Are There Any Canucks More Clutch Than Cody Hodgson?

Cam Charron
February 02 2012 08:53AM


Watch out Henrik Karlsson, those two Canucks are "clutch".

Cody Hodgson, as we all know, had a terrific January. As a Canucks Army newcomer described on Twitter last night Hodgson has scored "big goals at big times". He scored the tying goal against Chicago on a breakaway and scored this year's most memorable goal (so far) with a vicious slapshot that beat Tim Thomas, and stood up as the winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final rematch early in the month.

This got me thinking. Which Canucks score the biggest goals at the biggest times? Also, does it matter? Well, yeah, in the scope of a month or two, you'll notice players who seem to come up big. In the interest of satire because I rail so often against a player's individual "clutch" ability, I counted up all the "big goals" the Canucks have scored this season. Those are goals in the 3rd period or overtime, as well as game winners.

Since the NHL doesn't have an easy way of tracking individual 3rd period goals, I only did it with the 12 leaders in ice-time this season. Here are the "clutch" goals the Canucks have scored:

Player Clutch G GW 3rd/OT
D. Sedin 11 3 8
Hodgson 9 2 7
Burrows 8 2 6
Hansen 7 0 7
Kesler 7 1 6
H. Sedin 6 4 2
Booth 5 1 4
Lapierre 3 0 3
Higgins 3 1 2
Malhotra 2 1 1
Raymond 2 1 1
Weise 1 0 1

By this measure, Daniel Sedin actually has more "clutch" goals than Hodgson, but not by much. Daniel has 8 3rd period and OT goals, while, oddly, brother Henrik has 4 game winners despite having scored just 2 3rd period/OT goals. Hodgson ranks well, while Jannik Hansen, despite his high-shooting% and career high goal totals, hasn't been lucky in terms of seeing those goals stand up as "game winners."

But this isn't really fair to Cody Hodgson. He doesn't score as much as Daniel, you see, so perhaps Hodgson is just making the most of his situations and more of his goals are "big" goals. I divided clutch goals by total goals to come up with Clutch%:

Player Goals Clutch G Clutch %
Hodgson 14 9 64.3%
Booth 8 5 62.5%
Lapierre 5 3 60.0%
D. Sedin 20 11 55.0%
H. Sedin 11 6 54.5%
Hansen 13 7 53.8%
Kesler 14 7 50.0%
Malhotra 4 2 50.0%
Burrows 18 8 44.4%
Raymond 5 2 40.0%
Higgins 9 3 33.3%
Weise 3 1 33.3%

That makes more sense. 64.3% of Hodgson's goals are "clutch" goals, while Daniel Sedin is only at 55%. And what's the deal with Chris Higgins? He only has 3 clutch goals out of 9. He's clearly making the most of his first and second period situations, and then slacking in the 3rd period and Overtime, when the game is on the line. What a bum!

Last one for this year, adjusted for Time On Ice. Which players are making the most of their ice time to score clutch goals?

Player TOI Clutch G Clutch 60
Hodgson 635.3 9 0.85
D. Sedin 939.7 11 0.70
Booth 450.7 5 0.67
Hansen 741.9 7 0.57
Burrows 889.0 8 0.54
Kesler 903.2 7 0.47
H. Sedin 964.9 6 0.37
Lapierre 560.5 3 0.32
Raymond 400.6 2 0.30
Higgins 741.1 3 0.24
Malhotra 641.2 2 0.19
Weise 410.1 1 0.15

Hodgson and Daniel are again, fighting this one out, but Hodgson gets the edge. In less ice-time, he gets way more goals. David Booth, interestingly, ranks very high in both Clutch/60 and Clutch%. I'm not sure if fans have taken enough to the "grit", "jam" and "compete level" that he provides in the lineup.

I also tallied last year's numbers:

Player Clutch G Clutch% Clutch/60
Raymond 12 80.0% 0.65
Burrows 19 73.1% 0.93
H. Sedin 13 68.4% 0.49
Torres 8 57.1% 0.48
Hansen 5 55.6% 0.25
Malhotra 6 54.5% 0.31
D. Sedin 22 53.7% 0.87
Kesler 22 53.7% 0.79
Higgins 6 46.2% 0.36
Samuelsson 8 44.4% 0.38
Tambellini 4 44.4% 0.33
Lapierre 0 0.0% 0.00

By the "big goals" measure we've used to determine that Hodgson is the most important scorer in the Canucks lineup, while Mason Raymond led the team last year. Burrows, who had a very high Clutch % last year, but is having a brutal one this season. Jannik Hansen had .25 clutch per 60 last season, but that's more than doubled to .57. Has his "mental toughness" just improved that much this season?

Goals at the right time can determine one game, but it isn't sustainable over the course of the season. In fact, I tallied up the amount of "big goals" that every team scored last season and compared it to the total amount of goals they had:

Team Tot GW 3rd Pd OT Clutch%
OTTAWA 190 30 93 5 67.4%
COLORADO 221 24 103 7 60.6%
ATLANTA 218 29 98 5 60.6%
NEW JERSEY 171 35 65 3 60.2%
EDMONTON 191 23 84 3 57.6%
FLORIDA 191 26 79 5 57.6%
MINNESOTA 203 36 77 3 57.1%
NASHVILLE 213 38 76 7 56.8%
MONTREAL 213 41 72 5 55.4%
TAMPA BAY 241 40 88 5 55.2%
CAROLINA 231 35 85 6 54.5%
NY ISLANDERS 225 26 87 7 53.3%
DALLAS 222 37 77 4 53.2%
COLUMBUS 210 29 77 5 52.9%
CHICAGO 252 38 89 4 52.0%
PHILADELPHIA 256 44 84 5 52.0%
PHOENIX 226 38 72 7 51.8%
TORONTO 213 32 73 5 51.6%
ANAHEIM 235 43 74 3 51.1%
BUFFALO 240 38 71 9 49.2%
PITTSBURGH 228 39 68 5 49.1%
WASHINGTON 219 43 58 5 48.4%
SAN JOSE 243 43 70 4 48.1%
ST LOUIS 236 34 74 5 47.9%
CALGARY 241 32 78 5 47.7%
LOS ANGELES 209 36 59 4 47.4%
DETROIT 257 43 67 6 45.1%
NY RANGERS 224 35 63 2 44.6%
BOSTON 244 44 57 5 43.4%
VANCOUVER 258 50 58 4 43.4%

In terms of the ratio of "big goals" to total goals, the two Stanley Cup finalists, Boston and Vancouver, were the least "clutch" teams in the NHL. They scored the fewest amount of "big goals" compared to their opponents, but they also scored a tonne of goals overall. This might come as a shock, but I suspect that scoring goals in all situations, and not just lighting up small, restricted samples, will lead to winning the most games.

While Hodgson is scoring a lot of "big goals" and thus has a very high QualCLUTCH rate, he could also stand to start scoring a few goals in the first and second period. If he could do that, it might allow the Canucks to pad leads, so those clutch situations, such as overtime, don't arise in the first place.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 Kent Wilson
February 02 2012, 09:25AM
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I'd say Hodgson is taking Sedin's clutch job on the team rather than Malhotra's role.

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#2 puckhead
February 02 2012, 09:49AM
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a methodology question - would some goals be double counted in the "Clutch G" column? for example, an OT goal wold be both an "OT goal" and a "GW goal", so would that count as two "Cluth G" tallies?

maybe that's not a bad thing anyways as OT winner or 3rd period winner are extra-clutchy :)

just curious.

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#4 mrbitterguy
February 02 2012, 11:28AM
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that last chart of all the teams is kind of pointless. teams that score a lot of goals and specifically a lot of goals early in a game will dilute their numbers, as evidenced by the canucks and bruins at the bottom of the list.

also, just because a goal is scored in the 3rd doesn't make it clutch. the 5th goal in a 5-1 drubbing is the opposite of clutch regardless of what period you score it in. you should just look at the goals scored while the teams are within a goal of each other, i.e. down 1, tied or up 1.

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