PAVEL BURE AWARD/BEST SHOOTOUT SHOOTER: PATRICK KANE
By Matt Larkin
Was Patrick Kane perfect in shootouts? No, and some guys were, including the Blues’ Andy McDonald, who went 4-for-4 in 2012-13. But Kane tied with Blackhawks teammate Jonathan Toews for the league lead in attempts with 11.
He converted six of those (54.6 percent) and when he did, he made it count. Kane’s three shootout-winning goals tied Corey Perry for tops in the NHL and all came on the road. That’s what you call clutch.
And let’s face it – the fact No. 88 does it with flair doesn’t hurt his cause. He’s just fun to watch. Kane often slows his momentum to a crawl as he stalks a goaltender, something players are usually told not to do, as it makes the attempt too predictable(see: Allison, Jason), but his hands are so quick that he can dangle a keeper when practically standing still.
Kane is our deserving shootout champ, not because he’s flawless, but because his team trots him out there in pressure situations so often and he delivers so often – usually in a highlight-reel manner.
(Five points for first place vote, three for second, one for third)
Patrick Kane – 40
Andy McDonald – 14
Craig Smith – 12
Corey Perry – 7
Alex Steen – 5
Jonathan Toews – 3
Matt Cullen – 3
Logan Couture – 3
Alex Ovechkin – 1
Zach Parise – 1
Jakob Silfverberg – 1
GILLES VILLEMURE AWARD/BEST SHOOTOUT GOALIE: ANTTI NIEMI
By Matt Larkin
Antti Niemi is a serious Vezina contender and, hopefully, each NHL GM voting factored shootout performance into his decision.
Niemi tied for the league lead in starts with 43, so it was fitting he faced the second-most pucks in shootouts at 33. He posted a .727 save percentage and compiled an 8-4 record, leading the NHL in shootout victories. On a Sharks team that struggled to an 8-14-2 record away from home, Niemi was 3-0 in road shootouts. He was San Jose’s MVP regardless of the situation.
Ryan Miller was a close second in voting for this award, going 7-3 with a .742 SP, but Niemi’s sample size was so large at 12 games – a quarter of the 48-game schedule – that he was too influential on San Jose’s place in the standings to ignore. Viktor Fasth was 5-1, but his .650 SP implies his teammates won those shootouts by scoring a lot.
Tip of the cap to Ben Bishop, who was perfect in four shootouts with an .842 SP. Maybe the big fella will find this award on his mantle next season.
Antti Niemi – 33
Ryan Miller – 29
Ben Bishop – 20
Viktor Fasth – 6
Sergei Bobrovsky – 1
Henrik Lundqvist – 1