Which Oilers Really Block The Most Shots?

Advanced stats are branching out every day. Now that we've moved beyond defending the veracity of the numbers, the collective has branched out in search of the next innovation. The scoring chance project is utilizing group-sourced information to solve the "shot quality" claims. The zone exit numbers have shown how heavy the workload really is on puck-moving defensemen. Broad Street Hockey is tracking zone entries to find out which Flyers manage to dominate possession and which Flyers are simply passengers. That's led to interesting early indications like dump and chase hockey actually leads to more chances against. Tracking touches is right around the corner.

In the midst of a discussion with the incomparable George Ays he mentioned the Oiler who blocks the most shots. "Ladislav Smid," I said. "No sir," he responded. And we were off on a deep dive into shot block stats. After the jump, I'll look into how Ays re-created a formula used by Desjardins (I think) to determine which players were blocking the most shots, and which players were giving up a bunch of shots and blocking some.

The Oilers have been lauded for their commitment to blocking shots this season, and while they have thrown themselves into the shooting lanes with abandon, the results haven't always been pretty. Sunny Mehta showed a small team skill in shot blocking and Desjardins showed an even smaller individual skill in the same. While shot blocking is a skill, or an art, for a very small segment of the NHL player population, talking heads espouse it as yet another magical part of the game, dictated by hard work and grit. In reality, a large quantity of blocked shots simply means the team, or player, is being dominated and forced to spend their time in their own end blocking rubber rather than possessing the puck and forcing the other team to block shots.

In the table below, I've listed even strength shot attempts against, even strength blocks and the ESBS Ratio (% of even strength shot attempts blocked by an individual player), as I'm calling it until someone comes up with a better name. One caveat to these numbers - I'm using total even strength blocks, not away even strength blocks, which will leave a heavy tinge of scorer bias. But since I'm comparing teammates, that SHOULD wash out.

Player ES Att Against ES Blocks ESBS Ratio
Lennart Petrell 215 14 0.0651
Ryan Hopkins 382 18 0.0471
Ryan Jones 314 13 0.0414
Eric Belanger 297 11 0.0371
Sam Gagner 255 9 0.0353
Taylor Hall 243 8 0.0329
Shawn Horcoff 408 12 0.0294
Ryan Smyth 445 12 0.0270
Ales Hemsky 227 6 0.0264
Jordan Eberle 362 9 0.0249
Ben Eager 143 3 0.0209
Magnus Paajarvi 211 4 0.0190
Linus Omark 54 1 0.0185
Anton Lander 231 4 0.0174
Ryan O`Marra 11 0 0.0000
Darcy Hordichuk 42 0 0.0000

There's defensive specialist Lennart Petrell leading the pack, which isn't a surprise. Petrell lags far behind the rest of the team (even Darcy Hordichuk) in shots generated, so he must have some other useful quality. In second is...Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Say what now?

Player ES Att Against ES Blocks ESBS Ratio
Andy Sutton 204 27 0.1325
Ladislav Smid 434 51 0.1175
Jeff Petry 323 28 0.0866
Theo Peckham 330 28 0.0848
Corey Potter 225 18 0.0800
Ryan Whitney 200 16 0.0799
Tom Gilbert 452 35 0.0774
Colten Teubert 137 9 0.0658
Taylor Chorney 54 3 0.0556
Alex Plante 26 1 0.0385
Cam Barker 191 6 0.0314

Note that while Ladislav Smid has gained accolades for his shot-blocking prowess, it's actually Andy Sutton doing a better job of blocking shot attempts. It's also worth noting Cam Barker, because he's at the bottom of every list.

*Data courtesy Gabriel Desjardins and behindthenet.ca

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