Marc Wieser scored 24 goals in 50 games last year and is therefore one of the best goal scorers in the league. HC Davos fans should feel really good going into next season knowing that they have the 3rd best goal scorer with a Swiss passport on their roster. Or shouldn’t they? I was wondering if his 24-goal-season was a fluke or if we’re witnessing the emergence of one of the greatest Swiss goal scorers.
Looking at Marc Wieser’s seasons from 2008-09 to 2015-16 we can see that his total shots on goal have somewhat averaged around 110. His shooting percentage has been between 11.69 – 15.48% from 2011-12 to 2014-15. In 2015-16 he posted a sky-high 21.62%. Did Wieser suddenly learn how to shoot or is this more like an anomaly and he’s bound to regress next year? In order to answer that, I had a look at all data from 2008-09 to 2015-16 (the period in which Swiss Ice Hockey has tracked shot statistics). Between those seasons, there were exactly 24 individual seasons in which a player scored at least 20 goals and posted a shooting percentage of at least 20%. Only 2 guys did it twice: Juraj Kolnik (2008-09 / 2009-10) and Byron Ritchie (2008-09/ 2011-12). Other than that, there are 20 different players who reached this accomplishment. Filtering out any import players (Paulsson, Sejna, Seguin, Taticek, Ritchie, Petr Sykora (1978 born), Kolnik, Salmelainen, Berglund, Westrum, Vigier) those criteria apply to only 11 Swiss players and one of them is Brady Murray and another one Ryan Gardner – players who are technically Swiss but were not developed within our junior system.
One thing we can already see now is that it is extremely rare for a player to record several seasons with more than 20 goals and a 20% shooting percentage…well…actually it’s impossible to repeat that feat as we have 9 (or 11) such Swiss-seasons spread over 8 years. With that in mind we can already say that Marc Wieser’s season was more a fluke and not something we should expect to see again next year. He’s going to drop to somewhere closer to his 14.06% career average which will result in 15 goals scored. Which is still solid and good, but not 20%-good.
But how have those other guys fared after their perceived breakout seasons? Namely the Swiss players which are: Sprunger, M. Wieser, Simek, Liniger, Riesen, Wick, Steiner, M. Plüss, Rüthemann. Some of them are really high-profile players…others not so much.
Now here’s a good example of how this works. Liniger is actually a player that should hover around the 10% mark and should score somewhere around 7 to 9 goals per season. He had one very good year and one pretty good year in his career.
Oh boy…this was getting really ugly towards the end of his career. As with Riesen: Too bad we don’t have more data on him. Consistent player for such a long period of time and then falling of a cliff towards the end.
A similar case to Liniger: Once put a whopping 24.1% of his shots in the net. Other than that, he’s had percentages of 11.34%, 8.04%, 11.25%, 10.91%. In a normal year, Simek should give you 97 shots and about 10% or 9 or 10 goals. Nothing close to 20-goal-scorer
Same pattern as with other players: One good season (24 goals) that was never repeated before or after (except for that other outlier in 2003-04 with 22 goals). He has a career average of 14 goals and that’s where his potential lies. Unsuccessfully (and rightfully) tried to make the most of this 2008-09 season and to get a contract in North America. If you accept that Steiner will probably never again post 20+ goals, you will not be disappointed. He’s going to consistently give you between 100 and 120 shots and 14 goals and that’s a good option as a secondary scoring threat.
Here’s an example of a guy labeled as a sniper. Generates high shot volume every year. Had his most disappointing season in 2015-16 where he dipped below 10.34% for the 1st time in his career. Ignoring that 2008-09 season (do you notice a trend here? 5 of those 9 seasons were posted in 2008-09) you get a good read on Wick: 11.7% and an output of 17 goals per year. But scoring on every fifth shot again seems like a reach here.
So you can really see: Repeating such seasons is impossible. We have someone like Wick who has a high shot volume and gives you close to 20 goals per year. We have someone like Riesen who’s probably the only one on this list that could have done that 20G-20% achievement several times. We have like Rüthemann and Plüss who represented Switzerland a lot of times and were viewed as elite players; and still were not able to post that record twice. We have an inconsistent Sprunger who can give you anything in any given season. And then some other guys who provide value but shouldn’t be viewed as great goal scorers. And out of those other guys, Wieser is the only one that managed to translate his season into a World Championship roster spot (finishing with 0 points in 7 games).
To summarize: I think you all get the picture; You cannot repeat such an unsustainable season like the one Wieser just had and I’m sorry for ruining every Davos fans‘ summer BBQ. But you better prepare that he is not going to score 20+ goals and post a 20% shooting percentage again and you won’t be disappointed next year.
By the way: What exactly happend in 2008-09? All those career years…I expanded my query to 15-goals / 20% and found 13 out of a total of 37 seasons happening in 2008-09…and 12 of those 37 seasons happened in Geneva…maybe there’s a reason why Chris McSorley felt comfortable in the past to part ways with guys like Rubin, Déruns, Vigier, and Dan Fritsche when their perceived value on the market was bigger than their actual contributions…but that might be something to investigate on another day.
Interested in more stuff? Follow me on Twitter: @mikey_1986