Top 10 High Offensive Zone Starts

Tom Collins

2020-08-31

Last week, we looked at fantasy-relevant players that had significant more defensive zone starts than in the offensive zone.

For some of these players, that usage has hindered their offense. After all, starting in the defensive zone means you're 200 feet away from scoring.

However, starting in the offensive zone doesn't always help either. As I mentioned last week, generally speaking, two types of players get offensive zone starts: Elite scorers and those awful on defense. This week, I thought we should look at players that get favorable offensive zone starts.

Below are 10 players that had favourable offensive zone starts (minimum 20 games).

To keep it simple, I won't be looking at truly elite players such as Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon or Jack Eichel. In fact, except for one or two players, everyone on this list could be considered a disappointment this season. Because they get so many starts in the offensive zone, you can't count out a rebound next season if the same usage continues.

10. Jesperi Kotkaniemi

The Canadiens tried a lot of things to get Kotkaniemi going this year, but nothing worked and he was eventually sent to the AHL. One of those things they tried was to give him a ton of offensive zone starts. Starting in the offensive zone on 64.2 per cent of his shifts was the 10th-highest percentage in the league. Last season, that percentage sat at 61.73 percent. He's struggled offensively in these two seasons, but players in their first couple of seasons generally get favorable zone starts. 

9. Vincent Trochek

For most of his career in Florida, Trocheck started the majority of his shifts in the defensive zone, reaching almost 60 per cent in 2017-18. Strangely enough, that year with the highest defensive zone starting percentage was his most productive as put up 31 goals and 75 points. This year, his number of offensive zone starts skyrocketed to 58.2 percent. I'm thinking that after he struggled last year and early this year, Florida was hoping the offensive zone starts would be beneficial. They weren't. However, in 55 games with Florida, 60.8 percent of his shifts began in the offensive zone. In seven games with Carolina, that dropped to 49 per cent (and 50 per cent in eight postseason games).

8. Vince Dunn

I touched upon this last week when talking about Parayko, but Dunn coul