What Is Slot In Hockey?
The slot in hockey is the name for the area in between the two face-off circles in the offensive zone. There are two different places considered the slot in the rink. Right in front of the goaltender and between the face-off circles is considered the low slot. On the other hand, the area in the middle of the ice above the circles is the high slot.
The slot is important in hockey because it represents the area with the highest chance of scoring without a deflection. The straight-on view of the net allows for better accuracy and puck placement while shooting. In the low slot, wingers and centers have the opportunity for a wrist shot with a clear view of the net. Due to the advantageous opportunities the offense obtains in the slot, defenders will make a point to establish the slot as a no man's land by laying out big hits to small wingers if they cross the middle of the ice with the puck.
The high slot is the prime place for a defenseman to take a shot. At the high slot, defenders have the chance to rip a blistering slap shot onto the net. From this slap shot, a winger or center can put their stick out in front of the goalie to try to redirect the shot and slip the puck by the goalie. Also, some players take slap shots at speeds over 100 miles per hour, meaning that the goalie has to react extremely fast to the puck. This lightning-fast play is the reason that a well-placed one-timer from the high slot is one of the best shots in hockey. There is a chance for a goal from both the original shot or a redirect.
How do teams get opportunities from the slot?
As most teams know the value of the slot, they try to stop the opposing team from shooting from that spot on the ice. The key to getting these great opportunities is quality cycling of the puck and staying aware of where the defense is at all times. By passing the puck consistently and waiting for the chance to score, teams can take advantage of the opposing team's mistakes and create scoring chances in the slot.
How does the slot differ from the point in a hockey rink?
While the slot is the area in the middle of the ice, the point refers to the edge of the offensive zone near the blue line. The point does not provide as great of a scoring opportunity as the slot does. Shots from the point require redirects and extra luck to get the puck into the net because of the angle and distance of a shot from that area.
How many goals are scored in the slot in hockey?
Most of the goals in the NHL are scored from the slot. In the last three seasons, almost half of all the goals in the NHL have been scored from the low slot. If the puck is placed this close and centered to the goalie, the offense immediately has a good chance to put the puck into the net. The high slot, while not as goal-heavy as the low slot, still accounted for a quarter of the goals in that same three-year time span.
How have analytics affected the slot?
With the dawn of analytics in professional sports, including hockey, more teams know where and how to shoot the puck in a given situation. Statisticians have realized that the slot produces the best scoring chances, so teams will tell their players to look for shots in that area. As more teams and organizations become more savvy with advanced stats, look for them to take more shots from this area on the ice.