Redefining the Sniper

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The concept of a sniper has become synonymous with that of a goal scorer, but that is a misinterpretation of the word. A sniper’s title is based not only off the number of goals scored, but also their accuracy when shooting. That being said, in order to properly rank the best snipers in the league, it is necessary to take a look at a little statistic called a shooting percentage.

Shooting percentage is a very straightforward stat: it is the number of goals scored divided the number of shots taken. By looking at the shooting percentages of the top 15 scorers in the league, there are a couple things that quickly become evident.

RANK

PLAYER

GOALS

SHOTS

SHT %

NEW RANK

PLAYER

1

Stamkos

32

165

19.4

1

Stamkos

2

Toews

27

148

18.2

2

Hartnell (+5)

3

Neal

27

210

12.9

3

Toews (-1)

4

Malkin

26

202

12.9

4

Michalek (+5)

5

Kessel

26

173

15.0

5

Moulson (+5)

6

Hartnell

25

129

19.4

6

Vrbata (+2)

7

Gaborik

25

159

15.7

7

Gaborik

8

Vrbata

23

142

16.2

8

Kessel (-3)

9

Michalek

23

128

18.0

9

Couture (+4)

10

Moulson

22

132

16.7

10

Lupul (+5)

11

Perry

22

170

12.9

11

Neal (-8)

12

D.Sedin

21

164

12.8

12

Malkin (-8)

13

Couture

21

143

14.7

13

Perry (-2)

14

Hossa

20

166

12.0

14

D.Sedin (-2)

15

Lupul

20

141

14.2

15

Hossa (-1)

 

First things first, Stamkos is without a doubt the most dangerous man in the league with a puck on his stick. There is a reason that he leads the league in goals – every shot he takes is a potential game changer.

Second, just because a player scores a lot of goals doesn’t mean they are always the person you want taking the shot. In a tough situation, you want a guy who has the best chance of scoring. Take James Neal for instance. Despite having scored 27 goals already this season, he also leads the top 15 scorers in shots at 210. That means every time he shoots he takes away a potential scoring chance for one of his line-mates. But this is also a double-edged sword – shooting creates scoring opportunities for your team with rebounds. However, this is just a measure of how accurate a player is when he lets the puck go on net, and for that shooting percentage is a very good reflection.

There are also quite a few players that are flying under the radar despite putting together an unbelievable season. Scott Hartnell has found a level of chemistry with Jagr and Giroux that many people didn’t think possible from a 50 point bruiser. The fact that he wasn’t even given a slot at the all-star game until Toews went on IR just goes to show that the NHL doesn’t care about actually putting a game together with the top players in the league – they would rather exploit big name celebrities to line their pockets with cash.

Another notable includes Toews who only drops 1 slot and has earned his nickname of Captain Serious; the kid is just about as clutch as they come. Michalek and Moulson also shine on the reconfigured list, jumping 5 slots to reach the top 5 and showing why they are two of the most under-rated snipers in the NHL.

At the end of the day, no team is going to complain if a player has a 30+ goal season. But by looking at which players not only score goals but also find the back of the net whenever they touch the puck, we get a better understanding of who the deadliest snipers in the league are.

 

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Dean Brookstone 

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