Brad Boyes, Best Shootout Specialist In NHL?

As the Blues have continued to pile up the victories and defy preseason prognostication, they've been strong in the shootout, largely thanks to the incredible shooting of Brad Boyes. Head coach Davis Payne continues to slot Boyes as the crucial middle shooter and Boyes has responded with some of the best moves of the skills competition in the league this year. It's a good thing because it's frankly the only thing keeping his head above water on this team.

I give you Exhibit A of Boyes' skill in the shootout, his game winner at Boston Saturday night.


Let's talk the cold hard stats that says Brad Boyes is among the elite in the league in the shootout the last two seasons, Exhibit B.

So far this year, Boyes is three for three in the shootout, the most in the league. Only four other players have more than one shootout goal on the young season. Teammate T.J. Oshie is among the group. The others? Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Toews and Mike Ribeiro. But that's a small sample size. Let's include last year. In 2009-10, Boyes scored seven shootout goals, just one off the lead of eight goals held by four players: Sidney Crosby, Radim Vrbata, Kopitar and Toews. Let's put that in perspective.

So combining the shootout goals from this season and last, Boyes is tied with the captain of the defending Cup champions and the rising superstar leading the other team in the hottest team in the Western Conference argument. Remember, Boyes has but one goal on the season. He scored 14 last year. That means he has five more regular season goals than shootout goals in that time span. Kopitar has 38 regular season goals in that span, Toews has 30.

Somehow Boyes has morphed into possibly the best shootout specialist in the league, a player you tolerate on your roster knowing he's there for after overtime. Boyes has been a mess on the ice during regular play. He has two goals since the Blues last lost at home back on March 21. He is tentative, skittish with the puck. When he gets it, he holds it too long giving the defense time to adjust. When he puts weight behind his shot, he dents the glass. When he aims, the puck flutters in the breeze or hits the goaltender right in the crest on his jersey.

So while I've written about Boyes begrudgingly becoming my Least Favorite Player, his prowess in the shootout is almost enough to redeem his crappy play during regulation and overtime. Remember, he's making $4 million this year and next, basically to make one trip down the ice if the game isn't settled after 65 minutes. That's a lot of cheddar for a couple of penalty shots.

So fair commenters, what do you make of Boyes' skill in the shootout? Why can't he translate it to the regular part of the game? Please, give us your opinions down below. And remember to come back tonight for the patented, frolicking, boisterous, cussy St. Louis Game Time Game Day Thread. It's quite a scene man. Don't miss it.

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