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Shoot It Like You Stole It

One of the more interesting angles I looked at for the 2005-6 NHL season dealt with Takeaways and Hits that lead to immediate offensive chances. This helped shine some light on those players whose hard work actually provides benefit for their team, as opposed to a more general look at the basic leaderboard for those stats. So who's out there doing the yoeman's work to pave the way for the scorers?

The selection used here reflects Hits and Takeaways that result in an offensive chance (shot, goal, missed shot, or blocked shot against) within the next 10 seconds, for the current season up through the All-Star break.


Top 15 in Offensive Chances Generated From Hits

Chris Neil, OTT

20

Craig Adams, CAR

17

Antii Miettinen, DAL

17

Matt Cooke, VAN

16

Alexander Ovechkin, WSH

14

Erik Cole, CAR

14

Shane Doan, PHX

14

Trent Hunter, NYI

13

Ryan Hollweg, NYR

13

Blair Betts, NYR

13

Mike Fisher, OTT

13

Jeff O'Neill, TOR

12

Patrick Rissmiller, SJS

12

Chad Kilger, TOR

12

Sean Hill, NYI

11

Patrick Eaves, OTT

11

Jordin Tootoo, NSH

11



The usual cast of spear-carriers fills the list here, along with a few elite scorers who aren't afraid to get their noses dirty...



Top 15 in Offensive Chances Generated From Takeaways

Tomas Plekanec, MTL 17
Alexander Perezhogin, MTL 15
Tyler Arnason, COL 14
Alexander Semin, WSH 14
Marian Hossa, ATL 14
Pavel Datsyuk, DET 14
Andrei Markov, MTL 13
Martin St. Louis, TAM 13
Justin Williams, CAR 13
Alexander Ovechkin, WSH 12
Sheldon Souray, MTL 12
Eric Belanger, CAR 12
Dany Heatley, OTT 12
Simon Gagne, PHI 12
Saku Koivu, MTL 12


Methinks either the official scorer in Montreal has a itchy trigger finger on the Takeaway button, or kleptomania is taught as a core piece of their hockey scheme.


Top 15 in Offensive Chances Generated From Hits & Takeaways

Alexander Ovechkin, WSH
26
Chris Neil, OTT 24
Marian Hossa, ATL 23
Patrick Eaves, OTT 22
Mike Fisher, OTT 22
Erik Cole, CAR 20
Antii Miettinen, DAL 20
Shane Doan, PHX 20
Trent Hunter, NYI 19
Tomas Plekanec, MTL 19
Matt Cooke, VAN 19
Fernando Pisani, EDM 17
Craig Adams, CAR 17
Martin St. Louis, TAM 17
Blair Betts, NYR 17
Jarret Stoll, EDM 17
Eric Staal, CAR 17

Comparing against last year's leaders, we find many of the same players among our current rankings, in particular Alex Ovechkin, Trent Hunter, Chris Neil, and Marian Hossa. Probably the biggest name to drop off this list is Brendan Morrow from the Dallas Stars, who posted 35 such chances, tied for second-best in the NHL. When he was promoted to team captain during the offseason, his style of play was singled-out as an example for the rest of the team to follow. This year, however, with only 8 such chances generated, he's on track to produce less than half as many as he did all last season.