Let the Wookiee win: Burns leading NHL in shot attempts
The earliest lesson any R2-unit or NHLer can learn.
Brent Burns has never been one to pass when he could shoot, at times (though rarely) to his detriment. Whether it's as a forward or on defense, the Wookiee loves shooting the puck more than just about anything — except post-game pizza, I think. This season has been no exception, as Burns leads the Sharks in shot attempts by a wide margin. All shots and shot attempts that follow are even strength.
Burns has attempted 107 shots. The second guy on the list, Tomas Hertl, has attempted 67. Rounding out the top five are Joe Pavelski (61), Patrick Marleau (56) and (surprisingly) Marc-Edouard Vlasic with 51. This isn't surprising based on the eye test alone — Burns likes to shoot and the Sharks definitely make an effort to give him opportunities to do so. It also checks out when looking at the numbers.
Since joining the Sharks in the 2011-12 season, Burns has led San Jose in shot attempts with 1,399. The margin here is not quite so fast, as he's trailed by Pavelski with 1,206 shot attempts and Logan Couture with 1,121 shot attempts. It doesn't hurt that since Burns has primarily played as a defenseman he gets more minutes than just about anybody on the team. Let's visualize this.
There's a pretty clear glut of guys who come nowhere near the ice time and shot attempts of Burns and company, so we'll mostly ignore them. Sorry Michal Handzus. The only player with more 5v5 ice time over the past four+ seasons is Vlasic, and Burns certainly takes advantage of the minutes he's given better than anyone else. He's eleventh in the NHL in shot attempts since joining the Sharks in 2011.
Last night, Burns took eight shots (and failed to score on all of them, classic Alex Ovechkin, amiright), his third game of the season taking at least eight shots. He blasted nine against the Avalanche and eight against the Kings in the Oct. 22 game. Burns averages 4.37 shots per game and is tied for first in the NHL in shot attempts with the other Great 8. The Wookiee is so good he gets two eights, I guess.
There are certainly shooters who take more attempts per 60 minutes (Ovechkin, of course, being one of them) but it's tough to top Burns for volume. Remember these charts and numbers aren't even taking into account the power play, where Burns (when the power play is working) is extremely effective. Keep on shooting, Burnsie. Eventually the NHL will wise up and let the Wookiee win.