The next generation of goal scorers are here and two of them that are showing they’ll be names we’ll be hearing about for a long time are opponents tonight in Vancouver – Auston Matthews versus Elias Pettersson. Matthews, of course, has already made a name for himself and has been one of the best goal scorers in the league since he made his debut in 2016. Pettersson, on the other hand, is still in his first season that is almost guaranteed to end with him being the Rookie of the Year.
Matthews and Pettersson both have wicked shots that are extra deadly with how quickly they can fire it, making them nightmares for opposing teams goalies. The two of them use their shots to beat goalies from all over, defying conventional wisdom that says goalies are too good now for players to be able to score from distance.
Pettersson has been extra deadly from the outside which explains why he has such a high shooting percentage – 22.6% the 3rd highest of any player to play a minimum of 20 games this year. While not as high, Matthews is still 35th in the league this year with a 17.2% shooting percentage. Both these numbers would seem way too high to be legitimately sustainable but for players who can rip it the way they do it becomes entirely possible even when they aren’t shooting from the most dangerous areas.
Matthews is actually only slightly off from his 16.3% career shooting percentage and is finding ways to get to high-danger areas while Pettersson hasn’t felt it necessary to get to the slot to score goals. All he needs is a bit of space to let go his lethal shot just like he did on this play.
Since the 2016-2017 season, Matthews and Pettersson are top-6 in goals-per-game and that’ll be on full display tonight. Watch out when these two guys have the puck because in the blink of the eye it’ll be in the back of the net.
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)