The 10 Worst Shootout Options In The NHL

Last night, watching the negative reaction to Tom Renney’s selection of Shawn Horcoff for shootout duty, I was struck by how poorly a player’s shootout ability is reflected in his overall offensive totals (Horcoff has, when used, been one of the league’s best shootout options).

So I decided to look at who the worst shootout players in the game (min. 20 shots) have been, and it’s quite a list. Among the skaters on the list are numerous major award winners – guys who have led the league in total goals, total points, and been named the NHL’s most valuable player. The Canucks, Oilers and Maple Leafs are all represented. One of them even shows up on the highlight video above.  Like I said, it’s quite a list.

10. Sam Gagner

Eight goals on 37 attempts – 21.6% success rate.

It was 2007-08, and the Oilers were thrilled with the development of three young stars – Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson, and most of all Sam Gagner. Gagner started his NHL career with a shootout splash, scoring early and often, but after a hot start slowed down, finishing with five shootout goals on 17 attempts. Since then, he’s gone 3-for-20.

9. Martin St. Louis

Six goals on 29 attempts – 20.7% success rate.

Winner of the Hart, Art Ross, Lester B. Pearson and Lady Byng trophies, Martin St. Louis is regarded as one of the league’s finest offensive players. The diminutive sniper recorded 99 points last season, his fifth consecutive year with 80+ points.

8. Stephen Weiss

Six goals on 31 attempts – 19.4% success rate.

The Florida Panthers’ top center has forged a reputation as a two-way player, but has never lived up to the offensive expectations that went along with his draft number and the comparisons to Steve Yzerman before he’d ever played an NHL game. One of the places where he has particularly struggled is on the shootout.

T6. Steven Stamkos

Four goals on 21 attempts – 19.0% success rate.

The name ‘Stamkos’ is synonymous with offensive production, but not in the shootout. The 2010 ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy Winner as the NHL’s most lethal goal scorer went 0-for-7 in 2010-11 and scores on less than one in five of his shootout attempts.

T6. Daniel Sedin

Four goals on 21 attempts – 19.0% success rate.

Last season’s scoring leader is yet another player who struggles once overtime ends. Sedin scored a career-high 41 goals last season and has recorded 29 or more in each of the last five seasons, but he simply hasn’t been able to get it done in the shootout.

5. Michael Ryder

Five goals on 28 attempts – 17.9% success rate.

Michael Ryder has made his name as an offensive option in the NHL, especially on the man advantage. He was a key member of some potent Montreal power plays shortly after the NHL lockout, and everywhere he has played he has been one of his teams’ top options in that situation. In the shootout, however, Ryder has been found wanting.

4. Tim Connolly

Four goals on 23 attempts – 17.4% success rate.

Tim Connolly is one of the best in the league at puck-handling at speed, and in any situation – whether it be on the power play, at even strength, or even while shorthanded. Despite a wide array of moves and undeniable ability, he’s recorded just four goals in nearly two dozen tries in the shootout over his NHL career.

3. Dany Heatley

Four goals on 26 attempts – 15.4% success rate.

The 2002 NHL Rookie of the Year has hit 39+ goals six different times. He’s hit the 50-goal mark twice. His career shooting percentage (15.2%) is well clear of the NHL average and one of the better numbers in recent memory. Yet he’s scored only four shootout goals in six seasons.

T1. Martin Havlat

Three goals on 20 attempts – 15.0% success rate.

Martin Havlat has managed 512 points in 621 career NHL games. 209 of those points have been goals. He’s a superb offensive player whose only problem has been a penchant to get hurt – and yet, he’s one of only two players in league history to score just three shootout goals on at least 20 attempts.

T1. Jeff Carter

Three goals on 20 attempts – 15.0% success rate.

The player who shares the crown with Martin Havlat as the NHL’s worst shootout player is none other than the Columbus Blue Jackets’ primary off-season acquisition, Jeff Carter. The one-time 46-goal scorer has topped 30 in each of the last three seasons, but the goals refuse to come in the shootout.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    It’s funny how in Calgary you can see this disparity with two players both on the top line. Tanguay – their best shoot-out guy last year, while Iggy has struggled big time in the shoot-out.

    I agree with what’s been said in that so much of it is mental.