Among the plethora of things that went wrong for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2017-18 NHL season, two of their top players experienced season-long scoring droughts that were fueled, in part, by shooting percentages falling well under their career averages.
How are Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and the rest of the Blackhawks faring in that statistic this season? Let’s munch some numbers and find out.
Last season, Saad was down at 7.6 percent, well shy of his career mark of 11 percent.
He’s rebounded to a 12.7 figure this season, with nine goals on 71 shots — including last night’s empty-netter. Even if you remove the aforementioned empty-net goal, Saad’s shooting percentage would still be at 11.4 percent — much closer to his career marks. He’s also on pace for about 24 goals this season after scoring just 18 last season.
Toews’ numbers have bounced back as well.
He was at a 9.5 percent shooting percentage in 2017-18 and just 10.6 the season before that, both nowhere near his career average of 14.1. Through 33 games this season, Toews is converting on 15.7 of his shots on goal, scoring 14 times on 89 shots. That’s just part of the reason why Toews already has 14 goals after scoring 20 and 21 goals, respectively, in the last two seasons.
While we’re here, let’s examine a few other players. Patrick Kane is up to 12.1 percent (15 goals on 124 shots) after posting a figure of 9.5 in the prior season. His career mark is 12.0 percent, so Kane is another player converting shots at a more appropriate rate, based on their career marks.
He doesn’t have enough of a sample size to make a career average worth mentioning, but Alex DeBrincat is shooting at a 14.3 percent clip after a mark of 15.5 in his rookie season, which are awfully impressive numbers.
Here are some career marks from the game’s most prolific scorers:
- Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine is at 18.1
- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos is at 16.6
- Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin is at 12.6
- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby is at 14.6
- Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid is at 14.1
DeBrincat is only in his second season and sustaining that high of a shooting percentage is far from a guarantee. But there’s a reason why the Blackhawks were so high on DeBrincat’s abilities while he was torching the OHL, and DeBrincat has proved so far that his skills can translate to the NHL level.