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Strudwick Struggles To Shoot The Puck

Pass.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Pass. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Content © 2010 Getty Images All rights reserved.via

As I was reviewing the Edmonton Oilers' year-end stats, something struck me -- Jason Strudwick's lack of shots on goal.  19 shots on goal in 72 games seemed to be extremely low, so I went back and reviewed a post I made earlier in the season.  In December I looked at the players with the fewest shots on goal in a single season since the NHL began keeping shots on goal statistics.  Hired knuckles made up the entire list. 

This time around, I dove a bit deeper to find out exactly where Strudwick ranked all-time.  I limited the qualifying seasons to 60 games played as that seemed to me to be the best approximation of a regular player.  Famous enforcers Stu Grimson, Dave Brown, Eric Godard and Dan Kordic appear multiple times.  The top 25 is made up of 22 goon seasons and 3 roster regulars. 

It makes sense that fighters would dominate the list.  They aren't on a roster to actually play the game, so shooting is likely not a priority.  If hard-pressed, I'm sure I could work out some twisted logic whereby it made sense to keep someone on the roster that cannot shoot the puck, and somehow justify the existence of the goon.  However, I'm much harder pressed to find a reason to keep a player on an NHL roster that appears multiple times on this list and doesn't have a high number of penalty minutes or is renown for being some sort of all-time defensive specialist.  In fact, the only player fitting the description of defensive specialist that appears twice in the top 100 seasons is Lew Morrison, an ace penalty killer and outstanding defensive forward that was victimized by the expansion draft not once, but twice, by the Atlanta Flames and Washington Capitals and ended his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Jason Strudwick appears four times in the top 100.

The chart below is sorted by shots per game.  Ten years ago Strudwick posted what was then the 20th-worst season in shots per game for the Vancouver Canucks when he was able to get off only 18 shots in 63 games.  He posted the lowest penalty minutes of anyone on the then top 25.  His futility in 1999 has since been outdone a number of times and that season now ranks 28th all time.  His low-water penalty minute mark has since been tied by Jassen Cullimore.  This season, Strudwick bested (worsted?) his previous mark.  His 2009-2010 season comes in 19th-worst all time and once again, Strudwick has established a new low in penalty minutes with 50.


Player Name Year Team GP SOG SOG/G PM
Stu Grimson 1998 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 73 10 0.137 158
Jim McKenzie 2003 Nashville Predators 61 10 0.164 88
Dave Semenko 1987 Toronto Maple Leafs 70 12 0.171 107
Stu Grimson 1992 Chicago Blackhawks 78 14 0.179 193
Eric Godard 2007 Calgary Flames 74 14 0.189 171
Dan Kordic 1997 Philadelphia Flyers 61 12 0.197 210
Stu Grimson 1997 Carolina Hurricanes 82 17 0.207 204
Darren Langdon 1997 New York Rangers 70 15 0.214 197
Ken Baumgartner 1998 Boston Bruins 69 15 0.217 119
Dave Brown 1993 Philadelphia Flyers 71 16 0.225 137
Stu Grimson 1996 Hartford Whalers 75 17 0.227 218
Derek Boogaard 2005 Minnesota Wild 65 15 0.231 158
Riley Cote 2007 Philadelphia Flyers 70 17 0.243 202
Wade Belak 2006 Toronto Maple Leafs 65 16 0.246 110
Rob Ray 1999 Buffalo Sabres 69 17 0.246 158
Jassen Cullimore 2006 Chicago Blackhawks 65 17 0.262 64
Darin Kimble 1993 Chicago Blackhawks 65 17 0.262 133
Tyler Wright 1998 Pittsburgh Penguins 61 16 0.262 90
Jason Strudwick 2009 Edmonton Oilers 72 19 0.264 50
Dave Brown 1992 Philadelphia Flyers 70 19 0.271 78
Matt Johnson 1997 Los Angeles Kings 66 18 0.273 249
Dan Kordic 1996 Philadelphia Flyers 75 21 0.280 210
Ron Delorme 1983 Vancouver Canucks 64 18 0.281 68
Eric Godard 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins 71 20 0.282 171
Tony Twist 1997 St. Louis Blues 60 17 0.283 105


Fun Fact:  Strudwick's .383 shots per game career average would be the 83rd lowest single season since the NHL began recording shots data.  He appears six times in the worst 175 qualifying seasons of lowest shots ratio.

Fun Fact II:  4 of the worst 200 seasons won a Stanley Cup, or 2%:  Gordie Roberts in 1990-1991 and 1991-1992 with the Penguins, Glen Wesley in 2005-2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes and Joe DiPenta in 2006-2007 with the Anaheim Ducks.  Since shots data has been kept, 3% of seasons have won a cup.

Fun Fact III:  Lew Morrison recorded only 107 penalty minutes in 564 career games.  However, 70 of those penalty minutes came in 202 games with the Flyers.  The other 37 were stretched out over 362 games with other teams.  Morrison cut his penalty minutes rate by 2/3 after leaving the Flyers.

Fun Fact IV:  The Pittsburgh Penguins lead the way with 24 entrants in the top 200.

I should note that if the games played minimum in the qualifying seasons is dropped to 50, three amazing seasons head up the list.  Jim Kyte's 7 shots on goal for the Winnipeg Jets in 1983-1984 and Darren Langdon's 6 shots on goal for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2000-2001 may seem impressive, but they can't touch the leader.  The king of shooting futility is...Barry Fraser first round pick Francois Leroux who played 59 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1996-1997 and managed only 5 shots on goal.  Nice work Barry.