I know Chara's getting dumped on lately, and I've been joining in the hogpile. Feeling like I may be doing so unjustly, i decided to do some amateurish digging through the stats to see if there's anything to back my observations up or to change my mind about the captain's play of late. While nothing popped out at me at all about his defensive performance (quite the contrary being second in team blocks, hits and +/-), his offensive stats jumped out as a team-wide problem. This will hardly come as a news flash for those watching recent games: they're taking too many ill advised point shots, and they aren't going in.
Chara presently leads the team with 131 shots on goal to the next closest, Bergeron with 99. Horton, Lucic and Ryder round out the top five. I was unable to find situation stats on SOG (whether on the man advantage or even strength), but I don't think it's a huge leap to assume that Chara and Bergeron's positions on the point of the 1st power play unit are contributing to their team leading shot numbers. In other words, the guys on the point are the ones pulling the trigger.
Sure, the cap'n posesses the hardest shot in the leauge and is pretty accurate with that cannon all things considered, but his shooting percentage indicates it isn't working right now. Chara holds a .38 percentage, second lowest in on the team for regular players (over 30 games) to only Dennis Seidenberg's .24. As a sidenote, Dikembe ranks 6th on the team in shots at 84. I'm well aware defensemen are typically going to have among the lowest shooting percentage on the team given where their shots are being fired from in most cases, so lets compare them to the rest of the league's blueliners:
Perusing the stats of the rest of the league only five other teams have defensemen ranking so much as in their top three for the category:
- Byfuglien: 177 shots, 1st on ATL, .9 percentage
- Yandle: 110 shots, 2nd on PHX, .55 percentage
- Weber, 135 shots, 2nd on NSH, .52 percentage
- Letang: 129 shots, 3rd on PIT, .47 percentage
- Foster, 101 shots, 2nd on EDM, .3 percentage
- Chara, 131 shots, 1st on BOS, .38 percentage
In the above cases, Kurtis Foster excepted, the number of shots appears justified by their conversion rate. If you're scoring them, by all means keep firing. Meanwhile Chara ranks 3rd in league defenseman for shots and yet 63rd in scoring percentage (Seidenberg sits at 74th in %). Only Chara, Foster and Subban sit in the top fifteen in shots with lower than a .4 conversion rate. Also, lest the skeptic counter with the assertion that Chara's multitude of shots are producing juicy, assist-ready rebounds, he ranks 53rd in assists for defensemen, not really offsetting his personal scoring numbers.
A couple takeaways:
- most teams aren't relying heavily on their D to produce offense
- the point shot is the Bruins go-to and remains so in spite of statistical evidence of its ineffectiveness
- accountability for performance isn't a team strong suit
- Kurtis Foster isn't the company I like our top shooter to keep