Ten NHL Players Who Should Shoot the Puck More Often

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you talk about Tim Connolly? Honestly, it could be a handful of things like smooth skater, crafty stick-handler, terrific play-maker or the obvious one being injuries. But a facet of his game that's often overlooked is the center's shot primarily because he hesitates to use it.

When he does decide to pull the trigger, his release and accuracy can surprise goaltenders. Connolly, who leads the Buffalo Sabres with 21 points after 23 games, is utilizing it increasingly and is on pace for a career year in all categories if he stays healthy.

This got me thinking about some of the other players like Connolly who would be wise to throw the puck at the net substantially. The last thing I suggest is that they listen to me because they are the athletes who are earning millions of dollars for their skills.

Suggestions aren't frowned upon however. At least, I hope they aren't because these athletes are competent to score. If all else fails, put the disc towards the goal.

10) Ales Hemsky (Edmonton Oilers)

Out for the remainder of the season, Edmonton's playoff aspirations are all but finished without the services of their talented winger. Hemsky was supplying a point per game and reaching new peaks offensively before he ran into shoulder issues

The patience he has can outlast goaltenders in close and his snap shot should be taken more seriously by defensemen.

9) Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals)

Playing with Alexander Ovechkin, the Swede is better served as an assist provider to a world-class shooter. But that doesn't signify it as the only option. Should Ovechkin be covered, Backstrom would be smart to attempt picking a corner like he's capable of.

Although he doesn't pack the meanest power, he's got fearful accuracy which is at times more vital to finding the back of the net.

8) Alexander Frolov (Los Angeles Kings)

Frolov is a two-time 30-goal man and has all of the tools to be an elite star for years. The frightening statistic is that the Russian hasn't fired 200 or more shots in a full season making you wonder how many more he could record if he did.

My estimate is that Frolov is worthy of 40 to 45 goals once he shoots first and asks questions last. Whether it actually happens is beyond me.

7) Tomas Kaberle (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Remember who won the accuracy challenge at the 2008 NHL All Star Game Skills Competition? Yes, Kaberle was the fourth player ever to hit all four targets requiring that many attempts. A fantastic set-up defender, his passing is right on the tape of recipients making him a marquee powerplay quarterback.

With 23 of his 25 points this year coming by way of assists, Kaberle will continue to do what's worked best for him. An unexpected shot is still threatening.

6) Kristian Huselius (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Huselius' shot count has grown each year since 2006 and with ten goals in 21 games, his wrister is truly emerging. The 31-year-old scored on 23 occasions as a rookie oozing confidence from the beginning of his career and has the gift to make the linemates around him superior. 

Most likely, Rick Nash will lead the Blue Jackets in scoring and Huselius will be next in line.

5) Kimmo Timonen (Philadelphia Flyers)

Some players, no matter what they do, seem to be under the radar constantly. Kimmo Timonen is an example of that and with the arrival of Chris Pronger, that won't change. Like Kaberle, this veteran can run the man-advantage with ease and provides plenty from the back-end.

And also similar is his shot which isn't the strongest but precise. If only Timonen would utilize it.

4) Eric Fehr (Washington Capitals)

I've seen this kid's potential and his scoring touch is abundantly clear. While going to the net and digging for rebounds is what Bruce Boudreau wants from his young winger, Fehr is capable of letting it go from beyond past a netminder.

It's easy to forget about him with the plethora of stars Washington has but he wasn't a first round selection for nothing.

3) Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators)

Both Suter and Shea Weber can create injuries for opposing players attempting to block their shots. The difference is the latter won't mind launching one-timer after one-timer until something good happens. For some reason, Suter isn't as quick to unload his heavy shot which he does own.

Whatever it is, 24 shots in 25 games leads you to believe that he's a little trigger shy.

2) Andrei Kostitsyn (Montreal Canadiens)

A huge bit of an enigma, Kostitsyn`s best assets are his his explosive wrist shot and his aptitude at dangling by defensemen. After scoring 49 goals in two campaigns, the Belarussian has lit the lamp twice in 24 games adding to the laundry list of problems Montreal carries.

Kostitsyn was beginning to gain confidence before a leg injury sidelined him a few days ago.

1) Lubomir Visnovsky (Edmonton Oilers)

Visnovsky wasn`t shy about shooting in Los Angeles yet seems uncertain at times these days. One thing is for certain: the one-timer he carries with him can bank 20 goals easily. In order for that to happen, he`s got to deliver more pucks on net.

If not for himself, then for the sake of Edmonton`s postseason chances.

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