Last season TJ Oshie scored scored 33 goals with a 23.1 percent shooting percentage.
This season, through 15 games, Oshie is on pace for 33 goals again, with six goals and a 20.0 percent shooting percentage.
But the way in which Oshie is scoring this season is different from last.
Oshie hasn’t been able to maintain his sky-high shooting percentage at five-on-five from last season. At the same time, Oshie isn’t likely to shoot only ten percent this season, as he’s a 12.2 percent shooter at five-on-five over the course of his career, and 15.5 percent during his time with the Caps.
One of the issues contributing to this, aside from expected regression, could be that the Caps aren’t getting shots from the goal mouth as frequently this season when Oshie is on the ice.
Here’s this season’s heat map (courtesy of Micah. Please support his work if you’re able):
And here’s last season:
These are team-level charts, but Oshie likely deserves a lot of the credit for all of the red (high-shot volume) around the goal last season. This season, there’s more blue around the net and, at the same time, Oshie’s five-on-five shooting percentage is down. I’d expect both the Caps shot volume around the goal with Oshie on the ice, as well as his individual shooting percentage to increase as the season goes on, but I’d bet against them increasing to 2016-17 levels.
But despite his five-on-five shooting percentage returning to this stratosphere, Oshie is on pace for just as many goals this season. This is because his shooting percentage on the power play has almost doubled, as the chart shows further above. Oshie’s been such a sharpshooter on the power play this season that he’s on pace to easily surpass his power play goal total from last season (seven) sometime fairly soon (he has four PP goals now).
There are likely a number of reasons for this increase in power play shooting percentage, ranging from randomness to improvements in Oshie’s game. Earlier in the season I wrote about a slight change in tactics that contributed to more production from Oshie on the power play. This could help Oshie continue to produce at a better clip on the power play this than he did last season.
Oshie is on pace to score over 30 goals again this season, but the interesting thing is that he’s found a different way to maintain that pace this season through 15 games.
Shooting percentage numbers from Corsica.hockey
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