10 Years of Shootouts Reviewed: Ranking the Best and Worst Teams Since 2005-06

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.

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SCORING

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.

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GOALTENDING

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%).

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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%
1 COLORADO 98 63 35 64% 36% 341 134 39.3% 342 99 243 71.1%
2 PITTSBURGH 104 65 39 63% 38% 355 130 36.6% 354 96 258 72.9%
3 DALLAS 105 61 44 58% 42% 402 136 33.8% 398 110 288 72.4%
NY ISLANDERS 111 64 47 58% 42% 398 148 37.2% 397 126 271 68.3%
5 NY RANGERS 110 62 48 56% 44% 404 128 31.7% 405 112 293 72.3%
BUFFALO 116 65 51 56% 44% 429 148 34.5% 424 129 295 69.6%
7 WINNIPEG/ATLANTA 106 58 48 55% 45% 371 125 33.7% 372 113 259 69.6%
8 SAN JOSE 111 58 53 52% 48% 393 131 33.3% 394 122 272 69.0%
NEW JERSEY 117 61 56 52% 48% 384 137 35.7% 388 130 258 66.5%
10 ARIZONA/PHOENIX 111 57 54 51% 49% 412 137 33.3% 415 133 282 68.0%
ST. LOUIS 111 57 54 51% 49% 363 136 37.5% 364 124 240 65.9%
LOS ANGELES 113 58 55 51% 49% 423 143 33.8% 415 140 275 66.3%
MINNESOTA 113 58 55 51% 49% 383 140 36.6% 390 144 246 63.1%
EDMONTON 112 57 55 51% 49% 419 129 30.8% 424 128 296 69.8%
CHICAGO 118 60 58 51% 49% 414 142 34.3% 415 139 276 66.5%
16 MONTREAL 102 51 51 50% 50% 343 103 30.0% 351 109 242 68.9%
17 TAMPA BAY 93 46 47 49% 51% 332 88 26.5% 329 93 236 71.7%
COLUMBUS 106 52 54 49% 51% 375 120 32.0% 361 112 249 69.0%
NASHVILLE 102 50 52 49% 51% 343 107 31.2% 356 115 241 67.7%
20 VANCOUVER 105 50 55 48% 52% 359 111 30.9% 366 123 243 66.4%
21 ANAHEIM 109 51 58 47% 53% 394 129 32.7% 394 135 259 65.7%
22 BOSTON 115 53 62 46% 54% 416 111 26.7% 418 122 296 70.8%
WASHINGTON 105 48 57 46% 54% 408 125 30.6% 403 135 268 66.5%
24 TORONTO 97 43 54 44% 56% 307 101 32.9% 306 120 186 60.8%
DETROIT 107 47 60 44% 56% 382 119 31.2% 371 125 246 66.3%
26 CALGARY 86 37 49 43% 57% 297 93 31.3% 295 111 184 62.4%
27 OTTAWA 96 41 55 43% 57% 346 110 31.8% 338 122 216 63.9%
28 CAROLINA 74 31 43 42% 58% 229 67 29.3% 229 82 147 64.2%
29 FLORIDA 121 49 72 40% 60% 437 115 26.3% 443 150 293 66.1%
30 PHILADELPHIA 92 30 62 33% 67% 307 87 28.3% 309 131 178 57.6%
  • Bolded stats represent the highest value in the category
  • Italicized stats represent the lowest value in the category
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