Florida Panthers Goal Scorers Are Present and Scoring


Over the past three NHL seasons (from 2012-2015), the Florida Panthers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for having the league’s lowest shooting percentage in all situations.

The Cats only converted on 8% of all of their shots on goal, while teams such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, Washington Capitals, and Calgary Flames all scored at a 10% or higher clip over that same time span.

The low shooting percentage certainly hurt the team; despite taking 6369 shots over that time span (good for 13th in the league), the Cats only scored 495 goals. For sake of comparison, the Ducks only took five more shots than the Panthers (6374), but scored 130 more goals (625).

Fans over the past three seasons have gotten used to the Panthers’ roster lacking a true goal scorer; after putting up great numbers in the team’s playoff season, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Fleischmann, and Stephen Weiss all saw their point totals plummet, mainly due to drops in shooting percentage. Now, some of this was regression; the trio had an on ice shooting percentage of 9.6% at 5 on 5 in 2011-2012, which is above average and bound to experience some regression, but bad luck also played a role; Fleischmann in particular would have a personal shooting percentage below 7% from 2013-2015 (the other two were playing for different teams by then).

With that trio on the decline, the offensive talent in South Florida from 2012-2015 was severely lacking. During the lockout shortened season, Tomas Kopecky led the team in goals, while Brad Boyes was the team’s best goal scorer during the 2013-2014 season. Even last year, though the team had Nick Bjugstad and Brandon Pirri both eclipse the 20 goal mark, the Panthers still only managed 198 goals; the fifth lowest total in the league. This low total was driven by the team’s 7.9% SH%, a number that ranked 26th in the league.

The 2015-2016 season is still young, but the scoring for the Panthers has taken off, and the team currently sits in 7th place in terms of goals for per game, a drastic improvement from the low ranking from last season (25th). Most of this has been driven by the team’s 11.4% SH% in all situations, as the team actually features bona-fide goal scorers for the first time in a while.

First and foremost of these players is Jaromir Jagr, who is on an incredible scoring pace, netting six goals and adding four assists in eight games. The 43-year-old is currently scoring on 26.1% of his shots, which is an insanely high percentage and entirely unsustainable, but it’s reasonable to think that Jagr could at least finish the year with an above average shooting percentage, something that the Panthers haven’t seen from a top line winger in quite some time.

Overall, the team has seven players (including Jagr) scoring on over 15% of their shots so far this season. The list contains Reilly Smith, Nick Bjugstad, Connor Brickley, Quinton Howden, Aleksander Barkov, and Vincent Trocheck, as well as the aforementioned Jagr.

Any number over 10% can usually be expected to regress to the league average, so look for some of these players to cool off despite having hot starts. That being said, it’s clear that the goal scoring ability of this year’s team is much improved compared to the past three seasons, and for fans that are used to watching the team struggle to score, the offensive explosions have to be a beautiful sight.

The offensive talent in South Florida is alive and well this season, and though it may not continue at its current pace, the Panthers should finish the year with a shooting percentage that is at least close to league average. The offensive talent in 2015-2016 is much better than the talent that was present from 2012-2015, and the team won’t be finishing near the bottom of the league in shooting percentage. Hopefully the extra goals scored result in a playoff berth for the Cats.

Next: Florida Panthers Prospect Report

More from The Rat Trick