Ovi backchecking? You better believe it. (Photo: Luis M. Alvarez)
Jen Lute Costello of Puck Daddy recently wrote a nifty post about shot suppression. I’m paraphrasing her, but the basic idea is that there’s more to being a great possession team than simply having more shot attempts than the other team. While having more shot attempts than your opponent is the essential ingredient, it is optimal to also limit the number of overall shot attempts or “events” (the combined number of shot attempts between two teams in a game). Again, my paraphrasing does not do Jen’s great work justice, so I recommend reading her work.
The Capitals are a much better shot-possession team this season compared to last. But our optimism shouldn’t stop there. The Capitals aren’t just owning a higher percentage of overall shot attempts, they are also allowing fewer overall opponent shot attempts, so they’re owning the puck more AND better suppressing shot attempts against.
Just a reminder that when we are talking about shot attempts, it is for 5-on-5 play only.
The Caps have gone from owning 47.7 percent of shot attempts last season to 51.74 percent this season. Overall, there are 4.8 percent fewer overall shot attempts in Caps games so far (108.92 shot attempts per game last season vs. 103.7 shot attempts per game last season). This is not entirely surprising, as Barry Trotz’s Nashville teams were known for being low-event teams.
Looking at the forwards, we can see that there are some guys who are thriving more than others. Below are all forwards who have played 12-plus games this season, looking at shot attempts against per 60 minutes of play for last season and this season. The difference is at right.
|Player||2013-14 SA Against/60||2014-15 SA Against/60||2014-15 Difference|
(Small sample size warning)
Obviously none of these results exist in a vacuum (the defense is a major factor in this, which I’ll look at another time), but the fact that the results so far not only show Trotz turning the Caps into a solid possession team, but also a very good shot suppression team, bodes well for this team as the season progresses.
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