I wrote yesterday about the one-timer, a shot that not only produces some of the most aesthetically appealing goals in hockey, but also one which is incredibly dangerous and, when well executed, leaves the goalie without a prayer of a save. The numbers, drawn from limited and varied samples of manually tracked data, presented mixed results on the effectiveness of them as it relates to shot selection. In short, one-timers are difficult to pull off, which means if you're good at them, you're a very difficult hockey player to defend. But if you're not, you may be better off cradling the puck for a better quality shot.
Either way, more than 40 percent of non-rebound power play goals — at least among teams I have tracked this year — have ome from one-timers. The spread of the 1-3-1 formation has made them more prominent than ever, and so a good way to visualize and to understand the success or lack thereof for a power play can be to explore where one-timers are being shot from, where the passes are coming from, and what kind of results are coming from those shots.
Unfortunately, the NHL does not track one-timers as its own shot type. Fortunately, I have. And recently I have developed a series of charts to showcase them.
Presented above is every one-timer that has been taken on the power play by the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers. The black dots mark the spot of the pass, while the colored dots represent the shooting location. As you can see in the legend, I have marked shots that were tipped on their way to the goal with a red triangle, and clockwise from top left you see blocks, misses, shots on goal that were saved, and goals. The average Corsi Shooting Percentage on PP one-timers for these teams in this time frame has been 7.5 percent. As I mentioned yesterday, that has appeared to be higher than non one-timer shots. Though we need a greater sample size to be certain of their effectiveness.
With these charts, we can break down one-timer success by team and by player. Let's start with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers' one-timers have mostly come from the left, and you don't have to dig too far to figure out why. The Flyers run a power play very similar to that of the Capitals, but on the opposite side. Claude Giroux plays the role of Nicklas Backstrom, so the majority of those black dots on the left are his. Shayne Gostisbehere has been a breath of fresh air at the point, though as you can see he has only scored on one goal from significantly above the top of the faceoff circle, and that was a deflected shot. In the second half of the season, look for more from Jakub Voracek, who plays the Ovechkin role. He has certainly had his share of one-timer attempts, and had success from that spot last season, but has been struggling to score in 2015-2016. I expect he'll get some better puck luck in the post-All Star Game NHL. Don't forget about Brayden Schenn in the slot hammering short passes on goal, and often producing juicy rebounds for guys like Voracek and Wayne Simmonds.
Next we take a look at the Islanders, who have only score five power play goals on one-timers this season. The biggest reason for that is that this team, more than maybe any other in the league, eschews a traditional formation for timing-based player movement, hoping to find seems and through a series of aggressive cuts attempts to disorient the penalty killers. There are times, though, when the Isles resort to either a 1-3-1 or a spread formation (also known as a 3-2). When in those setups, particularly the former, Nick Leddy often takes one-timers off feeds from John Tavares, Kyle Okposo or Frans Nielsen, and many of those attempts come from near the blue line, on one side or the other. As can be seen from these charts, these attempts have rarely been successful. A rethinking of power play strategy, considering the weapons, may be in order.
The Maple Leafs like to pay their boards player on their strong sides quite frequently, which makes one-timers less frequent than with teams like the Flyers and Caps, but they do like one-timers from the point with screens in front from guys like James van Riemsdyk and Leo Komarov (unfortunately I only started tracking screens recently so that data isn't available yet), which has led to a few tip-in goals on one-timers from the point, as seen above. Still, those are low percentage plays, and the few goals they have scored doesn't necessarily justify the bevy of unsuccessful attempts from way out. Passes into the slot to guys like P.A. Parenteau and Joffrey Lupul though have been fruitful, especially in producing rebounds. Considering the talent at play, the Leafs aren't doing too badly on the one-timer shooting percentage front.
I'm not going to talk too much about the Montreal Canadiens, as I have a full post on them using this data coming out Friday, but I will say that with a one-timer talent like P.K. Subban, there isn't enough being done here. There's a severe lack of one-timers into the scoring chance area, as they're mostly being taken from the outside. Alex Galchenyuk has been the lone bright spot in terms of being able to get into position on his off-wing for quality opportunities and a few goals.
Oh yeah. These guys. There are two pretty stark extremes here when it comes to one-timer success for the Capitals that are worth pointing out. On one end, you have shots from the point from guys like John Carlson and Matt Niskanen, as well as Alex Ovechkin's classic one-timers from the left side. Almost every one of those shots has failed to connect, with Ovechkin scoring on only two one-timers on the power play this year, And Carlson and Niskanen (and Orlov on occasion) a combined zero. Those plays simply haven't been there, and while a portion of that is shooting luck, it is also clear that opponents have adapted, and that the Caps miss the shooting weapon that was Mike Green. On the flip side though — and I would be remissed to not mention that Ovechkin drawing close coverage has to be partially responsible for this — slot men T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams have found constant openings for one-timer scoring chance, largely from the one-touch Backstrom/Kuznetsov-to-Johansson/Chimera-to-Oshie/Williams play that goes high-to-low-to-high. This play has caused fits for opponents, and has resulted in a bunch of those green dots you see to the right of the net above.
These one-timer charts will be among the tools I use to analyze power plays over the coming weeks. If you have any player-level requests for charts, let me know and I will tweet them out.