The Peerless has always been of a mind that shots matter -- that over the course of a season, the notion that the kind of shots a club faces regresses toward a mean of difficulty, and the result is that teams that rank highly in shots taken/shots faced do better than those that do not.
Well, the information gleaned from the first third of the season is rather weird in this regard. Looking at shots taken, we've ranked teams by their shots taken/game (conference top-eight teams marked with an "X"):
What you might note is the top and bottom of the list. The top five teams in shots taken are in the top-eight of their respective conferences. But then again, so are the bottom four clubs, not to mention eight of the bottom 11. Hmm...what about shots allowed?
Here, eight of the best 11 teams in allowing shots are top-eight clubs in their respective conferences, while only five of the worst 11 are similarly situated. Does differential make a difference?
Hard to tell anything here...five of the top ten, five of the next ten, and six of the bottom ten are in the top-eight mix. Differential -- to this point -- seems to matter little.
It's early, with lots of time for these things to settle out, but it looks like if there is one thing to watch, it is how many shots a team allows. It might be a function of uncommon puck possession capability (Detroit seems rather freakish in this regard) or teams with a well-earned reputation for denying shots (the Devils, Stars), but keeping those shots allowed down seems to be more an indicator of success than taking shots. This makes some sense...a shot that gets through might be a high-quality chance or a low-quality one, but a chance nonetheless. But a shot that doesn't get through (or doesn't get taken) can't find its way into the back of the net.