Mid-season Report: Shots and Attempts Blocked for Defensemen

You can blame this all on hackerar. who in this post said:

I’d like to see Seabs get more shots [through], he probably gets his shot blocked at a higher % than any blueliner on this team.

So out of purely academic curiosity, I went right ahead and checked. Naturally, what started as a question about Seabrook turned into something more than that. (All after the jump, to spare those who aren't interested in the stats of the game.)


  1. The conclusions reached will be drawn purely from the data presented, which can admittedly provide a highly narrow view.
  2. While I may be a little crazy in going through the numbers for this, I'm not completely insane. Thus, I will not be able to provide anyone with the necessary data to compare how the Hawks' blue line is performing relative to either the Hawks' forwards (which is a weird comparison to make) or to other teams' blue lines (let's face it, no other team is worth my time and effort).
  3. No, I can't compare this to the past seasons either.


  1. In the interest of providing some sort of developmental timeline, I've broken down the data into 10-game blocks.(Don't worry, there's a total at the end too.)
  2. The three stats I recorded are Shots, Attempts Blocked (A/B), and Goals. Since we're only talking about potential offensive contributions, I refrained from also taking a look at the shots that the defensemen have blocked.
  3. The stats I've computed for are Shooting Percentage and % of A/B over S, which is the best name I could come up with for this stat. Basically it's the percentage of shots that never get through over the total number of attempted shots (shots that are eventually blocked and shots that reach the goalie).

Results and Notes:


  • Notable in Games 1-10 is how so many of Duncan Keith's shots go through. This % of A/B over S is his lowest over the first half of the season, and his shooting percentage was highest here as well. A possible conclusion to draw from this is that he was probably "cherry-picking" shots and playing smartly enough to take his opportunities when he sees them.
  • Hammer needs a little bit of work in his shooting. Shots that don't go through are twice as much as the shots that do.
  • The next best % of A/B over S belongs to Cam Barker. One can argue that, like Keith, perhaps he is slightly more capable of finding the open lane than other blue liners. Foreshadowing Alert: Take a look at his shot attempt totals now, and note the numbers as we move through the first half of the season.
  • Like I said earlier, I don't have forward stats or the stats of the rest of the league to compare against, but I think we can say the average Attempts Blocked/Total Attempts seems to be around the 40% to 50% mark. Let's go ahead and arbitrarily make 45% the "average".


  • Compared to the 29 shots he attempted in the first ten games of the season, Keith's 2nd 10-game shot attempts is now 42, a 61.9% increase in his attempts at offense. Of course, half of those shots were blocked, which meant, likely, that he has started to cherry-pick less.
  • Despite shooting less, Hammer is still getting more shots blocked than going through.
  • Through the first 20 games, the blue line had almost half their shots blocked. (182 total shots, 160 attempts blocked)


  • There were a few aberrations that I noted in this stretch: During the Vancouver game (when we were outshot 17-30), only Seabrook (3 S, 0 A/B) and Campbell (1 S, 1 A/B) registered shots among all the blue liners. Barker had 1 A/B, and the rest (Keith particularly) weren't able to register even an attempt. I don't remember enough of the game to tell you what my "eye test" assessment of it would be, but the numbers suggest that Vancouver did a damn fine job of suffocating our D.
  • In the Pittsburgh game (Dec 5), Keith registered 3 S and a whopping 8 A/B. In the Buffalo game (Dec 11), Keith had 6 S and 2 A/B. This marks the beginning of what I dubbed the December Keithsplosion, where Keith went through a stretch of games with 5 or 6 shots on goal. (Of his 52 attempts in this stretch, a respectable 40.38% were blocked.)
  • 44% - 50% of Seabrook's shot attempts end up blocked.
  • From 39 shot attempts in the 1st 10 games, to 25 shot attempts in the next 10, to 23 shot attempts in the game 21-30 mark for Barker. This could be a function of reduced ice time (good Lord don't make me check) but for some reason, he's taking or he's able to take fewer chances. All 4 of his goals this season thus far were scored in his first 20 games.
  • I believe this was around the time that our PP was at its clown-shoe-est, and I remember some of us wondering why the fuck Campbell wasn't shooting as much. The eye test lives up to the stats. Soupy only had 20 shot attempts here compared to 31 and 37 in Games 1-10 and 11-20, respectively.


  • Hey look, at the same time he scores 3 goals, Campbell has only 24.32% of his shot attempts blocked. This is the lowest % of any blue liner with at least 20 attempts. Probably better decision-making (on when to shoot, considering an attempt that is blocked could turn into an opponent rushing down to your side of the ice) here on his part.
  • Hammer seems to operate under the belief that anyone wearing the other team's jersey is a goalie. (Don't hate. I love the guy as much as the next person. I'm just saying.)
  • I am running out of things to observe that haven't already been pointed out.


  • Considering we're only 3 games into this 10-game stretch, I'm only putting this up here so you know what the last 3 games of the spreadsheet totals are.


General Observations (aka Sweeping Statements Not Meant to be Taken as Gospel):

  • Keith started the year with a better number of his shot attempts going through, but overall it's Soupy who holds the better percentage, both in more shots going through and in his shooting percentage. Campbell's only starting to shoot more again, and with the help of his magical new sticks (think the Hawks will write a children's book about that?) he's finding the offensive touch that we knew he had.
  • Keith has picked up his oh-ffense by quite a bit from the beginning of the season to the halfway mark. I can't say anything about their A/B in previous seasons, but in an interesting look at Career Regular Season statistics between Keith and Campbell, Keith routinely has more shots. Keith appears to be able to find more opportunities to shoot at the net without hitting any of the opposing team's players, so I suppose we can say he needs to work on his shooting % (or the accuracy of his shot) in our mid-season evaluation of his play.
  • Among regular blue liners, Seabrook has the second-highest rate of shot attempts that are blocked instead of going through. So yeah, hackerar was onto something.
  • Hammer's a hilarious 61.67%, so I guess if he needs to work on anything, it's making sure he is able to pick the right time to shoot.
  • Barker's fairly decent at getting his shots through most of the time (41.90%, next to Campbell) but he hasn't been shooting as often as he used to. Again, that's probably a function of reduced ice time, but it could just also be indicative of generally lackluster play.

In Conclusion:

  • Curiosity is an unholy thing.
  • I should probably stop reading SCH in the middle of the work day too.
  • I've probably missed a few things, particularly in analyzing the offensive output of Sopel and Hendry. (Which, okay. Do we really need to?) Anyway, feel free to add more comments/thoughts/observations.
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