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A quick hit on "good" shot-blocking teams

There was a good comment earlier saying something to the effect of: teams that block a lot of shots aren't necessarily good shot-blocking teams. This made me get on the data horse and gather up some numbers to say more about that. (Caveat: could not find an easy way to grab 5v5 blocked shot numbers, so the following numbers are total all situations via nhl.com. I think it does the job in illuminating the overall argument.)

The point of blocking shots is shot prevention —> goal prevention. We can measure goal prevention with goals against. Is there a relationship between teams that block a ton of shots and goal prevention in a general sense?

An interesting way to look at this would be to first look at the teams ordered by blocked shots for 2012-2013 and 2011-2012.

BS 2013 GA 2013 BS 2012 GA 2012
TORONTO 826 128 NY ISLANDERS 1364 251
SAN JOSE 800 112 MINNESOTA 1347 217
PHILADELPHIA 784 139 MONTREAL 1341 214
COLORADO 783 150 NY RANGERS 1338 182
ANAHEIM 776 115 SAN JOSE 1327 205
NY RANGERS 773 108 WASHINGTON 1302 226
NY ISLANDERS 766 136 TAMPA BAY 1278 278
WASHINGTON 765 130 DALLAS 1262 218
EDMONTON 754 131 EDMONTON 1239 232
PITTSBURGH 735 119 CAROLINA 1239 237
BUFFALO 718 139 TORONTO 1223 259
WINNIPEG 713 141 NASHVILLE 1213 205
NASHVILLE 703 133 PHILADELPHIA 1208 225
MONTREAL 702 124 WINNIPEG 1197 242
CALGARY 699 157 ANAHEIM 1175 224
PHOENIX 689 125 CALGARY 1158 217
TAMPA BAY 680 147 ST LOUIS 1120 155
ST LOUIS 677 114 COLORADO 1111 218
DALLAS 671 141 OTTAWA 1078 236
CAROLINA 667 159 BUFFALO 1075 223
CHICAGO 652 97 PHOENIX 1071 194
BOSTON 650 106 PITTSBURGH 1065 218
COLUMBUS 627 115 COLUMBUS 1054 257
OTTAWA 616 100 BOSTON 1054 199
MINNESOTA 614 125 FLORIDA 1042 216
FLORIDA 605 170 CHICAGO 1029 231
VANCOUVER 566 115 VANCOUVER 1019 191
DETROIT 560 110 DETROIT 972 200
NEW JERSEY 515 122 LOS ANGELES 969 170
LOS ANGELES 511 114 NEW JERSEY 928 205

Blocked shots 2012-2013 and 2011-2012

I have highlighted the five teams that showed up in the top 10 both years: Sharks, Rangers, Islanders, Capitals, and Oilers. Now look at those same teams in the list ordered by goals against.

BS 2013 GA 2013 BS 2012 GA 2012
CHICAGO 652 97 ST LOUIS 1120 155
OTTAWA 616 100 LOS ANGELES 969 170
BOSTON 650 106 NY RANGERS 1338 182
NY RANGERS 773 108 VANCOUVER 1019 191
DETROIT 560 110 PHOENIX 1071 194
SAN JOSE 800 112 BOSTON 1054 199
LOS ANGELES 511 114 DETROIT 972 200
ST LOUIS 677 114 SAN JOSE 1327 205
ANAHEIM 776 115 NASHVILLE 1213 205
COLUMBUS 627 115 NEW JERSEY 928 205
VANCOUVER 566 115 MONTREAL 1341 214
PITTSBURGH 735 119 FLORIDA 1042 216
NEW JERSEY 515 122 MINNESOTA 1347 217
MONTREAL 702 124 CALGARY 1158 217
MINNESOTA 614 125 DALLAS 1262 218
PHOENIX 689 125 COLORADO 1111 218
TORONTO 826 128 PITTSBURGH 1065 218
WASHINGTON 765 130 BUFFALO 1075 223
EDMONTON 754 131 ANAHEIM 1175 224
NASHVILLE 703 133 PHILADELPHIA 1208 225
NY ISLANDERS 766 136 WASHINGTON 1302 226
BUFFALO 718 139 CHICAGO 1029 231
PHILADELPHIA 784 139 EDMONTON 1239 232
DALLAS 671 141 OTTAWA 1078 236
WINNIPEG 713 141 CAROLINA 1239 237
TAMPA BAY 680 147 WINNIPEG 1197 242
COLORADO 783 150 NY ISLANDERS 1364 251
CALGARY 699 157 COLUMBUS 1054 257
CAROLINA 667 159 TORONTO 1223 259
FLORIDA 605 170 TAMPA BAY 1278 278

Goals against 2012-2013 and 2011-2012

Only two teams (Sharks and Rangers) blocked shots at a top 10 level and also were able to prevent goals at a top 10 level. Also, note the bottom four in blocked shots for both years (same teams: Canucks, Red Wings, Devils, and Kings). Three of four made the top 10 in goals against in 2012-2013, and all four made the top 10 in 2011-2012.

By the eye test, this suggests that the association is weak. By the way, simple correlation calculation for each year discloses 0.19 and 0.31 r-values respectively. This also indicates that the association, if any, is rather weak. Here’s a chart of all of this data that also helps see the non-association.

2mchb9g_medium

via i42.tinypic.com

Bottom line: We know that teams that block a lot of shots are not necessarily good at goal prevention (nor are they necessarily bad at it or bad at puck possession). It looks like "bad" shot-blocking teams block shots because they are 1) allowing shots to occur, and related 2) they aren't spending a whole lot of time on the attack. "Good" shot-blocking teams probably (guess #1) block more in non-even situations and (guess #2) are better at creating transitions out of the zone immediately after. It looks like there might only be a handful of teams seem to do this really well. Final note on the Sharks and the Rangers. Looking at their 5v5 Close Fenwick%, they were 9th and 5th (respectively) in 2012-2013 and 7th and 15th in 2011-2012. It's a little bit of a puzzle to see these two block so many shots they are both fairly good puck possession teams. It's possible that blocked shots in 4v5 could account for this, but seems like a stretch. It's also weird that Larry Robinson has preached guys to stay on their feet as long as they can. Tell me what I'm missing.

This item was created by a member of this blog's community and is not necessarily endorsed by Fear The Fin.

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