Canucks best shot blockers ’11/’12

Derek Zona, one of our family of websites’ new editors, wrote a post at NHLNumbers highlighting the best shot blockers in the NHL, not based on how many raw shots they blocked, but as a percentage of total attempts when on the ice. He did the same thing for the Edmonton Oilers today at Copper n Blue.

Why the discrepancy is important? Well, the Canucks leading shot blocker this season was Alexander Edler, according to He blocked 145 shots. However, he has an unfair advantage. According to Behind The Net, Edler’s relative Corsi was +0.9 per 60 minutes, meaning that he was on the ice for many more shots against from the opposition than, say, Dan Hamhuis or Aaron Rome, allowing him to inflate his shot block totals.

So I’ve looked at regular players this season to compare a player’s shot blocking ability:

NAME  Attempts/60 Blocks/60 ES BS %
Chris Tanev 50.86 5.8 11.4%
Aaron Rome 52.85 5.5 10.4%
Alex Edler 56.31 4.9 8.7%
Keith Ballard 56.55 4.9 8.7%
Andrew Alberts 54.89 3.8 6.9%
Kevin Bieksa 55.79 3.8 6.8%
Sami Salo 55.92 3.5 6.3%
Marc-Andre Gragnani 54.52 2.9 5.3%
Dan Hamhuis 54.83 2.7 4.9%

Attempts/60 here is the total number of shot attempts, goals, shots, misses and blocks per 60 minutes, while Blocks/60 represents the number of individual blocks over the same span.

Check out Chris Tanev, again a statistical darling. He’s both the best Canuck in shot suppression, as well as blocks. However a player can prevent shots, Tanev does it in spades. Aaron Rome also scores very highly here. He’s an unrestricted free agent that I’d love to see the Canucks bring back, but I think he’ll make more on the open market than a suitable replacement would.

Impressively, Dan Hamhuis ranks last. His defensive ability mostly lies in his ability to suppress shots and his ability to quickly end possessions and turn the play forward with strong passing.

Here are the forwards:

NAME  Attempts/60 Blocks/60 ES BS%
Andrew Ebbett 49.5 3.3 6.7%
Dale Weise 53.8 2.5 4.6%
Aaron Volpatti 53.3 2.4 4.5%
Manny Malhotra 57.5 2.3 4.0%
Ryan Kesler 55.6 2.1 3.8%
Samuel Pahlsson 49.6 1.8 3.6%
Max Lapierre 54.8 1.5 2.7%
Chris Higgins 55.9 1.5 2.7%
Alex Burrows 54.6 1.0 1.8%
David Booth 55.5 1.0 1.8%
Henrik Sedin 54.5 0.9 1.7%
Jannik Hansen 56.0 0.9 1.6%
Daniel Sedin 53.2 0.7 1.3%
Mason Raymond 61.3 0.8 1.3%
Zack Kassian 53.3 0.3 0.6%

Shouldn’t be too surprising to see a lot of depth guys up top, except for Zack Kassian, who apparently was afraid of pucks in Buffalo last season. You’ll note that forwards tend to block quite a few fewer shots than defencemen, and wingers even moreso.

I would have liked to try this for the penalty kill to see what we can learn but BTN is not yet set up to show us player blocks in 4 vs. 5 situations, which is a bit of a pity.

  • I am likely Tanevs biggest fan. This guy is unreal for a 22 yr old who played in some random hockey league 2 yrs ago.

    I’m looking at his underlying numbers, and they are sick. Ya, he doesn’t play against top lines every night, but he gets tough zone starts and still ranks in Canucks top 5 d-men in terms of QOC.

    Like, this kid has only been on the ice for 8 goals against in 25 games. How is this possible? 8 goals against, and 16 goals for. Over an 82 game season, that’s approx 27 goals against and 50 goals for. Comparing to Ballards #’s – UGGHH – it’s depressing. Why is Ballard still on the roster.

    Anywhoo, would love to see you put together a little article on the TanMan (with stats). I don’t think people fully understand how great this kid is.


  • orcasfan

    This is an example of how not to place too much weight on stats! Wouldn’t it be reasonable to think that, since Tanev mostly played against opponents’ 3rd and 4th lines, there would not be as many shots taken? Therefore his “shot suppression” numbers would be somewhat misleading. And, I don’t think he was used much on the PK, whereas EDler, Hammer, Bieksa and Salo were – hence they faced more shots/60 mins. Rome’s stats would be skewed in the same way, I imagine.

    Again, the forward at the top of the stats list would have the same advantage in the opponents they faced. Those on the PK would have a bloated shot attempt/suppressed stat.

    The interesting piece from this is looking at Ballard’s stats. He is the leader in how many shots he faced while on ice. He was not on the PK either. So, why? Would that relate to his turnover propensity?

    Another question is Raymond. Why so many shots? Yes, he was a main guy on the PK, but so were Kes and Burr, etc. Again, could this point to some other facet of his game, like turn-overs?

  • orcasfan

    See Cam, this is why you should write a little blurb about Tanev. He’s toally misunderstood – you’d be able to convince people (with stats) how important he is.

    @ Orcasfan: The numbers above are for even strength. He says in the article, Behind the net isn’t set up for 4v5 situations (i.e. the PK).

    Also, Tanev didn’t play mostly against 3rd and 4th lines (Ballard did). Tanev spent the majority of his time (in reg season) paired with Hamhuis – the hardest, or second hardest competition. Tanev also has the 2nd best on-ice Corsi for all defensemen – despite getting 3rd worst zone starts. Meaning he’s good at preventing chances against, but equally as good at getting the puck out and moving it up ice to create chances.

    I’m no expert, but every stat I look at, Ballard looks a fool. He’s bad at just about everything (preventing chances against, creating chances for, moving the puck up ice etc etc). Why don’t they trade him? Seriously.

    And Raymond wasn’t the main PK guy this yr – Malhotra/Hansen were in the reg season (Kes/Burr were 2nd unit). Raymond got very little PK time cause he was a defensive disaster this yr.