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William Karlsson’s Shooting Percentage Is Unsustainable… Or Is It?

Most of the time when people pick on the Golden Knights they do it with blind disregard for the truth. However, every once in a while there’s a legitimate claim as to why what’s happening for Vegas may not continue. But don’t worry, we’ll always be here to prove them all wrong.

I don’t shoot often, but when I do, I prefer to score. (Photo credit: Vegas Golden Knights Instagram)

One of the most common reasons cited for why the Golden Knights may not be able to continue the pace they are on is shooting percentage. At the beginning of the year, the numbers were absurdly skewed in favor of the Golden Knights, especially at home. At the 41 game mark the team’s shooting (10.6%) and save percentages (91.4%) have come back to earth and actually now indicate sustainability is likely.

That being said, William Karlsson, the Golden Knights leading scorer, also leads the NHL in shooting percentage at 25.9%. Karlsson has taken 82 shots and 22 of them have found the back of the net. This should be unsustainable. His career shooting percentage is 12.6%. The most goals Karlsson has scored at any level was 15 for HV71 Jonkoping in Sweden.

No player has shot 25.9% or better in a season since 1995-96 (Gary Robers 26.2%), and even Wayne Gretzky only posted a number that high once in his career at 26.9% in 1983-84.

Yeah I’ve seen people on Twitter. So yeah, it’s a bit high. I guess it’s going to slow down a little. -William Karlsson

BUT… what if I told you it didn’t have to change? What if I told you there’s a method to the madness that has gone into William Karlsson’s unbelievable shooting percentage.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, and I came armed with pictures to back it up. Karlsson has scored 22 goals this season, below is a picture from the exact moment when the puck leaves his stick and heads towards the promise land. Keep your eye on the amount of net that is open in just about every image.

Goal 1: Cross ice pass from Smith on an odd-man rush. Goalie has no time to come across. (Net Mostly Open)

Goal 2: Tip-in chance from in front of the goal. (Net Covered)

Goal 3: Shorthanded on feed from Eakin. Goalie misses on poke check leaving net open for Karlsson. (Net Mostly Open)

Goal 4: Wrap around attempt. Puck is in the goal before it leaves his stick. (Net Completely Open)

Goal 5: Rebound attempt. Puck is beyond goalie when Karlsson shoots. (Net Completely Open)

Goal 6: Breakaway attempt using the backhand. Prior to the move the goal is covered, but as the puck is slid to the backhand, he beats the goalie. (Net Partially Open)

Goal 7: Centering pass from Tuch from under the goal line. (Net Mostly Open)

Goal 8: Slap shot from the circle. Goalie in perfect position. (Net Covered)

Goal 9: Misplay behind the goal by goalie, pass to the front of the net, goalie no where to be found. (Net Completely Open)

Goal 10: Centering pass from Smith. Karlsson angles stick towards open part of net. (Net Partially Open)

Goal 11: Rebound chance after save. (Net Completely Open)

Goal 12: Shot directly off face off. (Net Covered)

Goal 13: Tip-in chance from in front of the goal. (Net Covered)

Goal 14: Tip-in chance from in front of the goal. (Net Covered)

Goal 15: Centering pass from Tuch. Karlsson directly in front of goal. (Net Partially Open)

Goal 16: Centering pass from Smith. Goalie cannot come across. (Net Completely Open)

Goal 17: Centering pass from Smith. Goalie in the process of coming across. (Net Mostly Open)

Goal 18: Centering pass from Smith, goalie in good position. (Net Covered)

Goal 19: Marchessault pass from under the goal line. Goalie not fully aware of the puck coming to the front. (Net Partally Open)

Goal 20: Karlsson dives for loose puck. Swats it towards empty net. (Net Empty)

Goal 21: Puck caroms off back wall. Goalie out of the net covering original shot. (Net Completely Open)

Goal 22: Centering pass from Smith, goalie cannot get across. (Net Completely Open)

Here are the final counts.

Net Covered – 6
Net Partially Open – 4
Net Mostly Open – 4
Net Completely Open – 7
Net Empty – 1

If you take out of the 6 shots in which the net was covered, Karlsson would still be shooting 21.1%, good for fifth in the NHL this season.

I was joking earlier with my buddy, he brought up the shooting percentage and I was like, ‘I only shoot when I score’ so hopefully I can keep it up. -Karlsson

Yes, the shooting percentage is insane, but the league leaders over the course of the past 20 years have all fallen between 20-24%, so the 25.9% number isn’t as ludicrous as it sounds.

I just feel really confident that when I get an opportunity that more often than not it goes in. If I have a shot attempt or a situation where I need to shoot I’m obviously going to take the shot, even if it’s at a bad angle. I guess my mindset is, just keep shooting, just keep scoring. -Karlsson

Karlsson is likely to continue playing on a line with Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, and as long as they keep playing the way they have, there’s no reason to believe anything will change with Karlsson,  and yes, that includes shooting 25+%.


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  1. Rushil

    Awesome article! Keep em coming!

  2. Mindtricks

    Yeah, he might end the season with a high shooting percentage.

    There is no way he repeats it next season though.

    If you believe that I have some things to sell you.

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