Which teams (and players) are the best (and worst) at shootouts?

shootout1.jpgIt’s more than a mild understatement to say that shootouts aren’t popular with hardcore hockey fans. That being said, I think that we often take our distaste for the “glorified skills competition” too far.

At least in one area: analysis. Rarely do you hear a player touted for his penalty shot kills, unless it’s to be somewhat derisive (see: Jussi Jokinen before he broke through with the Carolina Hurricanes).

Yet, whatever you may say about shootouts themselves, a smart NHL team should try to wring out every point they can out of shootouts. So studying “what works” and “what doesn’t” actually makes plenty of sense, even if that can be a very inexact science itself.

John Kreiser of NHL.com put together an interesting compilation of stats regarding the last five years of the shootout. Let me point out some of the most interesting numbers.

First, a look at the most and least successful teams in the shootout.

Does practice make perfect? — The Rangers, Oilers and Boston Bruins have been the most active participants in shootouts. All have taken part in 65, with the Oilers winning 39, tying them with Dallas and New Jersey for the most in the shootout’s five-year history. The Rangers are next with 37 wins, while the Bruins have won 31 and own a shootout-record 34 losses.

At the other extreme, the Carolina Hurricanes have been involved in only 37 shootouts — and won just 17 of them. Calgary has taken part in only 38 and has just 14 victories, the fewest of any team.

He brings up the guys who were perfect in the shootout, with most of them only managing such a task by going 1-for-1. The exceptions were two borderline NHLers who went 3-for-3: Mike Santorelli and P.A. Parentau. Conversely, Chuck Kobasew, Paul Stastny and Taylor Pyatt are the most “snakebitten” shootout players.

shootout2.jpgFinally, here are a few details about the goalies who have had the most success. One might not surprise you, but the other could raise a few eyebrows.

Super stopper — Several goaltenders have had excellent seasons in shootouts, but it’s hard to envision anyone topping the performance Mathieu Garon turned in for Edmonton in 2007-08.

Garon was only 16-18 in games decided in regulation and lost his only overtime decision. But he was flawless — and nearly unbeatable — in shootouts. Garon was a perfect 10-0 for the Oilers, who set an NHL single-season record with 15 shootout wins (Phoenix came within one of that mark in 2009-10). Garon was 5-0 at Rexall Place and 5-0 on the road while allowing just two goals on 32 attempts, a .932 save percentage. He stopped all 14 attempts he faced in the five road wins.


Another Brodeur best — Perhaps not surprisingly, the winningest goaltender in NHL history is also No. 1 in shootout victories. Martin Brodeur tops all goaltenders with 34 wins in the shootout, four more than Atlantic Division rival Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers. Brodeur is an equal-opportunity winner — he has 17 shootout wins at home and 17 on the road.

Brodeur took part in 10 shootouts last season, moving him back in front of Lundqvist for the most shootouts by a goaltender, with 52. Lundqvist (30-21 lifetime) is next with 51; Marty Turco, who recently signed with Chicago after spending his career with Dallas, is third with 50.

Perhaps it makes a bit of sense that Brodeur and Turco are strong in the skills competition since their styles are a little more based on athleticism and unpredictability.

You have to wonder if teams like the Calgary Flames might want to put a little more emphasis on the shootout going forward. Considering that they fell just short of the playoffs last year, getting those “charity points” could mean a lot. Sadly enough, they could even make or break the Sutter brothers.

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    Bergevin agrees to multi-year contract extension with Habs

    Marc Bergevin
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    Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has agreed to a multi-year contract extension that runs through 2021-22, the club announced today.

    “This new agreement brings added stability for our organization and particularly for our hockey operations. It enables us to continue our efforts in giving our fans a winning team,” said Habs owner Geoff Molson in a release. “Marc is an excellent general manager who quickly made an impact in the league with his leadership skills and his ability to identify the needs and find the personnel to assemble a championship team.”

    Bergevin was named GM in May of 2012. The Canadiens have made the playoffs in all three seasons of his tenure, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals in 2014.

    Still, it’s going to take time before we can truly judge his work, as is the case with any GM that’s only been on the job a few years. The lone player that Bergevin’s drafted that’s made it full-time to the NHL is Alex Galchenyuk. How the likes of Michael McCarron, Nikita Scherbak, and Noah Juulsen develop remains to be seen.

    For Bergevin, the lengthy contract extension is a nice reward, and a strong vote of confidence that he’s on the right track.

    “I am very pleased with his work and the results he has achieved since his appointment as general manager,” said Molson.

    We asked David Poile if he’d trade a defenseman, and you won’t believe what he said…

    David Poile

    “I’m supposed to tell you the answer to that?”

    I was hoping he would. But I guess David Poile didn’t want to tell me all his plans for the Nashville Predators. How disappointing.

    The question I’d asked him, in a phone interview Wednesday, was one he’d been asked before, and one he’ll surely be asked again — would he trade one of his star defensemen for help up front?

    “We are very happy with our defense corps,” Poile said, like a politician repeating the party line. “It gives us a chance to be competitive and have a chance to win every game, along with our goaltending.”

    But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t consider it.

    “You’re always trying to improve your team. That’s what a manager’s job is,” said Poile.

    “When the right time is there, when the deal is there. Whether it’s today, tomorrow, the trade deadline, whether it’s in the summer, trade or free agency situation, we’ll do whatever we can to improve our team.”

    Start the trade rumors! Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen? Now you come up with one.

    I mean, who hasn’t looked at the Preds’ roster and not wondered? All those defensemen. No young, elite center. Teams that win the Stanley Cup always have an elite center. Right now, Nashville’s top center is 35-year-old Mike Ribeiro. Its second-line center is another 35-year-old, Mike Fisher.

    And what’s worth remembering about Jones is that the Preds never expected to get him.

    “In the draft three years ago, there were four outstanding players, three of which were forwards,” said Poile. “We had the fourth pick. I think everyone thought Seth Jones was going to go either one, two, or three. And we were very comfortable taking one of those three forwards, because that’s what we needed.”

    But then Colorado took Nathan MacKinnon, Florida went with Aleksander Barkov, and Tampa Bay called Jonathan Drouin‘s name.

    “There’s no regrets with that,” said Poile. “That just made a good defense even stronger.”

    The Preds did manage to get some promising forwards in the next two drafts, including 19-year-old Vladislav Kamenev, currently with Nashville’s farm team in Milwaukee. Perhaps he’s a future number-one center.

    “In our system, we have three or four pretty good potential forwards coming,” said Poile. “I think before you look outside the organization, you always want to look inside the organization.”

    OK, fine, fair enough.

    P.S. — Shea Weber to the Oilers?

    Related: Nobody’s got a better blue line than Nashville

    Calgary waives second goalie of the year — this time, it’s Ortio

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    Many people — your author included — thought it was a bad idea when Flames GM Brad Treliving entered this season with three goalies on the roster.

    Now we’re starting to see why.

    On Tuesday, Calgary exposed another goalie to waivers — Joni Ortio has been placed on the wire, per TSN.

    The move comes just over a month after the Flames put Karri Ramo on waivers, with no takers — and since being recalled from AHL Stockton, Ramo inherited the No. 1 gig from Jonas Hiller and ran with it, starting each of Calgary’s last 11 games while playing every minute.

    Ortio, meanwhile, hasn’t seen any action since allowing six goals to Montreal on Oct. 30.

    Today’s transaction likely means that Hiller is ready to return from the hip injury that’s kept him out since late last month. He skated with the club on Monday and could soon reconnect with Ramo to form the combo that backstopped Calgary to a surprising playoff appearance a year ago.

    Of course, many wonder if that duo will still work.

    The numbers on both goalies are pretty bad this year. Ramo’s 6-8-2 with a 3.12 GAA and .898 save percentage, while Hiller is 2-3-0 with a 3.67 and .861.

    Things also don’t promise to get any easier for the Flames in the near future. They have back-to-back road games in Arizona and San Jose this weekend, then return home for three games against three of the NHL’s highest-scoring clubs: Dallas (most goals for in the league), Boston (fourth-most) and the Sharks (11th-most).

    As for Ortio, it’ll be interesting to see if anybody takes a flier. He’s young (24), cheap ($600,000) and has shown very well at the American League level, earning a spot on the All-Rookie team in ’13-14.

    Missing McDavid: Yakupov’s goalless drought now at 15 games

    Cononor McDavid, Nail Yakupov
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    When Connor McDavid went down with a broken collarbone, many expected his linemates — Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov — to be adversely affected.

    But probably not this affected.

    Yakupov — who, prior to McDavid getting hurt on Nov. 3, had 10 points in 12 games — has gone in the tank offensively since losing his running mate.

    The Russian’s goalless drought (which, to be fair, began while McDavid was still playing) is now at 15 games, and he’s failed to score a point in seven straight — all of which is a cause for concern for head coach Todd McLellan.

    From the Edmonton Journal:

    When does [McLellan] say “he’s got to score a goal.”

    “We’re at that point now,” the coach said.

    “He’s had some great looks,” said McLellan.

    There are a few issues at play here.

    Chief among them is that Yakupov’s gone from skating with Pouliot and McDavid to Mark Letestu and Matt Hendricks — and no offense to Letestu and Hendricks, but that’s a significant downgrade in offensive talent.

    So when Yakupov does get time with the likes of Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl, it’s usually on the power play — which only ratchets up the pressure to score (because who knows when the next power play will come?)

    McLellan acknowledged the team needs to set up Yakupov more — “we’ll work with his linemates to help him, we’ll get him out on the power play where his strengths are,” he said — but, like any coach, stressed that the player needs to help himself out, too.