What does SOG mean in hockey? (Explained)

Hockey is a sport played by two teams of five players each. The objective of the game is to score goals by shooting the puck into the opponent’s goal.

SOG is an abbreviation for “shots on goal”. It is a metric used to keep track of the number of shots a team or individual player has on the opposing teams goalie. Additionally, SOG can be used to determine how many shots a goalie faces.

What is considered a shot on goal?

By definition, a shot is only considered a shot on goal if the shot:

a) Goes into the net

b) Is on net and forces the goalie to make the save.

A puck that is sent on net without the intention of scoring, as the result of a player dumping in the puck for example, will not be registered as a shot on goal.

Furthermore, if a player shoots the puck, and it’s going wide of the net, but the goalie decides to jump in front of it and make the save, it is not registered as a shot on goal.

Average number of shots on goal per game

During the 2020-21 NHL season, the average number of shots on goal per game was 29.8 per team. This means there was an average of roughly 60 shots per game between both teams on the ice.

On any given night, it is not uncommon for a player to register between 1-5 shots on goal by themselves.

Shots on goal leader

The player in the NHL who had the most shots on goal during the 2020-21 NHL season was Auston Matthews. Matthews led the league with 222 shots in 52 games. That’s an average of 4 shots per game!

Team with the most shots on goal

The Florida Panthers lead the National Hockey League for shots on goal last season with 1,954 shots on goal over the course of 56 games. That’s an average of 35 shots per game, good for roughly 5 shots above league average!

Shots on goal standings (2020-21 season)


Team Player Games Shots on goal per game
Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews 52 222 4.2
Ottawa Senators Brady Tkachuk 56 220 3.9
Colorado Avalanche Nathan Mackinnon 48 206 4.2
Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid 56 200 3.5
San Jose Sharks Evander Kane 56 194 3.4
Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane 56 191 3.4
Boston Bruins Patrice Bergeron 54 182 3.3
Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin 45 182 4
Carolina Hurricanes Dougie Hamilton 55 180 3.2
Colorado Avalanche Mikko Rantanen 52 177 3.4

Due to games lost, Nathan Mackinnon does have fewer shots than Auston Matthews, however they are tied for most shots per game in the league.


Team Shots on goal Shots per game
Florida Panthers 1954 34.89
Colorado Avalanche 1937 34.58
Boston Bruins 1866 33.32
Vegas Golden Knights 1829 32.66
Carolina Hurricanes 1794 32.03
Toronto Maple Leafs 1751 31.26
Montreal Canadiens 1746 31.17
Dallas Stars 1699 30.33
Tampa Bay Lightning 1692 30.21
Philadelphia Flyers 1692 30.21

All data provided by hockey-reference.com

 Why are shots on goal important tracked?

It’s important that shots on goal is a tracked statistics because it provides use with a piece of the puzzle that can show how productive an offensive player was offensively on any given night.

If a player comes out of a game with, let’s say, 4 shots, it’s a good indicator that they had the puck on their stick for much of the night.

Keep in mind, you wouldn’t use shots on goal to evaluate a more defensive minded player.

Shots on goal is also a variable in hockey fantasy contest scoring. For example, if a player in your lineup on a given night registers 5 or more shots on DraftKings, you obtain the 5 shot bonus which can help you win a contest.

Enjoy the post? You may be interested in learning what PPD means in hockey.