Nashville Predators: Colin Wilson’s Inconsistency, Part: 2

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33). Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33). Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

 Nashville Predators forward Colin Wilson, has had a career haunted by inconsistency. Is it confidence, or lack thereof? Or is there something else happening that can be empirically detected? This series will try to find the answer…

If you have not read part 1 yet, we recommend you go back and follow along with our thought process as we try to figure out the enigma of Colin Wilson. Click here for Colin Wilson’s Inconsistency, Part 1,

Related Story: Colin Wilson: A Tale of Two Seasons

In Part 1, Predlines tested a theory that Colin Wilson’s career ups and downs has something to do with how often he shoots the puck. As in- The more shots Colin Wilson takes per game, the more successful he will be…We debunked that theory as the numbers simply had no strong correlation to his point production.

If it’s not the quantity of shots, perhaps it is the quality of his shots?

To test quality of shots, there are two routes we can take.

1.) First is to examine Colin Wilson’s shooting percentage.

2.) We will also need to address where the shots are actually coming from.

Shot percentage alone will not tell the whole story. For example, a 15% shooting percentage from the slot is not overly impressive, but a 15% conversion rate from the blue-line is nearly unheard of. This is why we must test shot placement.

Quick lesson for those who have never played hockey:

There is something to be said for the angles a player chooses. The closer you are to a goalie the less you have to shoot at, this is why you often see players pass up a shot right in front of the net… there’s simply nothing to shoot at even if you had a laser guided hockey stick. The trade off with backing off to give yourself more net to shoot at is that you give the goalie more time to react to your shot.
Simple geometry. It’s a balancing act that all players have to figure out for themselves based on their release style, handedness, goalie’s handedness, wing side, shot speed, and of course where you are shooting on the goalie. Remember, hands are faster than feet. But I digress…

First things first, does Colin Wilson’s shooting percentage have a direct impact on his point production?

Nashville Predators
Colin Wilson Shooting Pctg from /

I have organized Colin Wilson’s seasons by shooting percentage, with the highest percentage at the top, and lowest shooting percentage at the bottom. Stats from
Okay, perhaps we are moving in the right direction. In Colin Wilson’s best season (12-13), he had his best, 26.1% shooting percentage. Meanwhile, his worst season (15-16) also had his worst shooting percentage.

The issue comes in every other season on our chart. Specifically the 10-11 and 13-14 seasons. Colin Wilson had the same exact points per game but had a 5% variation in shooting percentage.

Then in 09-10 Colin Wilson had a 13.8 SH% and .43 PTS/game. During the season before last (14-15), Colin Wilson had a 2.2% lower SH% than in 09-10 but 0.12 PTS/game better. So then that means Colin Wilson took more shots in 14-15 vs 09-10 but remember… we already proved shot amount is irrelevant for Colin Wilson.

See how we can go in circles here?

I could go on but I believe the point has been made, shooting percentage alone does not explain Colin Wilson’s inconsistency.

Where are the shots coming from?

As I mentioned earlier, shooting percentage is vastly different depending on where a player, like Colin Wilson, is shooting from. has tables for players and team which lets one can get into the minutia of shooting data.

First, let’s look at a couple seasons for Colin Wilson, a career high in 14-15 and a rather pedestrian 13-14 campaign. The data from last season has not yet been fully uploaded, I imagine that takes awhile to put together.

Nashville Predators
Colin Wilson from Sporting /

Blue= shot and Red=goal. 

The Nashville Predators Colin Wilson loves to get around the net, as both tables have the cluster close to the goalie.

I included the 2015 playoff games because that actually makes for an almost even amount of games played 81 in 13-14 and 83 in 14-15.

The AVG shot distance dropped from 13-14 vs 14-15. So he moved in just 2 feet closer and his shooting percentage went up by 3%. Colin Wilson also had a higher cluster of shots near the crease, and the offensive left circle, his natural wing in 14-15.

The quick observation is that in 2013-2014, Colin Wilson had a much more spread out shot board. His goals (Red Dots) were subsequently well spread out as well. In the more successful 2014-2015 season, Colin Wilson apparently parked himself in front of the net.

However, the most likely spot for Wilson to score was between the hash-marks and crease for both seasons.

So then is the answer that he needs to get into the dirty areas more often? Does he score more goals when he shoots from there? Well yes and no.

In 2013-2014, Colin Wilson scored 11 goals. 8 of those goals or 72.7% of his season total, came between the hash marks and the crease. In 14-15, of his 25 goals, 14 (or 56%) came in the same area… a decrease of 17%. While yes he scored more total goals in front of the net in 14-15, Colin Wilson was just scoring more in general.  This does little but further cloud the mystery of Colin Wilson’s inconsistency.

In going through the other years its more or less the same story. He’s shooting and scoring from essentially the same spots every year, but having varying amounts of success.

Nashville Predators
Colin Wilson from Sporting /

Almost the exact same AVG. Distance of shots taken.

Yet the shooting percentage is higher in 11-12. Meanwhile, in 14-15 Colin Wilson had a worse shooting percentage but was able to get off more shots. Almost half a shot more per-game.

But why was he able to get off 50 more shots over the course of the season? Was he being less selective with his shots?

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No. Once again the Avg shot distance debunks that theory as well. But does the amount of shots even matter?

It shouldn’t…Remember in Part 1 we found no consistent evidence that leads to believing more shots=more points for Colin Wilson.

In the above (brief) research, we were attempting to see if shot quality, or placement,  had anything to do with Colin Wilson’s production. Here, we have found that he shoots from around the same places on the ice and same distance away year after year. In that sense, he is consistent… what is not consistent is his success.

What else could be causing the fluctuations in Colin Wilson’s game? If it’s not shot quantity or quality… could it have something to do with his linemates. In theory, the better players he’s with the more offense he should produce. That being said, if he was constantly producing, he would never move back in the line-up in the first place. So are coaches being too impatient with him?

In Colin Wilson’s inconsistency, Part: 3 
Predlines will study if Colin Wilson’s line-mates have a direct influence on his offensive production and if this explains his ups and downs with the Nashville Predators.

Next: Do Oddsmakers Like the Preds for the Cup

There is no reason to believe that Colin Wilson just “turns it on” in the playoffs.  There has to be an explanation.