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FORMER LEAF PROJECTED TO SCORE MOST SHORTHANDED GOALS THIS SEASON; ANOTHER CURRENT LEAF IN THE TOP 10

AUG 14, 2022  (13H19)      RYAN SMITHERAM
Last season, at one point, the Leafs were out-scoring their opponents 5-3 while shorthanded and Ilya Mikheyev was on the ice. Now, Twitter user and analytics expert @JFreshHockey has projected Mikheyev to lead the league in scoring the most shorthanded goals per 60 minutes this season.

Mikheyev ranks at the top of the board with 1.06 projected goals for per 60 at 4 on 5. While Mikheyev seemed to have found his scoring touch in the second half of last season, putting himself on pace for a 30-goal season, all Leaf fans know how much he struggles to convert on «easy» opportunities. For Mikheyev to live up to @JFreshHockey's projections, he would need to capitalize on the seemingly countless breakaways he gets every season.

At 0.3 shorthanded (4 vs 5) goals per 60 less than Mikheyev, Pierre Engvall finds himself ranked 8th on the list with 0.86 projected goals/60 shorthanded. Given Engvall's use on the penalty kill and the potential of a larger role with Mikheyev gone, Engvall could very well meet and exceed that projection. However, the same issues that Mikheyev experienced capitalizing on chances, is the same issue Engvall has experienced throughout his career as well.

10 spots farther down the list you'll find Mitch Marner, ranking at 18 with a projection of 0.77 shorthanded goals/60.

JFresh mentions in a follow-up tweet that the most important predictors of scoring short handed is creating shorthanded scoring chances in the past (ixG) and shots. He also mentions that past short-handed scoring has little relationship to the model. Of course, the other major factor that the model doesn't take into account is coaching and how coaches will deploy the players on the list regarding the penalty kill. Mikheyev may see less penalty kill time in Vancouver than he did in Toronto and Engvall could see more while Marner could see less.

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