On October 5th, 2005 Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley scored the leagues first shootout goals, burying the Leafs 3-2 at the Air Canada Centre. Since then there have been 11,166 shootout attempts, 3,630 goals scored, and 1,583 shootouts played.
The shootout has produced every highlight imaginable from Dennis Wideman’s flop to the Datsyukian Deke and of course Marek Malik’s heroics in the 15th round against the Capitals. With the 2015-16 season almost underway let’s review the last 10 years of shootouts and hand out awards to the best and worst teams.
WINS, LOSSES & GAMES PLAYED
Most Shootouts Played: Florida Panthers (121)
Fewest Shootouts Played: Carolina Hurricanes (74)
Most Shootout Wins: Buffalo Sabres & Pittsburgh Penguins (65)
Most Shootout Losses: Florida Panthers (72)
The Panthers have played the most shootouts and have the most shootout losses, an unfortunate combination. The Hurricanes had only 74 shootouts in 786 games played, meaning roughly 1 in every 10 games went the distance. The next fewest shootouts played were by the Calgary Flames where roughly 1 in every 9 games went to the shootout.
The Sabres and Penguins tied for a league high 65 shootout wins. To determine the true winner I looked at which team did it in fewer games. The Penguins played 104 while the Sabres played 116. Advantage Pittsburgh.
There are some teams who score a ton in the shootout and others who just haven’t been able to figure it out. Here are the teams with the most and least shootout goals:
Most Shootout Goals: Buffalo Sabres/New York Islanders (148)
Fewest Shootout Goals: Carolina Hurricanes (67)
Since the Sabres and Islanders tied in goals scored the tie breaker comes down to who did it in less shots. Buffalo scored 148 goals in 429 attempts (34.5%) while New York did it in only 398 attempts (37.2%). The Carolina Hurricanes have the fewest shootout goals, which is understandable considering they also have the fewest shootouts played.
What about conversion rate; which teams have had the best and worst shooting percentages?
Highest Scoring Rate: Colorado Avalanche (39.3%)
Lowest Scoring Rate: Florida Panthers (26.3%)
The Colorado Avalanche have scored 134 times in 341 shootouts attempts making them the most efficient scoring team in the league. Runners up include the Blues (37.5%), Islanders (37.2%), Penguins (36.6%), and Wild (36.6%).
In contrast, the Panthers have had a difficult time getting pucks in the net, on average scoring once every four attempts. The Lightning and Bruins weren’t much better, scoring on roughly 27% of attempts.
A goaltender has the potential to make or break any game, and in the shootout they’re relied on more than ever. Here are the teams who have allowed the most and least goals against in the shootout:
Most Goals Against: Florida Panthers (150)
Fewest Goals Against: Carolina Hurricanes (82)
After posting the lowest scoring rate in the league the Panthers take to the podium again receiving the award for most goals against. On average they let in 1.2 goals per shootout which doesn’t pair well with their 0.95 goals for per shootout.
On the other hand the Hurricanes have allowed the fewest goals against, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since they’ve played 12 less shootouts than the next closest team. What may be surprising is that the Hurricanes have 0.90 goals per shootout, the lowest in the league. The Hurricanes, Flyers, Lightning, Panthers, and Bruins are the only teams in the league to average less than one goal per shootout over the last 10 years.
Looking specifically at goaltender performance let’s see which teams have the highest and lowest save percentages:
Highest Save Percentage: Pittsburgh Penguins (72.9%)
Lowest Save Percentage: Philadelphia Flyers (57.6%)
While this may come as a surprise to some the Pittsburgh Penguins have had the best goaltending in the shootout since its induction in 2005-06. The Penguins also have the fourth highest conversion rate in the league (36.6%) giving them a lethal combination of goaltending and scoring efficiency.
The Flyers haven’t had the same fortune, allowing 131 goals on 309 shots against. Other teams with weak goaltending in the shootout include Toronto (60.8%), Calgary (62.4%), and Minnesota (63.1%).
SO WHO ARE THE BEST AND WORST SHOOTOUT TEAMS?
We’ve seen that different teams excel in different parts of the shootout; some have great goaltending but can’t score, others score a ton but give up just as many. What it all comes down to is wins. The teams with the best combination of goaltending and scoring are the ones who most frequently get the extra point. By this logic the best teams in the shootout are the ones with the best winning percentage and vice-versa. Let’s start with the worst shootout team:
Lowest Winning Percentage: Philadelphia Flyers (33%)
With a record 30 wins and 62 losses Flyers fans have earned the right to dislike the shootout. Florida (40%), Carolina (42%), Ottawa (43%), and Calgary (43%) are the runners up for the award. But hold on, where are Detroit and New Jersey, who have created a name for themselves at being terrible in the shootout? Detroit ranked 25th, winning only 44% of shootouts while New Jersey hasn’t done badly with a 61-56 record (52%).
So who’s the best team in the shootout? We saw that Buffalo and Pittsburgh tied for most shootout wins, but which team wins most frequently?
Highest Winning Percentage: Colorado Avalanche (64%)
Colorado holds the best record in the shootout with 63 wins and only 35 losses. The Penguins were close behind with a 65-39 record (63%) while the Stars (58%), Islanders (58%), Rangers (56%), and Sabres (56%) were runners up.
The full rankings can be found below:
|Rank||Team||GP||W||L||Win %||Lose %||S||G||S%||SA||GA||Saves||Sv%|
- Bolded stats represent the highest value in the category
- Italicized stats represent the lowest value in the category