Ten players who had a crazy-high shooting percentage in 2017-18
I always get worried when I am offered a trade involving a player who is coming off a career year in regards to his shooting percentage. I worry because it’s unlikely for said player to repeat that success the next year. There are exceptions. Brad Marchand always had a crazy-high shooting percentage. So you have to delve deeper into why a player’s shooting percentage soared high. Sometimes it’s as easy as playing on a line with a superstar and thus getting better looks. Sometimes a player gets over-confident and everything he shoots is a goal. Other times it’s just plain luck.
Below you’ll find 10 players who are coming off seasons with a higher-than-normal shooting percentage. There’s no rookies on the list because there’s no baseline comparison. Even players with only two or three years in the league is hard to judge.
10. Eric Staal
This season was a surprise for even the most ardent of Staal supporters as the writing appeared to be on the wall: Declining shot totals, declining shooting percentage, declining time on ice usage, etc. His previous five years he averaged a 9.1 shooting percentage. So Staal responded to critics by scoring 28 goals on a 13.3 shooting percentage. That shooting percentage was his highest since he was a sophomore in 2005-06.
9. Michael Grabner
Grabner has always been a streaky shooter. Most wouldn’t be surprised if he scored either 10 or 25 goals next season. Last year he scored nine goals on 7.8 per cent shooting and had a career shooting percentage of 11.7 going into this season. This year he shot 16.7 per cent. His goal total was also helped by the fact he took 162 shots, his highest total since 2011-12.
8. Marian Hossa
Hossa isn’t the fantasy asset he once was, but there’s always room for a guy who can get 25-plus goals. But if there’s any player on this list who the odds are against repeating this year’s success, it’s Hossa. The Blackhawk took 167 shots (one of his worst shots-per-game seasons ever) and spent a good chunk of the year on the third line. He shot 6.8 per cent and 8.9 per cent the last two seasons, but shot 15.6 per cent this year.
7. Patrik Berglund
Berglund is a tough guy to peg as his shooting percentages vary greatly season to season. He shot an amazing 23 per cent in 2012-13 and has been in the double digits for shooting percentage in seven of his nine seasons in the league. But his previous three seasons combined before this year, he averaged 9.8 per cent. This year he was at 15 per cent. What you predict for Berglund next year depends on how you look at his statistics. Either this year’s numbers are him getting back to a more normal shooting percentage, or this year is just a blip when looking at the past four years.
6. Logan Couture
Couture’s percentage increase isn’t as high as others on this list but there was noticeable uptick this season as he shot 14.4 per cent. This was a career high for him, and the average of his previous three seasons was 10.3 per cent. That may not sound like a large increase, but if he had shot 10.3 per cent this year he would have had 18 goals instead of 25.
5. Andrew Ladd
It’s interesting that Ladd is on this list considering how poorly his season started. He had two goals on 38 shots in his first 24 games despite playing a good chunk of the time with John Tavares. It wasn’t until he got away from Tavares that Ladd became a much deadlier shooter. He wound up shooting 20.2 per cent the rest of the way and finished with 23 goals. He shot 16.2 per cent for the year after coming into this campaign with a career 11.7 shooting percentage.
4. Marcus Johansson
Johansson doesn’t shoot the puck enough for my liking as he took only 129 shots in 82 games this year. Only 72 forwards played in all 82 games, and Johansson’s 1.57 shots per game puts him in 59th spot of those 72. That’s in Adam Lowry and Jason Chimera territory. But Johansson ranked first out of those 72 forwards in shooting percentage at 18.6 per cent. That was easily a career high and much higher than his average of 12.8 per cent going into this season.
3. Anders Lee
Unlike Ladd, Lee succeeded when given the opportunity to play with John Tavares as Lee played almost exclusively with Tavares this season. Having an elite centre is gold and helped catapult Lee to a career high 17.8 shooting percentage. That is more than double his 2015-16 mark of 8.2 per cent. Because of this, he scored a career high of 34 goals despite taking his normal number of shots.
2. Rickard Rakell
Rakell came into this season shooting 9.7 per cent for his career and had 29 goals in 165 games. There was a lot of hope that he could turn it up another notch, but no one expected it to be this good. Rakell scored 33 goals on 18.6 shooting percentage while playing regularly on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf. The goal total might have been higher as he spent most of the year off the top power play line and scored just five goals with the man advantage.
1. T.J. Oshie
Oshie picked a very good year to have a career-high shooting percentage as he shot at 23.1 per cent. His previous high was 14.1 per cent and he averaged 12.2 per cent going into this season. That sky-high shooting percentage allowed him to score 33 goals. Oshie is a free agent and if he leaves Washington, he won’t have the opportunity to play with as great as linemates as he did with the Caps.