One of my favourite things in the world is hearing people talk about an elite sniper in the midst of a scoring slump.
I don’t know if there is a more questioned and harassed scorer in the NHL than the Montreal Canadiens’ captain, Max Pacioretty.
Through 30 games so far this season Pacioretty has a not-so-astounding 8 goals, and 9 assist for a total of 17 points. Not numbers that anyone is happy with, Pacioretty included. His non-world shattering pace this season, coupled with being snake bitten in the playoffs last year has lead to an onslaught of the masses by the Montreal fan base and media against the team’s captain.
Exactly one year ago today, Andrew Berkshire of Sportsnet was faced with this exact situation. Hilariously enough, Pacioretty had amassed 7 goals and 18 points this far into last season. In case you were wondering how his season ended, he had 35 goals, and 67 points, to lead the Canadiens (a playoff team) in both goals and points.
I am willing to bet my left kidney he’ll do the same again this year.
Don’t believe me yet? Here’s more fun facts about the elite talent of Max Pacioretty.
- So far this season Max Pacioretty has taken 123 shots, which puts him on pace for over 336, which would easily be a career year in shot volume.
2. Over the course of his career he has managed to score on 11% of his shots, this season he’s doing so on only 6.5%. Numbers that are that low, compared to a career average never stay that way.
3. For those of you that would like to respond with the really boring hockey cliche of “he only shoots from the outside” please refer to the below shot maps for Pacioretty this season. Look at the obscene amount of shots taken from the slot. These are areas player can score from with regularity.
4. Over the past 4 seasons he has scored 141 goals for an average on 35.25 goals a season.
5. He has scored over 30 goals in every full season he has played since 2010-2011.
6. In the past 4 years Pacioretty’s 5v5 goal scoring (which is by far the most frequent playing time) is second to only Ovechkin.
The man is an elite hockey player, there are no debates about that have any credibility.
Still not convinced? Well I don’t know how to help you. His playoff performance last year was superb. I understand he did not score but the man took 28 shots on net, many from good areas on the ice.
Luck is a serious factor in the NHL. Pacioretty has had bad luck before and he will again (as he is right now), but he has enough track record to prove that for every slump, he has a hot streak just as long and powerful. Good goal scorers are streaky, that’s just how it is.
There are very few scorers with the ability of Max Pacioretty, so enough of the questioning, he’ll score 30 goals again this year and we’ll all be really happy.
When he gets traded for a second Andrew Shaw, just remember what his value actually is. Talent like that is rare, and the Habs have already dumped one superstar in the past few years, let’s not do this again.