Monday, March 9, 2009

Average Number of Shots in the Shootout

A friend of mine asked me how many shots their were in an average shootout. I'll admit that I gave a wildly incorrect guess, but I wanted to know the answer to his question, so I wrote a little simulation to get the answer. Here's the average number of shots in the shootout versus the likelihood of scoring:
Intuitively, the trend makes sense: if you never score, the shootout will never end; the same is true if you always score.

How does the model compare to reality? The average scoring rate over the past four seasons in the NHL is 33.1% - the simulation predicts just slightly over seven shots on average. The real average has been 4058 shots in 588 shootouts, or 6.9.

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Cool stuff, Gabe. It occurs to me that shootouts can only be of duration 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 etc. shots. It would be interesting to know the distribution of each occurrence. Is that something you can easily scrape from the data at your disposal?
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