Ranking the Top Shootout Specialists in the NHL

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Ranking the Top Shootout Specialists in the NHL
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Which players have the most impact on the shootout?

It can be a hard question to answer, for a lot of reasons. It is difficult to compare goalies and skaters. A comparatively small number of players get opportunities, and even those who do take such a small number of shots, that confidence in their true level of ability isn't easy to generate.

So how does one construct a list of the best players in the shootout? The approach taken here stresses the largest sample size, making use of career numbers, and works for both goalies and skaters.

What we've done is taken the numbers of every active player in the league and compared them to what a typical NHL shooter (32.9 shooting percentage) or goalie (0.671 save percentage) would have done.

The difference is expressed in goals better than average. In other words, if a goalie has allowed 10 goals over his career where the typical goaltender would have allowed 12, he gets marked down as being two goals above average; ditto for a skater with 12 goals in situations where the average shooter would have tallied 10.

This favours goalies somewhat (they face more shots and thus have more opportunity to distinguish themselves), but the truth is that goalies matter more in the shootout—a skater can only contribute one shot in a shootout while a goalie faces all of the opposition's.

The list that follows ranks the top 20 shootout players in the NHL, and also includes the best option from every team, along with their overall NHL rank. Read on to see both every team's most effective weapon and the 20 finest shootout players in the NHL.

All statistics courtesy of NHL.com and current through January 23. For more by Jonathan Willis, follow him on Twitter.

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