The Seven is an arbitrary list of randomly connected hockey subjects that will run every Thursday on Puck Daddy. Agree to disagree.
Some of you may feel the empty-net goal is a way for NHL players to pad their stats with "cheap," unguarded tallies.
Others may see them as a symbolic tribute to a players' defensive prowess: If he's good enough to be out there during the waning moments of the game, protecting the lead, then putting the game away with an empty netter is a just reward.
It's a benefit/honor many NHL players get multiple times in a season. Yet it's also one that, for whatever reason, has eluded some significant names in the NHL so far in their careers.
Here are The Seven NHL Stars That Have Yet To Score An Empty Net Goal (in the regular season, mind you).
7. Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
Big Buff has 81 career goals in 376 career games. Alas, he's usually found in front of his opponents' crease during the game rather than at the other end of the ice near the end.
6. Derick Brassard, Columbus Blue Jackets
We'll assume Brassard would love to score an empty netter. There are probably many players on the Blue Jackets that do. Problem is Rick Nash scores, like, all of them: 12 empty-net goals since 2007-08. Brassard has 44 goals in 244 NHL games.
5. Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils
When he's in the lineup, Zajac's the kind of player one expects to see in late-game situations as a solid two-way center. But the Winnipeg native has 90 goals in 416 and none of them have been into an empty net. Yes, Marty Brodeur has more empty netters than Zajac. Go figure.
4. Drew Stafford, Buffalo Sabres
In fairness to Stafford, when you have Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville out there sniping for the empty net, your services aren't always required. Stafford has 102 goals in 366 career games.
3. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
In only his third NHL season, Benn's a relative newbie. But he's also a player with 58 goals in 195 career games, all of them scored with the net guarded.
2. Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators
Not exactly unexpected given that he only had 36 career goals in 511 NHL games, but defensive partner Shea Weber has a few empty-netters playing in the same kind of late-game situations as Suter does.
1. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
We're as surprised as you are.
Granted, Giroux's role with the Flyers has dramatically changed over the years, and he's really coming into his own now as the kind of defensively responsible player you'd want in a late-game situation. But 253 NHL games, 68 goals and not a one of them into an empty net. Meanwhile, he has one empty-netter in the playoffs after 40 games.
UPDATE: This article was published around 5:30 on Thursday night. Roughly four hours later, in Philadelphia:
What, no Jagr? Giroux's first empty-netter in the regular season.
Previously on Puck Daddy's The 7
The 7 Ugliest NHL All-Star Game Jerseys
The 7 best hockey toy commercials
The 7 Ilya Bryzgalov HBO spinoffs we'd pay to see
The 7 Sean Avery fights that aren't completely terrible
The 7 great skater vs. goalie collisions that resulted in hilarity, chaos
The 7 NHL players with mind-blowing career plus/minus ratings
The 7 NHL journeymen nearing Mike Sillinger levels of relocation
The 7 neglected NHL fan pages we love
The 7 players we'd pay to watch in an NHL shootout
The 7 NHL veterans still livin' the dream in minor leagues
The 7 most heartwarming stories of the NHL preseason