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Lightning forward shooting percentages reviewed... again

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Part three in the Lightning forward shooting percentages for this season

NHL: Calgary Flames at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of November, we took a look at the Tampa Bay Lightning forwards and their shooting percentages compared to their past performances. Late in January, we did a review on those stats to see who had improved and who was still lagging behind their career standards. Now with the season winding down, and just 12 games left on the schedule, let’s do one last look at this stat.

Shooting percentage is a simple measure; on what percentage of shots do players score a goal. We’re only looking at forwards here because defensemen tend to have a lot more variance in their shooting percentages throughout the season and year to year. A lot of this is due to the fact that defensemen are generally shooting from less dangerous parts of the ice. With such low percentage shots, it’s a lot easier for variance to creep in with just one or two lucky goals.

Overall in the league this year, the average shooting percentage is about 9.5%, which includes defensemen. Top forwards are generally in the 12-15% range, with elite shooters going all the way to 20%. Bottom six forwards tend more towards the 5-10% range but also tend to have a lot more variance as they generally take less shots. For some reference points, here are the career shooting percentages of some not-so-randomly selected players.

  • Sidney Crosby - 14.6%
  • Connor McDavid - 14.5%
  • Alex Ovechkin - 12.6%
  • Brian Boyle - 9.3%
  • Wayne Gretzky - 17.6%
  • Mario Lemieux - 19.0%
  • Martin St. Louis - 13.6%
  • Vincent Lecavalier - 12.1%
  • Cal Clutterbuck - 8.5%

Now on to the Lightning players!

Steven Stamkos

2018-19: 17.0%

Through November: 9.9%

Through January: 17.0%

Career: 16.7%

Stamkos started out the year slow, but came along nicely after Thanksgiving. He’s maintained that pace since then and is sitting at 34 goals. That’s the most he has had since he scored 36 in 2014-15. He struggled last year tying a career low 12.7% shooting that matched his rookie season. If he keeps up this 17% shooting through the end of the season, it will be his highest since 2013-14 when he shot 20.2% in 37 games and would be the fifth highest of his career.

Nikita Kucherov

2018-19: 15.9%

Through November: 14.8%

Through January: 16.1%

Career: 14.6%

Kucherov has been remarkably steady with his shooting throughout the season. There’s been some ups and downs for him including a ten game span from mid-January to mid-February where he went on a ten-game goalless drought. He has 33 goals and is on pace for 38 at the end of the season which would put him right in the range he has put up the past two seasons. His points though... whooooo weeeee!

Brayden Point

2018-19: 21.6%

Through November: 27.9%

Through January: 23.6%

Career: 17.1%

In both of the previous reviews, I mentioned that his shooting percentage couldn’t hold up. He was shooting at just an absolutely ridiculous percentage. Even still, his 21.6% he’s posted so far his the fourth highest in the league among players that have played at least 50 games this season. He’s on pace for 43 goals. He might not reach it, but he has 12 more games to get there. If he gets to 43, it’d be the most since Stamkos scored 43 in 2014-15.

Tyler Johnson

2018-19: 17.1%

Through November: 20.8%

Through January: 18.6%

Career: 13.2%

Johnson’s shooting percentage has continued to creep down through the year as I expected it would. Other than his brief appearances during 2012-13 when he shot at 27.3% in 14 games, he hadn’t finished a season above 15% shooting. He’s on pace for 28 goals which is one short of his career high of 29 set in 2014-15.

J.T. Miller

2018-19: 12.8%

Through November: 13.9%

Through January: 11.3%

Career: 13.7%

Miller is one of the forwards that has moved around the lineup a lot this season. He’s rarely had any kind of consistency in linemates. I think that has shown through in his ups and downs of scoring through the season. He only has 12 goals and 36 points after topping 20 goals in each of his three previous seasons.

Yanni Gourde

2018-19: 14.9%

Through November: 18.8%

Through January: 13.6%

Career: 17.1%

Another player that has shuffled around the lineup, Gourde is still making the most of his situation. He’s just two goals short of hitting the 20 goal mark for the second time and has 12 games to get there. With such a short track record, it’s hard to figure out exactly what his shooting talent is and where his real shooting percentage should be, especially after shooting 18.4% last season.

Ondrej Palat

2018-19: 9.4%

Through November: 0.0%

Through January: 12.1%

Career: 11.7%

Palat has dealt with a number of injuries this season that have slowed him down. Over the past couple of weeks though, he’s been looking more like himself, which is a great sign heading into the playoffs. He has just eight goals and his looking to get over the 10 goals mark for the sixth time in his career. He has 12 more games to get those two goals to get there.

Alex Killorn

2018-19: 9.7%

Through November: 6.8%

Through January: 10.9%

Career: 10.0%

Twitter’s favorite whipping boy, Killorn is doing just fine. He’s right around his career averages after starting out slow this season. He’s got 13 goals and has averaged 16 goals per year over his past five years. I’d also like to note here that Killorn has been one of the Lightning’s most durable players. He missed 11 games during the 2014-15 season, but has only missed two games in the four seasons since then and is on track to play in all 82 games for the Lightning this year.

Cedric Paquette

2018-19: 16.7%

Through November: 14.3%

Through January: 15.1%

Career: 11.3%

Paquette has continued to make the most of his chances this season with his confidence continuing to grow. It also helps that he has been healthy this season and has only missed one game for the Lightning. He’s already at a career high for games played and with his two goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, he’s matched his career high for goals with 12 that he set in his rookie season. He’s three points off of his career high of 19, also set as a rookie.

Ryan Callahan

2018-19: 9.1%

Through November: 10.0%

Through January: 9.1%

Career: 10.1%

Since we last spoke, Callahan was demoted to 13th forward on the team and has not played much. He has only played in six games since our last update and has one goal on 11 shots for a 9.1% shooting in those games.

Mathieu Joseph

2018-19: 15.7%

Through November: 11.6%

Through January: 17.9%

Career: 15.7%

It’s not a surprise to me that Joseph’s hot stretch after November has calmed down a bit. Let me put this out here before I go into my next bit though. I love the way he plays. I love his speed. He’s relentless and has an incredible motor that has served him well in breaking into the NHL this season. But I do have some concerns about his shot. He has made some really beautiful shots for goals, but he has also missed on a lot of high danger chances as well. When you see a bottom six forward and you find yourself going “Man! I wish he would have buried that one!” quite often, if he could consistently finish those chances, he’d be a top six forward.

Joseph has picked up 13 goals this season in 59 games. But I think he is doing it with a shooting percentage that is unsustainable for him from what I have seen of his shooting. That can change. He can continue to work on it in practice and over the summer. He’s just 21 years old and he’s not nearly done developing. I’m interested to see how he progresses next season and if he can bury his chances a little more consistently.

Anthony Cirelli

2018-19: 13.2%

Through November: 9.8%

Through January: 11.7%

Career: 14.4%

Some of the same criticisms for Joseph’s shooting, I have for Cirelli’s shooting. However, he shoots enough that he has 14 goals on 13.2% shooting. To me, that kind of shooting percentage for a really good third line center is more sustainable than what Joseph showed early on. Especially seeing that Cirelli’s shooting percentage through the season has been decently consistent without any really wild swings up or down.

Adam Erne

2018-19: 12.1%

Through November: 13.3%

Through January: 14.3%

Career: 10.2%

Erne just recently broke a 26 game goalless drought with a goal against the Winnipeg Jets. He doesn’t get a lot of ice time averaging just 10:34 each night. He averages about a shot on goal per game. Erne will probably never be a great scorer in this league, but I would like to see him shoot the puck more. Even without the goal scoring, he’s been playing a really solid game.