It was Wayne Gretzky (or was it Michael Scott?) who once said you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. For the following five guys, taking shots hasn’t been an issue this season — getting them across the goal line has.
1. Justin Williams
The reigning Conn Smythe winner has a career 9.3 shooting percentage and has always been something of a volume shooter. That latter trend’s continued this season, with a team-high 51 shots on goal though 16 games (putting Williams on pace for 250-plus, the same amount he had during his two 30-goal campaigns in Carolina.)
The former trend, though, hasn’t carried over.
The 33-year-old winger has just two goals this season (a 3.9 shooting percentage) and just one in his last 12 games. His production has been flat across the board but especially down on the power play, where he has no goals and just one assist. Following Thursday’s 2-0 loss to Dallas, Williams acknowledged both he and the Kings’ entire man-advantage unit need to be better.
“Our power play has got to score some big goals for us at some point, if not goals then momentum,” he said, per LA Kings Insider. “I don’t know. We’ll get better.”
2. Marian Hossa
Goals have never been hard to come by for Hossa, he of the 466 career tallies and three 40-goal campaigns. Some of that has to do with prolific shot totals — during his Atlanta days, Hossa fired 340 and 341 shots on goal in back-to-back years — and some of that has to do with his career 12.7 shooting percentage.
But much like Williams, Hossa’s current campaign has gone in a different direction.
The Slovak winger is still firing away, with 50 shots through 16 games, but only two have found the back of the net (a 4.0 shooting percentage). His lack of output could be a big reason why Chicago’s struggled to score goals this year; the ‘Hawks sit 19th in the NHL in goals per game (2.56) and, collectively, have a team shooting percentage of 6.7 — fourth-lowest in the league.
3. Mikko Koivu
Koivu’s never been a sniper (his career-high in goals is 22) and has failed to crack the 200-shot plateau in each of the last five seasons, but this year he’s firing away more frequently and sits second among all Wild skaters in shots, with 49.
Yet he only has two goals to show for it — and both came within a four-game stretch.
Koivu’s season has been a story of goalless streaks. It took six games for him to get his first of the year, and Thursday’s 6-3 win over Buffalo marked his sixth straight without one.
“There’s no question — absolutely,” coach Mike Yeo said about whether Koivu (4.1 shooting percentage) was disappointed with his start, per the Pioneer Press. “It weighs on him, but in talking with him, he’s handled it really well. We’ve really liked his game, he feels confident about his game and I think he’s handled not being on the score sheet in a very responsible manner. He’s doing a lot of really good things.”
Koivu’s on record saying he feels like he’s creating chances, and his spike in shot totals would reflect that. It is worth noting, however, that Koivu’s lack of production has often coincided while skating on a line with free agent pickup Thomas Vanek.
Vanek, like Koivu, has struggled to find the back of the net this year with just one goal through 15 games.
4. David Perron
It’s been a tough go for Perron, especially after he scored a career-high 28 goals for the Oilers last year (on a career-high 220 shots). Perron has a 2.4 shooting percentage this season — way down from his career average of 12.8 — and opened the campaign on a 10-game goalless streak.
Lack of secondary scoring is one of Edmonton’s major issues this season, and Perron knows he’s one of the guys expected to provide it.
“Offensively we need support from more than one line, obviously,” he explained, per the Edmonton Sun. ‘It’s on me, it’s on some of the guys on the second and third lines to provide that. We have to be up to the challenge.”
5. Chris Stewart
Much has been made of Buffalo’s ridiculously low shot totals this season — like that night they only mustered 10 against Toronto — which makes Stewart a rather interesting case study.
Stewart has 42 shots, which not only leads the Sabres but represents 10 percent of the teams’ overall total. Which is good. But Stewart has just one goal on the year, a 2.4 shooting percentage. Which is bad.
Like many of the other guys on this list, Stewart’s shooting percentage is down significantly from his career average. At 12.6 throughout his six years in the league, he’s never been a volume shooter (cracking the 200 plateau just one) but has developed a knack for capitalizing on opportunities.
Just not so far.