Over the last two years Jamie Benn has been about as good of a player as you could possibly hope for him to be. This fact makes his utter failure to contribute in the shootout puzzling. Over the past two seasons Benn is 2/13 in the shootout after hitting on 60% of his shots in 2012 and 2013. We don't have video of those successes, but the video evidence of what has been going on the past two years is alive and well on GCL.
Benn essentially does the same thing every time. This is a pretty commonly held belief, and it mostly holds up after watching two years worth of Benn shots. Inevitably he is going to end up on the left side of the goaltender before cutting across the low slot. He usually tries to beat the goalie to his right, usually over the blocker, but this isn't always the case.
The first shot in our gallery is the first one he took in the 2014 season on October 17, 2013. This is the typical Benn shot with some irrelevant meandering near the blueline to get into his favorite position.
On October 26, 2013 he did the same move.
On November 3, 2013 he did the same thing again, though he slowed down a little as he got into the low slot,
On November 5th, you get the picture. No one is falling for it.
By November 29th the book on Benn's shootout move was so well known that Corey Crawford knew what Benn was going to do so well that he was basically standing waiting for him to shoot after he got into the low slot.
On December 1st he attempted to go five hole or low blocker against the Oilers, but who knows if that was a conscious decision or if the goalie was so uninterested in dropping to expose himself high blocker that Benn just shot it.
But four days before Christmas he tried something new! He tried to go back against the grain on Antti Niemi and had him beaten if not for the fortuitous pokecheck that swatted the puck away.
Fast forward ahead to March 14, 2014 and Benn is still trying some trickery. Against the Flames he seemed to be waiting for the pokecheck so he could slip the puck five hole. It was a good idea, but it didn't work.
In his final attempt of the 2014 season Benn tried to go five hole again. No dice.
Yeah, Benn has a general move he relies upon. However, for his final 3-4 shots of the season he did try to mix things up a little. It didn't lead to gobs of success but you can tell he was trying to do things a little differently. With a little luck the attempt against the Sharks goes in.
The 2015 season, unfortunately, was bad. Benn broke off the same move in the first shootout of the season, and it miraculously worked.
So, why not try it again in December?
That didn't work, so on our next attempt let's fire it into the pads again.
In his final shot of the season he tried to go back to what almost worked against San Jose, but he had almost no control of the puck from the get go. It was bouncing all over the place and Semyon Varlamov poked it away before he could take a shot.
In the final shootout of the season he wasn't among the selected shooters.
What do we make of this? Benn clearly has a move and a shot he likes to take, but this is the NHL. Advance scouts notice these things and goalies are prepared. Even the worst goalies in the league can stop a shot if they know where it's going and when it's going to be taken
Benn did try to tweak his approach over time to no avail, but when you watch Tyler Seguin he also basically does the same thing every time and he is much more successful. Seguin does have a more deceptive shot though, and as Robert pointed out on Twitter that could be part of it. In several of these you can see Benn telegraphing when he is going to shoot by either leaning back, kicking his leg, or pulling his stick back before the shot. Seguin just fires.
Here are a couple of examples of what Seguin does. He does the same thing on virtually every shot, but he doesn't give nearly as many clues to the goalie about when he's going to shoot as Benn does.
And here is number two.
It's easy to see why Seguin is more successful than Benn. He releases the puck so much quicker during the shootout and that also allows him to not give the goalie many clues as to when he is going to shoot.
Benn isn't going to be more successful by dancing around near the blueline or changing the angle from which he shoots. As long as he keeps telegraphing when he's going to shoot and not releasing it quickly he's going to continue to struggle.
Given how many realistic options the Stars have for the shooutout this year Benn might not get many options to fix this issue. Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, John Klingberg, Colton Sceviour, and Seguin are all very quality possibilities. This might just be one of those things Benn doesn't do, but fortunately it's not that serious.