Shooting Percentage, 2007-08

One of the statistics that the number crunchers on various Oilers blogs constantly refer to is shooting percentage. A high shooting percentage (compared to a player's career average) likely indicates that the player's goal production is unsustainable, while a low percentage likely means that the skater will bounce back from a poor season.

This brings me to Raffi Torres. Among Oilers forwards to play more than 10 games, only Marc-Antoine Pouliot ranks below Torres' 5.7% success rate. So let's take a look at how everyone ranks, with their career avg. in parenthesis besides them (except for rookies).

Cogliano - 18.4%
Horcoff - 18.3% (13.6)
Glencross - 14.4% (14.3)
Pisani - 13.5% (13.8)
Penner - 11.4% (12.4)
Brodziak - 11.2%
Hemsky - 10.9% (11.3)
Nilsson - 9.8% (9.4)
Reasoner - 9.7% (9.9)
Gagner - 9.6%
Moreau - 9.3% (10.4)
Stortini - 7.9%
Sanderson - 7.5% (11.6)
Stoll - 7.5% (9.0)
Torres - 5.7% (11.9)
Pouliot - 3.1% (5.5)

To start with, a difference of 1% or less between these two numbers is probably irrelevant statistically. If we remove those players and rookies from the list, we get the following group of guys straying from their career numbers:

Horcoff: +4.7%
Moreau -1.1%
Stoll -1.5%
Pouliot -2.4%
Sanderson -4.1%
Torres -6.2%

I'm also going to ignore Sanderson (a shadow of the corer he once was) and Pouliot (not enough of a career yet to see a definite trend). Starting with the negatives, this means Horcoff will probably not be as successful next year. He was on pace for 32 goals, and if he'd been at his career percentage, that would equate to 24 goals- still a career high, but much closer to his pace of the last three years. Moreau was on pace for 16 goals, and adjusting this gives him 18, a fairly minor change. Stoll moves from 14 goals to 17, more respectable, but not his career high of 22. This brings us to the photographed player, Torres. On pace for just 13 goals (his lowest ever total over a full season), adjusting his shooting percentage yields us an amazing 27 goals! (Which puts him into that vaunted 25-35 goal scorer category;) )

In short, please don't trade Torres, because he's a much better player than this years results indicate, and maybe signing Horcoff long-term might be better done at the halfway point next year (it hurts to say that; the fear being that he won't be resigned).

As for the young fellows, Cogliano will score fewer goals next year, as his percentage this season(18.4) was ahead of or tied with such pluggers as Alex Ovechkin (14.6%), Ilya Kovalchuk (18.4%), Jarome Iginla (14.8%), Evgeni Malkin (17.3%) and Henrik Zetterberg (12%). These guys just happen to be the top 5 goal-scorers in the NHL in 07-08. Brodziak may suffer a slight correction, and Gagner should improve. As for Stortini, goalies facing him had a .921 SV%, which sounds about right.

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