Spread of NHL Team Shooting Performances, Year-to-Year 1952-53 through 2013-14

Sort of a mid-week quick graph…I’ve been compiling data for a different project and curiosity got the best of me to see what the spread in team shooting percentages was in NHL history. We all know that shooting percentage in the NHL went up substantially during the 1980s, but what you’re seeing above is one of the reasons why we theorize that shot quality and team shooting talent might have figured more greatly in outcomes in the 1980s than it does today. With some exceptions, the standard deviation seems to have settled from about 1996-97 to the present at just under 1%, which suggests our expectations from one year to the next should only allow a team that much of a bump above or below league-average. It’s worth noting that sample will affect this measure, hence why our line is so spiky during the Original Six era, and why 1994-95 and 2012-13 might have not been as characteristic of a trend. Incidentally, this is shooting percentage for all situations.

Note: As mentioned by a reader, increased scoring is going to work together with this standard deviation to accentuate the differences between teams. League-wide, the shooting percentage and standard deviation move well enough together to cause this effect, usually portrayed by coefficient of variance, to regress heavily from 1965 to the present. The exceptions, though muted, would be the early 1980s and the more recent years of Dead Puck, so the standard deviation fairly accurately represents our variance above. CoV data:

Year CoV
1952-53 0.082
1953-54 0.103
1954-55 0.157
1955-56 0.188
1956-57 0.065
1957-58 0.089
1958-59 0.101
1959-60 0.096
1960-61 0.100
1961-62 0.129
1962-63 0.096
1963-64 0.056
1964-65 0.108
1965-66 0.121
1966-67 0.136
1967-68 0.081
1968-69 0.128
1969-70 0.090
1970-71 0.132
1971-72 0.132
1972-73 0.109
1973-74 0.115
1974-75 0.113
1975-76 0.085
1976-77 0.110
1977-78 0.119
1978-79 0.133
1979-80 0.102
1980-81 0.115
1981-82 0.113
1982-83 0.102
1983-84 0.115
1984-85 0.090
1985-86 0.093
1986-87 0.081
1987-88 0.118
1988-89 0.122
1989-90 0.097
1990-91 0.108
1991-92 0.116
1992-93 0.134
1993-94 0.091
1994-95 0.130
1995-96 0.150
1996-97 0.097
1997-98 0.103
1998-99 0.094
1999-00 0.093
2000-01 0.103
2001-02 0.095
2002-03 0.115
2003-04 0.096
2005-06 0.092
2006-07 0.105
2007-08 0.090
2008-09 0.091
2009-10 0.088
2010-11 0.077
2011-12 0.093
2012-13 0.133
2013-14 0.097

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