Top 10 Worst Faceoff Guys

Tom Collins

2020-05-18

Every once in a while, you'll read about a fantasy general manager punting a category in a league that counts several peripherals.

This is a nice way of saying that the GM will ignore that particular statistic when drafting and instead focus on everything else. Usually, the punted category is plus/minus, but I feel like faceoffs are generally ignored.

Most of the time, fantasy GMs only think about faceoffs when drafting a true faceoff stud (i.e.- Ryan O'Reilly or Jonathan Toews) or when drafting a centre that can also slot into a wing position.

Most leagues only focus on faceoff wins, but some include faceoff losses as a category. Even if your league does faceoff wins only, it's important to take note of those players who are consistently losing more draws than they win.

As a few players on this list will show, someone who routinely has trouble with the faceoffs could end up taking less of them each season. This would hurt your chances in that category. For some players, being awful at faceoffs could take away other opportunities, such as finding a home on the top-line power play. There are a few reasons why Jonathan Toews is on the top power-play unit in Chicago despite having only eight power-play points. One of those reasons has to be that he wins 64 per cent of the draws on the man advantage, so he winds up taking 74 per cent of all of Chicago's power-play draws.

A few criteria for the list. First, the player has to take plenty of faceoffs. It doesn't matter if a player is only winning 30 per cent of his draws if he only takes 50 a year. This also means that you'll see a lot of elite centres on this list as they are going to be on the ice more than others.

We're also going to be looking for players who have years of ineptitude at the dot. One bad year is not enough to make this list.

10. Mark Scheifele

Since Scheifele has been a full-time player in 2013-14, he's had one season with a faceoff winning percentage above 50 per cent, and that was when he hit 51.3 per cent in 2017-18. Since then, he hasn't been good. One thing going in his favour is that there is no one really to usurp him in the faceoff dot. This year, he took 1,289 faceoffs in 71 games, an average of about 18 per game. Broken down even further, with his winning percentage of 46.9 per cent, that's an average of only eight faceoff wins per game.

9. Jack Eichel

We all know that Buffalo struggles in almost every part of hockey, but maybe nowhere as much as in the faceoff circle. They had eight players take at least 100 faceoffs this season, and Curtis Lazar was the only player above 50 per cent (he was at 51.3 per cent when the season was suspended). If you remove Eichel and Lazar out of the equation, the other six players averaged a winning percentage of 44.3 per cent. This is a long way of saying that Eichel took 1,311 faceoffs (winning 614 — or 46.8 per cent – of them) because the Sabres have no other options. If Buffalo ever gets a player that can routinely win faceoffs, you will likely see Eichel's faceoff wins start to drop as he would be taking less draws.

8. Evgeni Malkin

Malkin's inefficiencies at the faceoff dot should be the stuff of legend, but he was strangely good this season. This year, he won 50.3 per cent of his dra