January 04, 2011
Last season, Tomas Kopecky(notes) of the Chicago Blackhawks won 52 of the 118 faceoffs he took, for a winning percentage of 44.1. That placed him sixth on the team for players with at least 100 draws on the season.
That below-average number is Selke-quality in comparison to this season, in which Kopecky has a faceoff winning percentage of 35.2, losing 79 of the 122 draws he's taken. That makes him dead-ass last on the Blackhawks this season for faceoff leaders, and one of the worst faceoff men in the NHL in 2010-11.
Who joins him on this prestigious list through Monday night's games? Glad you asked.
For comparison's sake, the three best faceoff men in the NHL so far this season are David Steckel of the Washington Capitals (291-168, 63.4 percent), Manny Malhotra(notes) of the Vancouver Canucks (435-253, 63.2 percent) and Jim Slater(notes) of the Atlanta Thrashers (185-116, 61.5 percent).
Here are the 10 worst faceoff men in the NHL so far this season based on winning percentage, for players with at least 100 faceoff attempts. The first set of numbers is home faceoff stats, then road, then overall faceoff numbers.
Alex Burmistrov(notes) of the Thrashers, Derek Stepan(notes) of the New York Rangers and Marcus Johansson(notes) of the Washington Capitals are all rookies this season, and obviously learning their way around NHL-level faceoff competition. There are tricks to this trade.
Patrick Dwyer is in his third year for the Carolina Hurricanes, and was the worst player on the roster last season percentage-wise in faceoffs with 34.8 percent. (Ruutu was at 40.4 last season, but in 47 attempts.)
Ryan Malone(notes) of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Blake Wheeler(notes) of the Boston Bruins are wingers taking an unusual number of draws this season: Malone had 97 in 69 games last year, while Wheeler had 27 in 82 games last season.
Finally, Evgeni Malkin(notes) of the Pittsburgh Penguins could be the worst star player on faceoffs in the NHL, among star players that actually take a good number of draws. Last season he was at 40 percent on 498 draws; the year before that he was at 42.4 percent on 668 draws; in 2007-08, he was at 39.3 percent in 890 draws.
UPDATE: A few of you have asked about the bottom faceoff guys if we just restricted it to centers and if we only included players that, say, had more than 200 draws this season (an average of five per game, roughly). Here are the bottom 10:
1. Marcus Johansson, Washington Capitals (252 draws/37.7 percent)
2. Derek Stepan, New York Rangers (364/38.2)
3. Alexander Burmistrov, Atlanta Thrashers (419/39.1)