Detroit GM Mathias Lundgren has dug DEEP into the research bowls of BEARD Hockey to provide a detailed ranking of all 32 teams when it comes to shootouts.
Does anyone of us doesn’t like the penalty/shootout part of our beloved hockey games?
The sheer excitement of it, feeling one's heart race as your team's player skates against the goal, puck on the blade, wonder what he will come up with? Will he score, will he not? Or the nervous side to it, as you watch the opposing team’s player skate against your goalie? Will he save will he not? What will the skater do?
All these mixed feelings and the highly anticipated season approaches in BHL drove us here at BeardLeagueHockeyNews or BLHN to look through all the teams, analyze them, and to compile a list of who we think will do the worst and who will be most dreaded for opponents to face…. Starting at the lowest position of the list and work our way up to the top, so we start at the….
…number 32 spot who goes to, EDMONTON OILERS. (63), Pacific.
With what appears to be the weakest shootout in the league with their top penalty shooters being Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Erik Haula, Loui Eriksson, and Kevin Hayes then you know that you have to win during regulation or at least OT and dread if it ends up in a shootout, the only miracle the Oilers could hope for is that Holtby/Merzlikins does a better job then their skaters.
31. BOSTON BRUINS (64), Atlantic.
You think that a team holding names like Stamkos, Hoffman, Konecny, and last but not least Kucherov but that's not the case if you look historically none of these players are known for their blitzing penalty shots. Much like the Oilers, Boston to place their faith in their goalie tandem Binnington/Stalock because find the net is not something they will do!
30. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (65,8), Atlantic.
One name that stands out in the darkness of being Leafs shootout pool is Evgeny Kuznetsov but after him? Who, Dubinsky? Marleau? No, it ends there, sure Dubinsky or Marleau might get a lucky puck in the net from time to time but here we lack and depth at all after the top! They might as well place one of two of their blueliners on the shootout line up.
29. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (66), Central.
Here is another team that might puzzle you, names like Elias Pettersson, Max Pacioretty, Anthony Mantha, and Eric Staal you thought should be able to find the net during a shootout but no, looking back makes it painfully evident that much like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks is a one-man show, Elias Pettersson is the name everyone will have their hopes on.
28. LAS VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (67,8), Pacific.
A team with Alex Ovechkin should always be a terrifying opponent during shootouts, right? WRONG! WROOOONG! In Vegas, you don’t even have the peaks as in the teams below, the only reason why they for some reason has a higher average value among their top 5 penalty shooting players is that they are evenly bad all of them but their worst is still better than the worst of their former teams.
27. OTTAWA SENATORS (68,4), Atlantic.
Not an endless pit of darkness, Ottawa does sport a name or two who actually can manage to score during a shoot out or the rare chance of being awarded a penalty shot. The twinkle in the darkness of our 27th on the list is Nicklas Backstrom, he along with the goalie tandem of Markstrom/Reimer being the 2nd best in penalty shot saves in the league, Ottawa might even win a shot out or two this season.
26. COLORADO AVALANCHE (68,6), Central.
Well, the darkness continues within the bottom 12 of this list, having Matthew Tkachuk as the top, and Corey Perry as the middle and then a free fall with Girgensons, Tatar, and Keller makes them pretty much a none threat and compared to Ottawa, Colorado don’t have a high ranked goalie tandem to hold them in the end game. Still not as pitch black as the teams below them at the bottom.
25. SEATTLE KRAKEN (70,2), Central.
Impressive of this young bunch to not be dwelling in the dark pits of the last place, true they lack a peak as a couple of the former teams have but they do have a broader middle in the form of Bjugstad, Boedker, and Rantanen so they might even have a few more wins than the others before mentioned in this list but still not a lot of them.
24. NEW YORK ISLANDERS (70,8), Metro
The 24th-23th place was a fight between two similar teams, the New York Islanders and the Calgary Flames, the little detail that puts Calgary ahead of the Islanders is but one man, Leon Draisaitl! The Islanders do have capable names in Barkov and Rackell but behind them, they are thin, not much of a backup to be found there.
23. CALGARY FLAMES (70,8), Pacific.
The German Gretzky has he been called, Leon Draisaitl is by himself a one-man show and will for sure develop his shoot out skills during the season, and the depth behind him is slightly deeper than the Islanders but it’s a touch and go, one thing that talks against Calgary are their goalie tandem, Rannta/Kahkonen hasn’t been known to be great on one-on-one situations.
22. MINNESOTA WILD (71,6), Central.
We are starting to find our way to the top of the list still, this is the list of the worst of the worst so either position is bad, there is not much good that can be said here. Brian Boyle is a decent one, also Christian Dvorak is known to find the net from time to time. A D was close to make it into their top 5, Alex Goligoski now that says a lot.
21. WINNIPEG JETS (73,2), Central.
When you top shootout scorer is Kevin Shattenkirk then you know that you are in trouble, combine that with the apparent lack of forward capability in the line, places Winnipeg no higher than at spot 21, the leap from 21 to 20 is quite much as the difference between spot number 21 down to 22. And that's all that can be said about Winnipeg at the number 21 spot.
Now there was the list ranking the 21-32 teams in the league when it comes to the top 5 forward penalty shooters, an interesting detail of this list so far is the spread across the divisions, in these bottom 12, 5 teams are from the Central Division, 3 from the Atlantic, 3 from the Pacific and only 1 team from the Metropolitan. Part two of this series will soon come to the stands where we look at the 10 teams 11-20.
….the number 20 spot goes to, the ST LOUIS BLUES (74,2), Central.
Now things start to happen, the jump from 21st to 20th place is quite the jump, from going to a few peaks if any in the teams we now start to scratch on the multiple peak universe, Sidney Crosby, Paul Byron, and Jordan Eberle are proven skilled shoot out artists even the blueliner Victor Hedman is known to have put some in the net through the seasons. This depth and know-how are unheard of in the teams below apart from a few players.
19. CAROLINA HURRICANES (76), Metro.
This was something not many of us here had expected as the roster of Carolina lacks many names, but one that stands out well two is John Tavares and Andrei Svechnikov, surprisingly only one of these names is a proven shootout artist and that is Svechnikov. That along with the goalie tandem of Bobrovsky/Campbell so don’t count on Carolina to win too many shootouts this season.
18. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (76,4), Metro.
Now, this is a team at least I thought we would find higher in the rankings from the first glance at their roster, holding names like Nathan MacKinnon, Anders Lee, Zach Parise, Kevin Fiala, and Alex DeBrincat all proven scorers but only two of these has proven themselves when it comes to shootouts and that is MacKinnon and Parise so that takes the edge off Philadelphia.
17. FLORIDA PANTHERS (76,6), Atlantic.
So once again we find our selves with two teams getting the same score, so the edge is given to the team with more ”peaks”, and this time Florida is on the losing side of it with their rather bland and flat shootout depth other than the supernova that is Artemi Panarin of course but he is just one man, that along with one of the worst goalie tandems when it comes to shootout statistics Grubauer/Forsberg, well it kind of speaks for itself doesn't it?
16. BUFFALO SABRES (76,6), Atlantic.
The one thing that nudged Buffalo ahead of Florida in this list is the presence of more ”peaks”, the peaks being Frans Nielsen and T.J. Oshie who are at the same level of skill as Panarin at least statistically speaking. That combined with a better goalie tandem, Rinne/Lundqvist gives Buffalo a clear edge over Florida when it comes to shootouts and penalty shoots.
15. VANCOUVER CANUCKS (77,0), Pacific.
Even here we find two teams on the same score, and once again it comes down to the peaks we mentioned earlier at spot 18-17, the proven scorers of Vancouver, Jake Guentzel, David Pastrnak, and Conor Garland might be enough to win games, but if it comes to shootouts it’s not so clear anymore as the few peaks in Vancouver find themselves rather alone reaching towards the sky.
14. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (77,0), Central.
Now, okay 15th place on this list might to many not seem that bad, BUT when you have the massive combined salary of $50’000’000, holding names like Sean Couturier, Patrice Bergeron, Zach Hyman, Patrik Laine, Vladimir Tarasenko, Cam Atkinson, and Victor Arvidsson then it’s a disappointment!
13. MONTREAL CANADIENS (77,4), Atlantic.
Evgeni Malkin, Jamie Benn, Sebastian Aho, Jeff Skinner, and Patric Hornqvist who among these names are the Montreals best shootout artist?? Yes, you are correct it is JOONAS DONSKOI!! Wait, what? In a team with a good amount of proven scorers the best shootout man is Joonas Donskoi, that pretty much says it all.
12. DETROIT RED WINGS (77,8), Atlantic.
Back to back Atlantic teams here at spot 13-14, Detroit is a surprise at spot 13 as their roster lacks the proven scorers other then Dylar Larkin and Alexander Radulov but the experience of players like Jason Spezza, James Neal, and Bobby Ryan along with Radulov puts Detroit in the upper half of this list, combine that with the best goalie tandem, Price/Ullmark when it comes to shootouts then you have a good combination.
11. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (78,4), Metro.
With a roster completely lacking the presence of proven scorers at least if you ask me it comes as a surprise to find Pittsburgh close to the top 10. But if you look at statistics Pittsburgh holds four strong names, Tyler Bozak, Andrew Ladd, Ryan Donato, and rookie Kaapo Kakko and that places Pittsburgh at spot number 11.
And with that, we conclude this part of the shootout/penalty list spots 20-11, among these spots, we find four teams from both Atlantic division, and three from Metropolitan, and two from Central, and just one team from the Pacific division.
Before we continue with the list we need to reflect on the list so far, spot 32-11. Looking at the gaps between the teams, the difference between spot 32 (Edmonton Oilers) to spot 21 (Winnipeg Jets) is 10,2 points which is a lot! Especially as we look at the average value of each team's top 5 shootouts/penalty shot players according to statistics. The difference between spot 20 (St Louis Blues) and spot 11 (Pittsburgh Penguins) is only 4,2 which in itself is a surprise when you look at the difference between spot 32 to 21 which means that the difference between the top spot and the bottom spot is monumental and I can already reveal that difference being 20,6 points!!
Also to look at is the spread of skill among the different divisions, so far we have had four teams from Metropolitan, seven teams from Atlantic, seven teams from Central, and only four from Pacific in the list which tells us that two divisions are stronger than the other two, with that said we should continue the list…..
…..and the number 10 spot goes to NEW JERSEY DEVILS (79,4), Metro
On the number 10th spot we find New Jersey and they are proof of that age and experience wins, Jonathan Toews is the young gun among this shootout group along with names like Nick Bonino, Mikko Koivu, and newly acquired Justin Williams, making the young gun Toews their highest peak at spot number 10 looking up against the top.
9. LOS ANGELES KINGS (79,6), Pacific
Now, this is a detail that surprised the life out of me, who among Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Elias Lindholm, Kyle Conner, Filip Forsberg, and Johnny Gaudreau is the best shootout/penalty shot, artist? Yes, you guessed right, no one. The best on the Los Angeles roster is none other than the well known Brandon Pirri, who? And that is why Los Angeles is at spot 10 and not higher.
8. ARIZONA COYOTES (79,6), Pacific.
Different from the Los Angeles roster to Arizona’s is that here it is the names you expect to be the top penalty/shootout players, Anze Kopitar, Brayden Point, Dominik Kahun, and David Perron. Brayden Point being among the top 10 of all players in the league this with a good depth behind him puts Arizona in the number 9th spot.
7. NEW YORK RANGERS (80,6), Metro.
Connor McDavid pretty much says it all here, the number ONE pick in the dispersal draft, along with names like Jakob Silfverberg, Nolan Patrick, and Jonathan Drouin makes for a dangerous opponent when the time for shootout comes.
6. SAN JOSE SHARKS (81), Pacific.
Now we are starting to approach the teams with depth and more the none artist per shootout line-up, looking at San Jose there is not only the deadly Nikita Gusev but also Mark Scheifele, and Pierre-Luc Dubois, so when your 4th spot is held by young Kevin Labanc we all know that opposing goalies will tremble coming shootout time.
5. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (81,4), Atlantic.
When your number 5 spot is held by Auston Matthews, that kind of says it all. A team that can sport Matthews as the fifth shootout taker the opposing team should think twice about not giving it their all to win the game before shootouts, in front of Matthews we find rookie Kirby Dach, veteran Blake Wheeler, Andreas Athanasiou, and last but certainly least the Norwegian speedster Mats Zuccarello. Dreadful enough, it only gets better from here on up.
4. COLUMBUS BLUEJACKETS (82,2), Metro.
One of the leagues best shootout line-up, with Patrick Kane, Bryan Rust, J.T. Miller, Riley Nash, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins you should and are among the top 5 teams in the league, and that is needed as Columbus sports the 2nd worst goalie tandems when it comes to shootout situations, Murray/Kaskisuo so they need to score again, and again, and again.
3. DALLAS STARS (82,8), Central.
A healthy mix of youth and veterans is said to be the way to go, that is exactly what we find in Dallas, top name Mika Zibanejad, followed by veteran Alexander Steen, then youngster Nick Schmaltz, and again a veteran Josh Bailey followed by Jakub Voracek. Zibanejad, Steen, and Schmaltz are all considered to be shootout artists, so opposing teams should look out because Dallas will not be easily stopped.
2. ANAHEIM DUCKS (82,8), Pacific.
Anaheim does not hold super peaks like Mika Zibanejad in their shootout line up, but they hold more depth, Sean Monahan, Matt Duchene, Logan Couture, Ryan Getzlaf, and Joe Pavelski, I could continue the list but we are only looking at the top five in this list. The bell is going to ring again, and again, and again for Anaheim as shootout time comes.
And now the time we all have been waiting for, the number one spot, the place to be, the throne to guard, at this time the spot is held by….
…WASHINGTON CAPITALS (84,8), Metro.
Alone at the top with a comforting 2 point lead over the closest team Washington is the team to fear the most, Ilya Kovalchuk, Tyler Seguin, Jakub Vrana, Ryan Ellis, and Anthony Beauvillier are the names of the highest average top 5 penalty/shootout shooters in BHL, two players in the top 10 league wise, so my advise to all you other out there, if you are going to beat Washington be sure to do it during regular time otherwise you will get stomped!
This is Ray Nonet for BeardLeagueHockeyNews.net.