW 72 36 33.3%

Finally, to finish things on an up note, the forwards that hit the net most frequently. Not surprisingly, guys that tend to handle the puck in close around the net like Ryan Malone and Andrew Brunette fared well in this measure.

I might also be inclined to think that Drew Stafford's breakthrough season occurred, at least in part, because he was willing to go to net more consistently.

Rank PLAYER TEAM POS SOG MS MS%
1. Blake Geoffrion Nashville LW 24 2 7.7%
2. Ryan White Montreal RW 30 3 9.1%
3. Arron Asham Pittsburgh RW 60 6 9.1%
4. Blair Jones Tampa Bay C 20 3 13.0%
5. Shawn Matthias Florida C 90 14 13.5%
6. Zach Boychuk Carolina LW 44 7 13.7%
7. Mike Comrie Pittsburgh C 25 4 13.8%
8. Ryan Malone Tampa Bay LW 149 25 14.4%
9. Patrick Kaleta Buffalo RW 65 11 14.5%
10. David Perron St. Louis LW 29 5 14.7%
11. Dan Carcillo Philadelphia LW 56 10 15.2%
12. David Desharnais Montreal C 55 10 15.4%
13. Travis Moen Montreal LW 99 18 15.4%
14. Zach Parise New Jersey LW 49 9 15.5%
15. Vaclav Prospal N.Y. Rangers LW 61 12 16.4%
16. Ryan Johnson Chicago C 25 5 16.7%
17. Chuck Kobasew Minnesota RW 74 15 16.9%
18. Jake Dowell Chicago C 74 15 16.9%
19. Andrew Brunette Minnesota LW 117 24 17.0%
20. Gilbert Brule Edmonton C 72 15 17.2%
21. Colin Fraser Edmonton C 57 12 17.4%
22. Drew Stafford Buffalo RW 179 38 17.5%
23. Nick Foligno Ottawa LW 149 32 17.7%
24. Nikolay Zherdev Philadelphia LW 135 29 17.7%
25. Mattias Tedenby New Jersey LW 87 19 17.9%

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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