Who Are the Most Clutch Scorers in the West?

“Clutch” is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit in the world of sports. Clutch scorers are hard to come by in the NHL today. Whether it is a big goal at a crucial point in the game or a defensive-zone shot-block in overtime, being “clutch” is a defining characteristic of champions in the NHL. It can be a difficult thing to quantify, but I’ve done my best to do it here.

Similar to what I did with the best offensive players in the NHL rankings, I have broken down “clutch” into different categories in certain game situations and assigned each one a score. Each category is weighted differently and at the end, everything is added up into a “clutch score”. The players are then ranked by that score.

The categories are only calculated in “close game” situations. That means the statistic is only counted when the game is within one goal in the first and second period or tied in the third/overtime. Here are the different categories and the point-value assigned to each one:

  • Goal = 1 point
  • Game-Winning Goal = 1 point
  • Primary Assist = 1 point
  • Secondary Assist = .75 points
  • Individual High-Danger Scoring Chance = .2 points
  • Individual Scoring Chance = .1 point
  • Individual Corsi-For Event = .05 points

Remember, the statistics were only taken into account if they happened during a “close game” scenario. All statistics are from war-on-ice.com other than game-winning goals which were taken from NHL.com. All statistics calculated before the games on 3/13/16.

#5 – Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames – Clutch Score: 83.75

Gaudreau is one of the more clutch-scorers in the NHL this season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Gaudreau is one of the more clutch-scorers in the NHL this season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Johnny Hockey has easily been the MVP of the Flames this season as they continue to hang around the bottom of the standings. His 20 goals in close-game scenarios are good for fourth in the entire NHL. He has scored six game-winning goals this season. What makes him so special is how often he converts on his high quality chances. He gets fewer scoring-chances than a lot of the top offensive players in the league but he produces just as much offense as they do. When the Flames return to the postseason, look for Gaudreau to have a major impact. Here is the breakdown of his score:

  • Goals – 20
  • Game-Winning Goals – 6
  • Primary Assists – 18
  • Secondary Assists – 9
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 55
  • Scoring Chances – 120
  • Corsi-For Events – 200

#4 – Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars – Clutch Score: 85.80

Although he has been a little snake-bitten as of late, Benn is still the Captain of a Dallas team that is marching towards the playoffs. He has been quite the leader for them this season. When the game is close, you can see his level of play rise up to the stakes. Nobody in the NHL comes close to the quality chances he creates in close-game scenarios. He hasn’t been converting as often since January 1st, but the chances haven’t gone away. He is still one of the best clutch scorers in the league today. Here is Benn’s breakdown:

  • Goals – 16
  • Game-Winning Goals – 4
  • Primary Assists – 7
  • Secondary Assists – 17
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 93
  • Scoring Chances – 159
  • Corsi-For Events – 231

#3 – Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars – Clutch Score: 87.10

Seguin is always coming through in the clutch. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
Seguin is always coming through in the clutch. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Much like Benn, Seguin has had a rough go of it since the calendar turned to 2016. But also like Benn, when the game is close you can count of Seguin firing the puck from everywhere on the ice. In his eyes, there is no such thing as a bad shot on goal. What has been impressive about Seguin this season is his play-making abilities in close-game scenarios. Normally you would look to Seguin to be shooting the puck, which he still does a lot of, but this season is different. He’s setting up teammates for quality chances and they are converting quite a bit of them. He has 17 primary assists in close-game situations, good for fourth in the West. Here is Seguin’s breakdown:

  • Goals – 14
  • Game-Winning Goals – 6
  • Primary Assists – 17
  • Secondary Assists – 7
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 51
  • Scoring Chances – 186
  • Corsi-For Events – 321

#2 – Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues – Clutch Score: 90

Easily one of the top-five must-watch players in the NHL right now, Tarasenko continues to tear up the league. His 22 goals in close-game scenarios is better than everyone in the West and better than all but one in the East. If the game is close and Tarasenko is on the ice, the opposition better have at least one guy dedicated to him at all times. It usually won’t be enough, as Tarasenko regularly seems to go through teams of three or four to get the puck in the net. His speed combined with his lethal wrist-shot makes him a threat to score at all times. Here is the breakdown for Tarasenko:

  • Goals – 22
  • Game-Winning Goals – 5
  • Primary Assists – 9
  • Secondary Assists – 11
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 57
  • Scoring Chances – 184
  • Corsi-For Events – 319

#1 – Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks – Clutch Score: 90.10

Patrick Kane has easily been the most clutch scorer in the West this season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Patrick Kane has easily been one of the most clutch scorers in the NHL this season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Barely edging out Tarasenko for tops in the West, Kane is the most clutch offensive player in the conference so far this season. His play-making abilities are otherworldly, as he has an absurd 27 primary assists in close-game situations so far this year. Despite being more known for that ability, his goal scoring has exploded this season as well. His 38 total goals shatters his previous career-high of 30, with 19 of those coming in close-game situations. If Kane is on the ice in the final minute of a close game, the puck is probably finding its way to the back of the net. Here is the Kane’s breakdown:

  • Goals – 19
  • Game-Winning Goals – 7
  • Primary Assists – 27
  • Secondary Assists – 11
  • High-Danger Scoring Chances – 39
  • Scoring Chances – 103
  • Corsi-For Events – 215


Honorable mention to Joe Pavelski (83.65) who came very close to cracking the top-five. The top defenseman in the Western Conference was Brent Burns with a score of 66.4.

Come back here soon to check out who the top clutch players of the Eastern Conference are. Thank you for reading.


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