Top 10 Players with a High Offensive-Zone Percentage

Tom Collins

2022-08-01

Offensive zone start percentages may not be a category in your fantasy league, but it might go a long way to determining who might be the next big breakout candidate.

Usually, players with high offensive zone starts are broken into two categories: Elite scorers and those who are awful on defense. However, starting in the offensive zone can lead to more scoring opportunities. After all, a player starting in the offensive zone 65 percent of the time should be getting more scoring opportunities as it should be easier starting 15 feet from the other team’s net instead of 200 feet.

Here are 10 players who had high offensive zone starts this past season (minimum 20 games). Let’s not include the obvious players such as Patrick Kane and Alex Ovechkin. Instead, let’s focus on some of the players you might not realize were as high as they were. For context, remember that even most of the top elite players hover around 60 percent: Auston Matthews was at 61.4 percent this past season, Cale Makar had 60.1 percent, Nikita Kucherov at 58.7 percent, Sidney Crosby with 63.2 percent and Connor McDavid at 57.4 percent.

For the curious, the all-time highest offensive zone starts since the NHL began keeping track in 2009-10 was 84.8 percent by Mike Ribeiro in 2015-16 (minimum 15 games played) and he was routinely around 70 percent or higher in the last four years of his career.

10. Thomas Harley

The 20-year-old Harley had a forgettable rookie season, with four points in 34 games (and two of those points came in the last three games). He had zero power-play time and averaged fewer than 14 minutes a night. However, he started in the offensive zone 65.5 percent of the time, the second highest among all rookies last season and tops for rookie defensemen. With John Klingberg now in Anaheim, there will be even more offensive zone starts available. Harley may be able to poach some of those and hopefully start getting more offense.

9. Owen Tippett

Tippett will be an interesting case this season. Last year, he started in the offensive zone for 63