There are all sorts of statistics that can show whether a player should bounce back or regress next season, but one of the simplest, and my personal favourite, is to look at shooting percentage. If a player’s shooting percentage went through the roof for whatever reason, there should be reason to be concerned for next year.
After all, an extra uptick of five percentage points is an extra 10 goals during the course of the season, assuming the player takes 200 shots. Obviously, the more shots and the higher the increase, the more goals.
Below are 10 players who saw a shooting percentage spike this season. The criteria for this list were that they had to have scored 20 goals and had a shooting percentage of at least 12 percent. I also eliminated first- and second-year players as there’s not enough of a baseline to judge whether this season was a spike or not.
You may also notice that players such as Brad Marchand, Mark Stone and Mark Scheifele are not on this list. That’s because they always have a crazy-high shooting percentage, so this year was still the norm for them.
10. Casey Cizikas
Cizikas really came out of nowhere this year to score 20 goals. His previous high was nine goals, but don’t bet on another 20-goal season next year. He came into this season shooting a career-average of 9.4 per cent, and he almost doubled that with 18 per cent this season. He’s still not getting any power-play time or significant ice time with elite players. His 111 shots were easily a career high. There are no positive signs that show he can repeat this year’s feat. There are going to be a few hockey general managers who will draft him in hit leagues next year hoping Cizikas can get back to double-digit goals, but don’t hold out too much hope.
Draisaitl had 50 goals on 21.6 shooting percentage, the highest percentage among players that scored at least 20 goals, and higher than the 14.6 per cent he averaged in the previous three seasons. So, you should obviously expect a shooting percentage decline next year, but I wouldn’t worry about too much of a regression. His shot total has gone up every year, and if that trend continues in 2019-20, he can easily score 50 goals even with a reduction in shooting percentage.
8. Cody Eakin
Eakin was a big surprise with 22 goals on 18.3 per cent shooting, but I don’t have any faith in Eakin’s ability to continue his high goal total or high shooting percentage from this season. First off, that shooting percentage was way higher than his career average of 10.5 per cent going into the season. Second, he was helped for some of the season by playing with guys like Max Pacioretty and getting some second power-play unit. However, that all changed once Mark Stone got to Vegas, and Eakin’s ice time went down by two minutes a game and his power-play time went to zilch. That doesn’t add up to another 22 goals next year.
It’s sad to say for someone that had so much fantasy hockey potential, but Silfverberg is pretty much useless for hockey pools. He did score a career-high 24 goals, the third time in four years he hit the 20-goal mark, but that’s all he contributes for fantasy. His shooting percentage this year was 14.7 per cent, only the second time he’s been in double digits, and way too high compared to the 8.7 per cent he averaged in his first six years in the league. The biggest concern has to do with his shot total. This year he had 163 shots, down from 187 last year and 227 and 215 the previous two years. His ice time was also down to 17 minutes a game, a significant drop from 17:58 last year and 18:29 the year before.
Arvidsson had an excellent season which doesn’t get the accolades that he is due. He had 34 goals in 58 games (a 48-goal pace) on a 17.4 shooting percentage. He’s been in double digits for shooting percentage the last couple of seasons, but his previous high was 12.6 per cent. However, a lot of his future success might depend on who Nashville signs this offseason. Rumour has Nashville is interested in adding a top-six forward, and that might give Arvidsson a better linemate for next season.
5. David Perron
Perron just had a career-high shooting percentage and his second-highest goal total despite missed 25 games, and wound up with 23 goals on 20.5 per cent shooting. That’s way above his 12.8 per cent in 2017-18 and also double the four-year average of 10.2 per cent going into this season. One thing to note is that he did up his shot pace this season to 1.96 shots a game, his highest in four years. Regardless, expect a big regression next season for the 31-year-old, although he could reach 23 goals again if he can stay healthy.
4. Tomas Hertl
We’ve been waiting for Hertl to break out for a few seasons, and fantasy general managers who were patient were rewarded this year with a 35-goal, 74-point performance. Of course, the goal total was based on him shooting 19.9 per cent, compared to an 11.3 average shooting percentage before this year. Now, there are lots to like about Hertl for next season (a consistent increase every season in ice time, power-play time and faceoff wins among them), but there has to be a concern that his shot total hasn’t risen. If he takes another 176 shots next year and goes back to that 11.3 per cent average, he only 20 goals.
3. Matt Duchene
Duchene has always had a high shooting percentage, but this year was extreme, especially for him. And especially during his time in Ottawa. Going into this year, he had averaged a 12.4 per cent shooting percentage. He then shot 21.4 per cent with Ottawa, leading to 27 goals in 50 games. He came back down with an 8.7 shooting percentage with Columbus, but his overall 18 per cent shooting on the season is more than five percentage points over his average and still beat his career high by three percentage points. Just another reason to be concerned about your team overpaying for him as a UFA this offseason.
2. Max Domi
It’s funny to think about now, but a year ago there was a lot of doubt about Domi and his goal-scoring ability. He had nine goals in each of the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, and his shooting percentage was a measly six per cent in 2017-18. Plus, of those nine goals in 2017-18, four were empty netters, which drove up both the goal and shooting percentage. Then he explodes for 28 goals on 13.8 per cent this year. It will be interesting to see if he can keep this up with Montreal.
1. Joe Pavelski
Pavelski is one of those interesting cases, where he’s a clear leader in San Jose and just potted 38 goals, but there is some debate about whether the Sharks can afford to re-sign him as they have too many players whose contracts are up. The soon-to-be 35-year-old’s goal total and shooting percentage had been declining for a number of years until this year, when he posted a 20.2 shooting percentage. It wasn’t too long ago he was in the high teens, but his career average before this year was 11.9 per cent, and he was at 9.8 per cent in 2017-18.