In one-year leagues, one of the categories that I specifically aim to win is shots.
My thinking on this is pretty basic. A player who takes plenty of shots is more likely to score, more likely to be getting lots of ice time and power-play time and more likely to be playing with other elite players. So, players with high shot totals are more likely to help in numerous other categories.
However, looking at total shots doesn't always paint the clearest picture. Injuries or suspensions can make it seem like a player had a decrease in shots when the opposite may have been true. Just look at Brendan Gallagher. His 226 shots this year was his lowest total since 2016-17, but his shots per game was a career-high 3.83 and eighth highest in the league.
One thing that sometimes jumps out at fantasy general managers is when they notice a player has a reduction in shot rate one season compared to the next. The bigger concern for those GMs should be noticing players who have consistently seen a shot rate decrease over several years. One bad season could be attributed to many things. A few declining years is more of a trend and cause for concern.
Below are 10 players that have seen a declining shot rate in every season since the 2016-17 campaign. This gives us four years to look at, which leans more toward a trend. Keep in mind this doesn't guarantee the players on this list will continue to see a decrease next season (Patrice Bergeron, for example, saw his shot rate bounce back this year after a few bad years), but it is something to keep in mind.
By looking at a few years, it also takes away players such as Ryan O'Reilly, whose shot rate plummeted from 2.85 a year ago to 1.66 this season. That is concerning, but O'Reilly had four straight seasons of increases before this year's drop.
For this list, I looked at forwards who scored at least 10 goals a season and defensemen who have taken at least 100 shots. Anything lower, and you're not drafting those guys for shots or offense anyway.
10. Justin Faulk
A few seasons ago, Faulk was averaging three shots per game while posting a 40-point pace, playing 23 minutes a night and was always a threat on the first-unit power play. While his production dropped slightly over the next couple of years, his shot rate also decreased to 2.78 and then 2.65 last season. This year, he wound up in St. Louis, where his power-play time dropped by almost two-thirds and his shot rate dropped to 2.13 per game. It appears the days of him getting 200 shots per season seems to be over.
9. Aaron Ekblad
If you compare Ekblad's drop from four years ago to now, it seems like a massive decline. However, his decrease in shot rate is not as bad as it first seems. Four years ago, he was at 3.31 shots per game, which then dropped to 2.30 to 2.20 to 2.19 over the next few seasons. However, let's put that 3.31 number into context. That was easily a career high, and in his five other seasons, his shots-per-game number ranged from 2.1 to 2.33.
8. Jakub Voracek
Voracek was averaging 3.09 shots per game in 2016-17, and that cratered to 1.91 shots per game this season. That's almost 100 few