The Ducks captain has been playing like dynamite in this year’s post-season, but there’s still room for criticism and Anaheim’s coaching staff has been pushing the issue – within reason.
“As a set-up man he’s right up there with the best in the world,” coach Bruce Boudreau said on Friday. “We all want him to shoot more…You have to honor the fact that if he does shoot it’s a great shot. He’s just really good at playing off and faking it and giving it to other people. Believe me, as coaches there’s times during the course of the year we could wring his neck because he doesn’t shoot it.”
It’s not controversial to say that Getzlaf is among the NHL’s best centres. He’s a pass-first guy, typically, and that’s been effective.
Last season, he put in a career-high 31 goals. This season, he had 25 goals and a total of 70 points in 77 regular season games. Through it all, Getzlaf’s shooting percentage has remained roughly the same. The 2014-2015 season found him at about 13.1 percent, with 191 shots on goal over the course of the year.
Only the 2011-2012 season saw a drop in shooting percentage, where he fired at only 5.9 percent and had just 11 goals.
One can surmise from this data that, yes, Getzlaf should shoot the puck more. He’s apparently really good at it, but he’s also really good at making use of his options. And on the Ducks, he has one prime option in Corey Perry.
“There’s games where I think I have opportunities to shoot that I don’t,” Getzlaf said. “Sometimes I kick myself for it. Most of the time I try and go out there and execute what I feel is the best fit for that play. Game Two I think I had 14 attempts at the net, which is unheard of for me. It was a little uncomfortable. Perry gave me hell after the game. But that’s just the way the relationship works.”
Getzlaf has two goals so far this post-season and he has 34 shots on goal in 12 games. His shooting percentage is 5.9 percent, like in that “dreaded” 2011-2012 season. Is this a major problem? No, but it does suggest that things aren’t lining up like they usually do.
Sometimes it’s luck. You don’t get the bounces and all that. And it’s hard to say that the line of Perry, Getzlaf and Patrick Maroon has been missing out on anything at all, especially with Getzlaf rounding out some nice assists and holding the unit together. In that end, the Ducks will get points whether or not he shoots the puck. But the coaches simply think it would be nice if he did.