My previous two articles ranked NHL teams and active NHL goaltenders from best to worst in the shootout. Now we turn our attention to the shootout specialists who often times aren’t the best players during regulation time but become lethal snipers in the shootout.
Let’s take a look at the three most lethal skaters in the shootout and figure out what makes them so dangerous (minimum 20 shot attempts):
#3 – T.J. Oshie
While it’s no surprise to see Oshie on this list it is a little shocking that he fell to number three overall. Since his first shootout goal the Blues knew they had something special. Most of Oshie’s fame comes from the 2014 Sochi Olympics where he scored 4 shootout goals against Bobrovsky and the Russians. In his career he’s 31 for 59 (52.5%) in the shootout.
What makes Oshie so dangerous is his vision and versatility. He’s comfortable with a variety of dekes and usually skates in slowly to see where the goalie is exposed. Oshie had an off year last season (by his standards) going 4 for 11 in the shootout, however in 7 seasons he’s never had a shootout percentage lower than 33.3% and should be able to bounce back with his new club.
#2 – Frans Nielsen
If you’re not an Islanders fan you might be a little surprised to see Nielsen ranked this high. With a career scoring percentage of 52.8% (38 goals on 72 attempts) and 16 game deciding goals, Nielsen has been absolutely clutch in the shootout for the last 8 years.
In his first few seasons Nielsen used the same move almost exclusively, and it worked. Coined “The Danish Backhand of Judgement”, Neilsen used the signature move in his first shootout attempt ever and continued to utilize it with regularity until 2010. Neilsen still pulls off the move occasionally but often uses a quick wrist shot instead, which has proven to be equally effective. Neilsen went 5 for 12 in the shootout last season (41.7%).
#1 – Jakob Silfverberg
Silfverberg didn’t have it easy when he first came into the NHL. His first three shootout attempts were against Brodeur, Lundqvist, and Price. He scored against all three. Since 2013 he’s scored on 14 of 23 attempts (60.9%), going 9 for 13 last season (69.2%).
If you watched the videos of Silfverberg scoring on Brodeur, Lundqvist, and Price you’ll notice a trend, he does the exact same move every time. Silfverberg keeps it simple, comes in with a ton of speed and releases a quick shot. Typically when a goaltender knows someone is going to shoot they’ll come out of their crease to cut the angle and cover the net better. Because he comes in with so much speed goalies are forced to stay deeper in the net which gives Silfverberg more net to shoot at.
Fun Fact: In the 2014-15 season, Silfverberg had more shootout goals than the Los Angeles Kings (5), Tampa Bay Lightning (5), and Carolina Hurricanes (8).
Using a 20 shot attempt minimum means there were a number of skaters who were excluded from the top 30 who would have made the cut otherwise. Below are five skaters to watch out for in the coming season:
Evgeny Kuznetsov – 8 goals on 15 attempts (53.3%)
Vladimir Tarasenko – 9 goals on 19 attempts (47.4%)
Mika Zibanejad – 9 goals on 19 attempts (47.4%)
Kevin Shattenkirk – 7 goals on 15 attempts (46.7%)
Gustav Nyquist – 8 goals on 19 attempts (42.1%)
The full rankings for active NHL skaters (min 20 shots) can be found here: