Top 10 surprising shootout players
Although some NHL fans hate the shootout, many fantasy leagues are finding ways to make them seem more important.
Many leagues use shootout goals as a category. Heck, I was in one league once that used shootout goals, and shootout-winning goals (the NHL calls them game deciding goals) as two separate categories.
These leagues make guys like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Logan Couture even more valuable. And of course, top shootout guys make their goalies more valuable in fantasy hockey by helping them securing a few extra wins throughout the season.
For this list, we’re looking at the top surprising shootout stats, both good and bad. Also, some teams have had so few shootouts (Minnesota, Dallas and Vancouver have only had three shootouts each) that it’s too difficult to notice any trends for those teams.
And of course, with any type of list like this, it’s important to note we’re dealing with a small sample size. The top shootout player has just 11 shots, and just 15 players have seven or more. But in a fantasy category like this, a whole season is a small sample size, and at some point you have to try to draw some conclusions from it.
10. Kyle Okposo
Okposo is five-for-seven on the season, and has three game deciding goals. Both of those numbers are good for second in the league. It’s a little surprising because before this season, he wasn’t called on a lot in the shootout. Last year, he was two-for-three, but seven teammates had at least three shots. The year before, he never attempted a shot. In 11-12, he was zero-for-two. He had a couple of zero-for-four seasons earlier in his career. This year, he’s been called on in every single shootout for the Islanders, and has been successful. No one saw that coming.
Datsyuk is one of those guys who highlight shootout reel goals mask his actual record. While everyone concentrates on goals like this, it’s easy to forget that he’s not as good at the shootout as he used to be. In his last three seasons before this one, he’s just nine-for-26. This year, he’s just two-for-six. Almost equally surprising is the fact that teammate Henrik Zetterberg has taken just three attempts in Detroit’s seven shootouts this season.
8. Ryan Getzlaf
What’s surprising about Getzlaf’s numbers isn’t his record (he’s 0-for-2 on the season), but the fact he’s been stapled to the bench for most shootouts. The Ducks have gone to 11 shootouts, and Getzlaf has been used in just two of them. Last year, he was used in six of the team’s eight shootouts. Of course, Getzlaf has never been much of a shootout guy (just nine-for-26 in the last five years), but you would think that one of the team’s top offensive weapons would be used more often.
7. John Tavares
For all the offensive talent Tavares has, he’s simply not a good shootout guy. This season, he’s two-for-six, which is a little better than his career average. Look at his career numbers:
He’s only had one season where he’s been at least 50 per cent. And overall, he’s 11-for-39. By comparison, Tavares’ teammate Frans Nielsen is 12-for-22 the last season and a half.
Every Canadian remembers Toews and his shootout prowess at the 2007 world junior championships. And for the most part, he’s continued that trend into the NHL (he was seven-for-14 last season). This year though, there’s been a major downgrade, as Toews has just two shootout goals on six attempts. This is probably more of a blip than a sign that’s he declining like Datsyuk, but those who were counting on Toews to be a rock star in the shootout have to be pretty disappointed this season.
5. Anze Kopitar
After a slow start to the season, Kopitar has been on fire for the last month, getting 22 points in his last 14 games. But that success hasn’t translated over to his shootout numbers, as Kopitar is zero-for-seven in the shootout. Many King players are struggling this year, as L.A. has just a 1-7 shootout record, and the whole team has combined for two shootout goals (this goes back to the part earlier about the goaltenders: Jonathan Quick has a 16-11-9 record: Four shootout wins instead of losses, and it’s a more respectable-looking 20-11-5).
Philadelphia has gone to a shootout six times this season, and Giroux is the only Flyer to have taken a shot in every single one of them. Yet, he has just one goal, a far cry from his five-for-11 stat last year. Going into this season, Giroux was a career 17-40, and in the previous three seasons, he was 12-for-23. Much like the Kings, all the Flyer players are having trouble scoring in the shootout (a combined five-for-24). I often wonder when something like that happens (and like the New Jersey Devils the past few years), if there’s been a change in philosophies with coaching staff that could lead to players approaching the shootout a little differently.
3. P.A. Parenteau
After a hot start to the season, Parenteau has cooled off, but his shootout skills have been dynamite all year. Parenteau is four-for-six so far this season, and all four goals have actually been game deciding goals (the four GDGs lead the league). His success is somewhat surprising, as he was one-for-four in Colorado last year, and the Habs have lots of solid shootout options in Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec and a host of others.
You could easily do a top 10 of Jokinen shootout goals, and he’s generally been near the top of the league in many other years. But for some reason, he’s not able to get it going this year with the Panthers, despite plenty of opportunity. Jokinen is just two-for-10. On the bright side, he’s going to continue to get plenty of opportunities, as no one on the Panthers can score in the shootout (the team is a combined 15-for-57, which seems high until you remember the 20 shots against the Capitals in the longest ever shootout earlier this season). With no one else able the score, and Jokinen’s history, he’s still the main guy in Florida for that role.
1. Jakob Silfverberg, 7 for 11
Fun fact: Silfverberg has more shootouts goals in 11 attempts than he has non-shootout goals in 46 games. Silfverberg is an amazing seven-for-11 in the shootout, easily tops in the league for goals. Yet, he has just six regulation goals. For his part, Silfverberg says he’s just been lucky this season. But for leagues with shootout statistics, his impact has won some poolies some very tight matchups.
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