With most teams now at the quarter-point of their season, it’s a good time to start taking some statistics more seriously.
In the first 10 games or so, you can chalk up a lot of stuff to luck or a short hot streak. We’re now at the point where those streaks are turning into trends.
The increase in scoring has put a lot of players into position to not just hit career highs, but to obliterate them. Steven Stamkos is on pace for 144 points. He obviously won’t hit that mark, but would you bet against him getting to 100 points for the first time in his career?
Below you’ll find 10 statistics that sum up this season and the impact they may be having on your season. Just note that all numbers are before yesterday’s games, and you’re going to see a lot of Tampa’s top line in these numbers.
The number of games John Carlson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson have posted a minus, worst in the NHL. That’s not a great stat for those who own those two players in weekly leagues. On the whole, Carlson is a minus-eight and OEL a minus-15. OEL has put up horrific plus-minus numbers in the past, but the Coyotes were supposed to be a much better squad this year. Carlson is putting up impressive power-play numbers, but is obviously being outscored tremendously at even strength.
The plus-minus pace for Martin Hanzal, easily the worst in the league. You never draft Hanzal for the plus-minus (he was a minus-17 last year and hasn’t been a plus player since 2012-13). It is troubling that he is on pace for only 14 points. You could argue Hanzal is the worst fantasy player in the league this year. As a side note, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is on pace for minus-56 and Ryan O’Reilly for minus-57. This is significant because a player hasn’t finished with a minus-50 season since Gord Dineen and Darren Rumble with the Senators in 1993-94.
The projected number of shots for Max Pacioretty this season, which would lead the league. Pacioretty’s career high is 303 shots. Even though the Habs captain is struggling, he’s a streaky scorer and seems a sure bet to reach the 30-goal mark for his last five full seasons if he keeps up this shooting binge. Evander Kane is just behind and is on pace for 381 shots. Kane’s career best is 287 shots in 2011-12. It will be tough for Kane to crack 300 shots as he’ll probably miss at least 10 games with an injury.
The number of goals for many fantasy-relevant players. While much of the focus has been on Brent Burns, let’s not leave Duncan Keith, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and Bobby Ryan off the list. There’s no reason to panic with most of these guys. Sometimes it takes a while and then the goals will come in bunches. Last year, Byfuglien didn’t score his first goal of the season until the 19th game. As for Burns, he’s still shooting the puck plenty and sooner or later, one is bound to go in.
The number of games where Sergei Bobrovsky has a save percentage of .950 or higher, best in the league. With scoring up and many goalies posting horrific stat lines, Bobrovsky has been the best goalie in the league at the quarter-mark. He’s played 16 games and has allowed one goal or less in eight of them.
The number of goals that Tampa has scored where both Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov recorded a point. That’s leading the league. Second is Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler at 18 goals. Kucherov and Stamkos have excellent chemistry and are the league’s best duo. The third member on that line is no slouch either. Vladimir Namestnikov and Stamkos are tied for fourth in the league with both recording points on 16 goals, and Namestnikov and Kucherov both have points on 14 goals. In case you’re wondering, there have been 11 goals scored where all three received a point.
The number of players that are on pace for 40 goals. Some of them are obvious (Alex Ovechkin, Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine). Some of them would be complete surprises if they hit that mark (Anthony Mantha, Artem Anisimov and Jason Zucker). Only three players hit 40 goals last year and since 2013-14, a 40-goal season has been recorded 13 times. There are five players on pace for 50-plus goals (Nikita Kucherov, John Tavares, Mark Stone, Auston Matthews and Alex Ovechkin).
The number of games Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Jaden Schwartz have recorded a point. Let’s focus on Schwartz. We all thought we knew the book on him before the season began: Tied to the hip of Vladimir Tarasenko and able to reach the 55-60 point mark. No one expected better than a point-per-game mark with 26 points in 21 games. And there doesn’t seem to be any real reason behind it. If he was shooting his career average, he’d have four fewer goals but he’d still be a point-per-game player. His power-play time has jumped but he only has four points with the man advantage.
The amount of times Carey Price and Cam Talbot has allowed more than three goals in a game. It’s taken Talbot 18 games to reach that mark, but it took Price only played 11 games. You could write 10,000 words on why either of these goalies have struggled. Suffice to say, both these goalies were taken very early in one-year pools (Price was fifth overall and Talbot 25th) and they are causing their fantasy owners to suffer.
The number of players on pace for 100 or more points (Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Johnny Gaudreau, Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Connor McDavid, Jakub Voracek, Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Erik Karlsson). It’s crazy to think Karlsson is on that list considering a) he’s a defenseman and no defenseman has hit 100 points since 1991-92, and b) he missed the first five games of the year. Obviously not every player is going to hit to mark because of slumps and injuries, but there’s a good chance two or three of them will. That would make it the first time since 2009-10 there were multiple 100-point seasons. Another 11 players are on pace for at least 90 points. It’s been a great start for most fantasy squads.
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