Marian Hossa’s return to form may not quite last
Hossa’s goal-scoring ability has returned this season, but there’s reason to believe he won’t be able to keep up a 40-goal pace.
After putting one past Corey Crawford on Thursday in the third period, Travis Zajac tied the game, 3-3, eventually forcing the match into overtime. But despite losing the lead, the Blackhawks stormed back in overtime to win the game. And of course, the man leading the charge was Marian Hossa.
Scoring his 12th goal of the season, Hossa’s overtime goal against the Devils was just a small representation of what has been a fantastic start from him with the Blackhawks. After having one of the worst seasons of his career in 2015-16, Hossa has had quite the rebound, notching 18 points through only 25 games.
Helping lead the Blackhawks charge to their current first place spot in the Central Division, Hossa’s renaissance at age 37 has provided a much-needed boost to the team. However, when taking a closer look at Hossa’s start, there are several troubling factors that suggest he won’t be able to sustain anything close to the current pace he is setting.
Probably the most notable thing about Hossa’s killer start has been his impressive goal total. With 12 goals on the season, Hossa is tied for the sixth-most goals and the eighth highest goals-per-game rate in the entire NHL. However, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to keep up this pace. While he may have 12 goals, Hossa has only taken 57 shots on goal, an average of 2.28 shots per game. Currently sitting at a 21.4 shooting percentage, there’s no way Hossa will be able to maintain a shooting percentage that high.
Last year his shooting percentage was only a measly 6.8 percent and in his career he is only an 11.4 percent shooter. Only in one season in his career was Hossa able to maintain a similar shooting percentage. But that was all the way back with the Ottawa Senators in 2002-03. Hossa’s shooting percentage is bound to drop and, combine that with his drastically declining shot rate, he won’t be able to keep up this scoring pace.
Also hurting Hossa’s sustainability is his usage. At his peak with the Thrashers, he was averaging over 21 minutes per game. And even when he was scoring around 60 points in Chicago, Hossa was averaging 18-20 minutes a game. But last year was the first season Hossa saw his average ice time dip below 18 minutes and his production suffered. Receiving just a little over 17 minutes a game, Hossa’s 33 points in 64 games last year was one of the worst totals of his career. So far this season, things haven’t changed as much with Hossa receiving almost the same exact amount of minutes. Hossa is not being put in the productive situations like he was in his prime (and his first few years in Chicago) and this will make it harder for Hossa to keep up his current scoring pace.
While Hossa won’t sink back to his scoring pace from last year, it will be extremely hard for him to continue scoring like he currently is. With 12 goals and 18 points in 25 games, Hossa is on pace for 41 goals and 61 points by the end of the season. His increased production is nice for now, but don’t expect it to last.