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By The Numbers – #10 Shawn Horcoff

Today’s By The Numbers segment will be a focus on current Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff.

Captain Horcoff. Photo courtesy communities.canada.com

NAME: Shawn Horcoff

SWEATER NUMBER: 10

DOB: 17 SEP 1978 (32)

POSITION: Centre

NUMBERS: 9G-18A-27PTS, 46 PIM in 47 GP

2010 SALARY / CONTRACT: $6,500,000 ($5.5M actual cap) signed through July 1st, 2014

THE SKINNY

After Shawn Horcoff had a 73 point season in 2005-06, his point totals have tailed off into the fifties.  This year, Horcoff missed nearly fifty per cent of the season due to injury, and rolled out a twenty-seven point season.

Regardless what happens in the draft, as long as Horcoff is a member of the Oilers come training camp, he’ll be the team’s number one centre on opening night.  The knock on Horcoff is that he’s not a “true” number one centre, and while he’s not likely to roll out an 80 point season next year, there’s no doubt his net worth to the team can’t be easily replaced.

Shawn Horcoff’s faceoff win percentage was 48.3 in 47 games played last year.  Compare that with the 44.2 win percentage for the entire Oilers team, and you can see partly see why he’s an important cog in the Oilers top six.  (Only Gilbert Brule and Chris VandeVelde had a better faceoff win percentage, and Horc took a bunch more faceoffs than both Brule and Vandy combined.)

I also realize that the Oilers weren’t kicking out seven and eight game winning streaks in 2010-11, but when their captain is in the lineup, the Oilers seem to have a better shot at taking two points.  When Horcoff missed eighteen games in December-January, the Oilers went an abysmal 4-12-2 (ten points, or 1 point per 1.8 games).  Once Horcoff returned, the Oilers fared somewhat better, earning 20 points in the standings over Horcoff’s next 23 games (almost a point per game).  Horcoff ‘s shooting percentage is a tick over the 11% mark.  Not bad for a guy that had only 9 goals last season.  Maybe he’ll get around to shooting the puck more next year.

I often hear the argument that Horcoff makes too much money for what his value is to the team, and that’s open for debate.  What I do know is that the Oilers finished with 62 points in the standings in 2010-11, and that when Shawn Horcoff is in the lineup, the team almost always takes at least one point home.  Is it crazy to think that the Oilers are 15 points ahead in the standings with Shawn Horcoff in the lineup?

WHAT COULD BE

Including 2011-12, Horcoff has three years remaining on his contract, and he’ll surely look to rebound from a disappointing 2010-11.  A successful season is dependent on a whole myriad of things, but an injury free campaign is a key cog to unlocking any other success.  Positives will be achieved if Horcoff can play 70+ games,  keep his faceoff win percentage similar to where it was in 2010-11, keep his shooting percentage at 11% or better, and fire the puck more often.

If Horc keeps an 11% shooting percentage and fires the puck 300 times (an average of 4 shots per game), that’s 33 goals.  That wouldn’t be too awful bad now, would it?

Next Player:  #12 Alexandre Giroux

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Topics: Shawn Horcoff

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