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Analysis: Timo Meier shoots the puck a lot

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No like, A LOT.

Detroit Red Wings v San Jose Sharks

If you watch Sharks games on Comcast California, you’ve no doubt heard Jamie Baker talk about how often Timo Meier shoots the puck and the impact it has on his teammates. I don’t so much agree with Baker that Meier tries to shoot more than your average Joe (yes, pun intended) but he certainly gets off more shots than anyone else on the Sharks.

In fact, since Meier has been called up he’s been getting more shots off than just about anyone else in the league. While playing around with some data on DataRink.com (a super neat site that you should check out) I noticed something really cool: Only Alex Ovechkin has more shot attempts per 60 minutes than Meier this season*. Meier attempts 24.2 per 60 minutes and Ovechkin attempts 25.7.

Meier has only played in 10 games and there are certainly those out there who will tell you shooting the puck that much isn’t a good thing, but they’re almost certainly wrong. Getting pucks towards the net is as sure an indicator of a good hockey player out there as I can see and it bodes very well for Meier’s future with the Sharks. Plus, I dig seeing Meier’s name that close to Ovechkin’s on just about any leaderboard.

Take a look at the chart below to visualize how quickly Meier has racked up those shot attempts. The first chart is just counting up his shot attempts at all strengths while the second is measuring his shot attempts per 60 minutes over a five-game rolling average. Got it? Sweet. Stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey.

Data from corsica.hockey.
Data from corsica.hockey.

The second chart may look like a slump but it’s more the reality of a player starting to level out after a lightning-fast start to his career. Meier is attempting an ungodly number of shots right now (when you’re attempting more than Brent Burns, you’re doing something right) and while he only has one goal to show for it you can bet more are coming.

What about shot quality you ask? A fair question, and something expected goals looks to account for. Amongst players with at least 100 minutes played at even strength (a very small sample size, I realize), Meier is seventh in the NHL in expected goals per 60 minutes. The guy at the top? Auston Matthews; it’s not bad company to be in, even if you don’t treat it as a perfect stat (and you shouldn’t, of course).

We can also see exactly where Meier takes his shots on the ice thanks to corsica.hockey with the image below. Each pin point represents a different type of shot, whether it be a shot on goal, a blocked shot, a shot that misses the net or a goal. Check it:

I know it’s not a huge sample, so bear with me here. He’s taking a lot of his shots from inside the slot, which is the most important thing to point out in this chart. Yes, he’s taking shots from the points as well (still good) but I like that he’s getting inside the circles and going towards the net in the same way Tomas Hertl does when he plays with the Joes. This bodes well for Meier’s future both with and without Thornton and Pavelski.

There’s plenty of reason to be excited about Meier moving forward, two points through 10 games notwithstanding. His shot attempt numbers are just one part of that, but they’re a darn big part of it.

*Amongst players with at least 100 minutes.