Let’s say you want some goal scoring infused into your lineup. One quick look at the top leaders in the Eastern Conference and you’ll see some of the usual suspects – Stamkos, Kessel, Gaborik, etc. Simply looking at standard goal totals might not actually help your squad though. Each year players get hot, cold, go on long stretches of strong or poor performance, or perform differently based on the situations around them. This week I’ll take a deeper look at goal scorers in the Eastern Conference and I’ll follow up with the same analysis in terms of playmakers next week.
First things first, I decided to remove any players with zero goals or less than a shot per game average from my data set. That left with me with 241 players to analyze. Of these 241, the average number of goals scored is seven. There are 89 players with more than seven goals on the season from the East and of those, the players with the highest shooting percentage may surprise you.
In terms of shooting accuracy, Lucic and Jordan Staal are tops in the East. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, they just shoot the puck much less than say, Stamkos. Regardless, fantasy owners can rest assured that the dip in shots per game is at least offset by an increase in relative goals scored.
It’s also worth looking at players who have scored at or below the average. For players who have scored seven goals or less, I looked at all of the players who had at least a 10% or higher shooting percentage. There are 20 total Eastern Conference players that meet these criteria. Some are just beginning to get their chance (Hagelin), some have battled injuries (Green, Connolly, etc.), and some are simply just waiting for their next call up (Kadri). Whatever the reason, there are likely a couple of these faces available in your league.
Below you’ll find a list of similar players, but who have scored at least eight goals on the season (above my initial average). While some are still likely to be available, many of these are likely to be already taken.
Interesting, but this looks simply at a player’s total statistics on the year and the subsequent averages. It fails to ignore one part of a player’s performance but isolate another. There have been a lot of changes since the beginning of the year, so who is hot now? Since December 1, below are the top goal scorers in the East, with their yearly averages in blue on the right.
What does this tell us? Well for one, Stamkos is a stud. But how about Erik Cole? Despite playing for a team with a struggling offense (Montreal is tied for the third-worst total goals scored in the East), Cole is finding his groove and scoring at almost an 18% accuracy rate. How about Kyle Okposo? After a disastrous start, Okposo is scoring just under one goal for every two games played. Alex Ovechkin is finally turning things around and Scott Hartnell is becoming one of the top goal scorers in the East.
Depending on what type of move you are looking to make (trade for a superstar or utilize a waiver-wire addition), hopefully the data above was helpful to see who might be undervalued.