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Cannon Blasts: When shooting the puck goes wrong

That and more of this week’s links

NHL: New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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The defining storyline so far in this young season for the Columbus Blue Jackets has NOT been goaltending, as so many expected (it’s been...fine), but instead it has been finishing. That is, the Jackets have created offensive chances, but have struggled mightily to put the puck in the back of the net. Last night was a perfect example, with 80 shot attempts but only 36 on target.

In light of that, I decided to look at how well all of the skaters were shooting and if there is any hope for improvement. As it turns out, there definitely is. Only four of the eighteen skaters with prior regular season NHL experience are exceeding their career shooting percentages. Certainly veterans like Cam Atkinson and Gustav Nyquist can be counted on to pick up their production, as well a healthy Josh Anderson when he returns. The chart below also shows that 15 of the 21 skaters have failed to meet their expected goal total so far (data includes all situations).

CBJ Shooting Numbers through October 19

Player 2019 SH% Career SH% diffSH% G xG diffG
Player 2019 SH% Career SH% diffSH% G xG diffG
Markus Nutivaara 14.3 6.2 8.1 2 0.66 1.34
Pierre-Luc Dubois 18.8 14.1 4.7 3 1.93 1.07
Zach Werenski 10.5 6.9 3.6 2 1.08 0.92
Alexander Wennberg 10 8.2 1.8 1 1.39 -0.39
Dean Kukan 0 0 0 0 0.12 -0.12
Jakob Lilja 0 0 0 0 0.65 -0.65
Emil Bemstrom 0 0 0 0 0.84 -0.84
Vladislav Gavrikov 0 0 0 0 0.24 -0.24
Oliver BJORKSTRAND 10 10.8 -0.8 2 1.36 0.64
Seth Jones 4.3 5.8 -1.5 1 1.37 -0.37
Sonny Milano 16.7 19 -2.3 1 0.4 0.6
Alexandre Texier 7.7 10.5 -2.8 1 0.75 0.25
Ryan Murray 0 4 -4 0 0.18 -0.18
Boone Jenner 5.6 10.1 -4.5 1 1.51 -0.51
Scott Harrington 0 5.1 -5.1 0 0 0
David Savard 0 5.4 -5.4 0 0.25 -0.25
Gustav Nyquist 5.6 11.2 -5.6 1 2.02 -1.02
Cam Atkinson 5.6 11.7 -6.1 2 2.31 -0.31
Nick Foligno 4.8 12.7 -7.9 1 1.86 -0.86
Riley Nash 0 10.5 -10.5 0 0.51 -0.51
Josh Anderson 0 11.3 -11.3 0 0.46 -0.46

All data compiled from Hockey Reference and Natural Stat Trick.

Now, the news isn’t all good. The Jackets are tied for 19th in 5v5 goals for, and are 12th in expected goals for. But that goal total of 14 actually exceeds the expected goal total of 13.82. Sean Tierney points out that both tallies for Columbus are average, and also that their shot attempts have been more about quantity than quality.

The week that was

Game 6: CBJ 3 DAL 2
Game 7: CHI 3 CBJ 2 (OT)
Game 8: NYI 3 CBJ 2 (OT)

Speaking of Anderson, he is close to returning from injury, as he participated in practice late last week. The team made a roster move which indicates that he may be available as soon as tomorrow’s game in Toronto:

Boone Jenner earned his 200th career point on Saturday:

Oliver BJORKSTRAND, meanwhile, is on the cusp of 100 career points, but twice in the last week has earned it with an assist, only to have the official score corrected. Hopefully point 100 comes sooner rather than later.

There was an Olympian wearing Blue Jackets gear on the ice in Chicago on Friday:

Saturday’s game was First Responders Night at Nationwide, and in preparation Markus Nutivaara and Oliver BJORKSTRAND visited a Columbus firehouse:

Zach Werenski’s father is a first responder, and is profiled in this article by Jeff Svoboda.

Sonny Milano dazzled with a highlight real goal on Wednesday:

Some NHL Network analysts tried (and failed) to reproduce it:

However, Jackets’ prospect Tyler Angle came much closer:

Of course, Sonny’s goal came after we spent much of a Cannon Cast episode worrying about his performance. Who should we reverse jinx this week?

After MrSwift ranted about the “Loyalty” campaign, Rachel took aim at the other slogan, the awkwardly-phrased “Out of Our Blue, We Rise.”

BrewDog, the Scottish brewery which chose Columbus as their US base of operations, held a fan vote to determine the hockey-themed name of their latest beer. They chose...”Cannon Blast.” Real original, right? It’s a pale ale, because that’s a novel idea. (My kingdom for a dark and drinkable brown ale!)

On deck

Monday: at Toronto
Thursday: vs. Carolina
Saturday: at Philadelphia

Monster Mash

The Cleveland Monsters have a busy weekend, with three games in three days. They beat the Rochester Americans in a shootout on Friday but lost on the road to the Toronto Marlies on Saturday. Those two teams have a rematch this afternoon.

Elaine summed up last weekend’s home opener in the State of the Monsters Address. Speaking of Elaine, last Sunday she was a guest on The Artillery Podcast. It’s a very fun episode, so check it out:

Around the League

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski polled several hockey analytics writers for their least favorite advanced stats.

The New Jersey Devils signed center and former #1 overall pick Nico Hischier to a 7 year, $50.75 million contract extension, which carries a cap hit of $7.25M per year. Our colleagues at All About the Jersey are thrilled with the deal. Jackets fans should be less so, as this sets a high starting point for contract talks with Pierre-Luc Dubois. Hischier has 37 goals and 64 assists in 101 career games, while Dubois has 50 goals and 63 assists in 172 games. Dubois also has better possession stats. If PLD wishes to sign a long term contract now, $7.25M per year is the bare minimum he should get. We may be looking at something closer to eight years at $8M per season.

Mile High Hockey got an exclusive interview with Commissioner Gary Bettman to talk about outdoor hockey, their games being blacked out, and more.

The NHL’s shot location data was all messed up to start the season...but now they’ve fixed the glitch? On the Forecheck explains.

The Buffalo Sabres are...good now? Remember that time we beat them? That was cool.

Play me out

Two weeks ago the rock and roll community lost a legend in drummer Ginger Baker. His powerful, complex drumming drove the sound of bands such as Cream and Blind Faith.