shootout stats

Wojtek Wolski gives Panthers a slight shootout boost

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To some, the Florida Panthers’ acquisition of Wojtek Wolski seemed like nothing more than a low-risk Hail Mary for a decidedly up-and-down player. That’s mostly true, but the team also insisted that he would boost a problem area: shootout efficiency.

Harvey Fialkov points out that the team is a relatively successful 3-3 in the skills competition since adding Wolski, claiming that it’s “no coincidence.”

Wolski is 2-for-6 in shootouts with the Panthers, his first keeping the session alive until Dmitry Kulikov’s game winner in a 3-2 victory over the Sabres on March 17. Then on Tuesday, after a Wolski wrist shot gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first period, he tallied the lone shootout goal in a 3-2 comeback victory over the Canadiens.

… So Wolski’s had a hand in getting the Panthers six points to help pad their Southeast Division lead to five points over the sinking Capitals.

It does seem like Wolski’s had his helpful moments, but claiming that he’s had a significant part in Florida acquiring those six points is a bit much. In fact, his role in that success has very much been a “coincidence” in many cases.

Instead, it’s probably more accurate to say he’s played a big role in adding two extra points to the ledger with the aforementioned shootout tying and winning tallies. After all, how can you really make a difference in your four missed opportunities? Making the other goalie tired? Perhaps giving your fellow shootout partners a hint?

Now, while that does downgrade his accomplishments a bit, keep in mind that two points aren’t anything to sneeze at. If the Panthers didn’t have those, their Southeast Division lead would be cut down to three points – and that’s assuming everything would turn out the same otherwise.

(Doc Brown would remind you that might not have been the case.)

Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers prove to be kings of the shootout


Earlier this afternoon, we took a look at the best forwards in the often-criticized “skills competition” known as the shootout. While Adam Gretz revealed that Los Angeles Kings forward Jarret Stoll might have enjoyed the best single shootout season, our all-time study produced names like Jussi Jokinen, Brad Richards and Pavel Datsyuk.

For the sake of completion, it seems right to also look at how goalies and teams fared. We’ll start with two netminder categories and then keep it simple by looking at the teams who’ve won the most games via the shootout since it premiered during the 2005-06 season.

In the first goalie category, let’s take a look at which goalies win the most. There’s one big caveat, though: while they are listed by quantity of wins, netminders who were below or near .500 were taken off the list. It wouldn’t be that impressive to include Tim Thomas when he’s 23-26 or Roberto Luongo when he’s 23-27, would it?

Categories: Wins, losses, save attempts, goals allowed and save percentage.

Goalie Wins Losses SA GA Sv %
Henrik Lundqvist 37 24 237 55 0.768
Martin Brodeur 35 19 191 54 0.717
Ryan Miller 31 20 175 52 0.703
Marc-Andre Fleury 27 15 130 31 0.762
Kari Lehtonen 24 15 127 37 0.709
Jonathan Quick 22 7 109 29 0.734
Rick DiPietro 19 10 123 33 0.732
Mathieu Garon 19 10 99 25 0.748
Johan Hedberg 18 6 93 19 0.796
Jose Theodore 17 9 93 27 0.71
Pekka Rinne 17 9 103 23 0.777


As you can see, the upper portion of the list is dominated by goalies who play a ton of games. That being said, those guys are well above .500, so it seems somewhat fair to call them successful. We’ll see which ones also rank highly in save percentage before we decide for sure, though.

One note with save percentage: it wouldn’t be fair to reward a goalie for a couple nice performances in the shootout, so I limited to netminders with at least 60 save attempts.

Categories: Save percentage, wins, losses, save attempts and goals allowed.

Goalie Sv % Wins Losses SA GA
Johan Hedberg 0.796 18 6 93 19
Pekka Rinne 0.777 17 9 103 23
Henrik Lundqvist 0.768 37 24 237 55
Antti Niemi 0.767 9 7 60 14
Marc-Andre Fleury 0.762 27 15 130 31
Jonas Hiller 0.75 14 8 96 24
Mathieu Garon 0.748 19 10 99 25
Jonathan Quick 0.734 22 7 109 29
Jimmy Howard 0.732 8 9 71 19
Rick DiPietro 0.732 19 10 123 33
Martin Brodeur 0.717 35 19 191 54
Antero Niittymaki 0.716 12 15 95 27
Tim Thomas 0.714 23 26 175 50
Carey Price 0.714 13 13 98 28
Jose Theodore 0.71 17 9 93 27


When you combine wins and save percentage, it seems like Henrik is the “king” of the shootouts among goalies. The smaller sample size group is topped by Hedberg, Rinne and Quick.

Perhaps the most important consideration is how NHL teams have fared in the grand scheme of things, though. To settle this, we can keep it pretty simple: by looking at who won the most and least amount of shootouts. Let’s look at the top five teams first.

1. New York Rangers: 46-31 (92 goals for, 74 against)
2. Dallas Stars: 44-31 (100 goals for, 79 against)
3. New Jersey Devils: 42-25 (88 goals for, 71 against)
4. Pittsburgh Penguins: 42-27 (82 goals for, 62 against)
5. Edmonton Oilers: 41-35 (88 goals for, 82 against)

Notes: I gave the Devils the tiebreaker because their winning percentage is a little higher. The Kings are the only other NHL team to reach the 40-win mark in shootouts.

Now let’s look at the bottom five.

26. Florida Panthers: 24-44 (56 goals for, 82 against)
27. Calgary Flames: 23-31 (55 goals for, 66 against)
28. Carolina Hurricanes: 22-25 (25 goals for, 55 against)
29. Philadelphia Flyers: 19-34 (48 goals for, 71 against)
30. Ottawa Senators: 18-33 (33 goals for, 65 against)

Not too surprisingly, the Rangers, Oilers and Stars were in the top three for most shootout appearances while the Hurricanes, Flyers and Senators made the least appearances. The Rangers have been in 77 shootouts (most overall) while the Hurricanes appeared in 47, making them the only NHL team with less than 50.

Is there much to take from the team totals? Maybe not, although it must be noted that the top five includes four regular playoff teams (and the lowly Oilers) while the bottom five includes four teams who struggle to contend for postseason berths (plus the occasionally mighty Flyers).

It’s dangerous to read too much into those results, but perhaps those teams who rarely make it to shootouts might want to try to hold on in order to reach that point more often. The Hurricanes’ 2010-11 season might not have ended with that crushing loss to Tampa Bay if they earned more than five extra points from shootouts, for one thing.

Shootout stars: The best forwards in the ‘skills competition’

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If you ask many hockey snobs, the shootout is a vile device. In a way it’s the hockey equivalent to a hugely popular but critically reviled rock band. Think of it as the Nickelback or Creed of hockey; millions seem entertained by it, yet admitting as much can bring you shame.

That being said, the shootout is a necessary evil that NHL teams must acknowledge. Considering the razor-thin margin of error you’ll often find in the battles for final playoff spots, franchises have every reason to research ways in which they can increase their chances of success in what many call a “glorified skills competition.”

Last weekend, Adam Gretz tabbed Jarrett Stoll’s 9-for-10 run from the 2010-11 season as the best single campaign in the history of the shootout. Gretz based that determination on percentage, which allowed Stoll’s 10-11 run (90 percent) to best more prolific but less efficient campaigns by Wojtek Wolski (10 for 12 in 08-09 for 83.3 percent) and Jussi Jokinen (10 for 13 for 76.9 percent).

That being said, Gretz presented the biggest problem with dealing with single season results: it’s such a small sample that the findings aren’t very useful. Gretz demonstrated that dynamic by pointing out that Wolski made the best and worst lists. With that small sample size in mind, I wanted to know a little more. To be exact, I wanted to know which players have been the best overall. The shootout has existed for six seasons, so that gives us a more plentiful sample size.

To answer those questions, I’ll tackle forwards in this first post and goalies/teams in the second one. I’m going to look at quantity alone and provide the leaders in two different stats categories supplied by 1. total goals and 2. “game deciding goals” (which appear to be the shootout equivalent to a game-winning goal).

Here’s a table of the top 10 goal scorers in the shootout since its inception. Home attempts, home goals, road attempts, road goals, shooting percentage and game-deciding goals are also provided for your enjoyment. (Total goals are in bold)

Player Home A Home G Road A Road G Goals S% GDG
Jussi Jokinen 28 12 32 16 28 46.7 9
Pavel Datsyuk 25 11 29 15 26 48.1 9
Brad Richards 31 14 29 11 25 41.7 11
Radim Vrbata 25 12 26 12 24 47.1 10
Brad Boyes 25 10 27 14 24 46.2 8
Erik Christensen 20 12 23 11 23 53.5 11
Mikko Koivu 27 16 25 7 23 44.2 10
Ales Kotalik 18 9 26 13 22 50 11
Wojtek Wolski 22 10 28 12 22 44 5
Rick Nash 29 12 29 10 22 37.9 6


Total goals rank as the most relevant stat, but for all of its faults, shootouts can be exciting when a player is given a chance to win the game with a great move. (We all remember the triple deke from “The Mighty Ducks,” don’t we?)

With that in mind, here are the all-time leaders in game deciding goals.

Player GDG
Sidney Crosby 13
Phil Kessel 12
Brad Richards 11
Erik Christensen 11
Ales Kotalik 11
Radim Vrbata 10
Mikko Koivu 10
Martin Erat 10
Jussi Jokinen 9
Pavel Datsyuk 9
Zach Parise 9
Alex Tanguay 9


One can only imagine some sportswriter somewhere will find a way to shoehorn Crosby’s 13 GDG’s into a narrative about his “clutch-ness” (while ignoring Kotalik’s name on this list in the process). You may notice a few names that appear on both lists; Jokinen, Vrbata, Koivu, Datsyuk, Richards, Kotalik and Christensen were in the top 10 in both categories. That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but it does support their overall mastery of the shootout.

One other thing that stands out is Erat’s penchant for scoring important shootout goals. Ten of his 14 career shootout goals decided games and his overall shootout shooting percentage is 37.8 percent. Does that make him the Chris Drury of shootouts? (For supposed “clutch factor” … not getting bought out after getting injured and being paid too much.)

Overall, it seems like Jokinen might be the king of the shootout, although Richards, Datsyuk and Vrbata could make legitimate claims to the throne as well. Either way, NHL teams should keep tabs on which players are most successful in the shootout (and agents might want to keep those stats handy, too). You never know when that might make the difference in a playoff run … just ask the 2009-10 New York Rangers about that.