Shot Target Visualization
by Hawerchuk on Aug 22, 2011 7:00 AM EDT
We have a lot of information about where shots are taken on the ice, but we have precious little data about where shots end up on goal (as we saw last year, the Finnish SM-Liiga has location information for goals, but not for saves.) What we do have for the NHL is shot target location: the one- to five-holes. This data can be a little suspect for single games, but in the aggregate over 5000 games, we see identifiable patterns.
Let's do a little visualization. This chart shows the number of shots on each of the five targets vs the shooter's x-y position on the ice. As you can see, most shots are low - 3-, 4- and 5-holes. There are more left-handed shooters in the league, so there's a preference for putting the puck on the left side of the net (the goalie's right).
Unsurprisingly, shots from the left wing end up on the left side of the net; shots from the right on the right; and shots from the middle in the 5-hole (which also includes the goalie's chest):