We’re getting pretty close to the halfway mark of the season and it has been a very, very weird year in the NHL.
Unexpected results keep happening. Teams that were supposed to be good are, instead, quite bad. You’ve seen it all year.
And with those goofy results comes a slew of eye-catching stats, some good, some bad. And while there are plenty of opportunities to examine long winning streaks and unexpected scoring droughts, there are some numbers that slip under the radar a little bit. Here are six of them:
6. Colorado’s GF% is legendarily bad
The Avs are awful. It’s been covered at length. Their 5-on-5 offense (1.75 goals per hour) is currently eighth-worst in the Behind The Net era, and only likely to get worse as they sell off what few useful, movable players they have.
But what’s truly galling is that their 5-on-5 defense (3.1 goals against per hour) is even worse: second from the bottom in the same 11-season period. Only the 2012-13 Flames — in the lockout-shortened season — gave up more goals every 60 minutes (3.18 per).
That means the Avs are currently sitting on the second-worst GF% in recent memory, at 36 percent. Only Florida’s 35.6 percent in the same lockout-shortened season is worse.
Simply put: We’ve probably never seen a team this bad over 82 games.
5. Columbus’s luck
Also not surprising: The Blue Jackets are currently sitting on the highest PDO — 103.5 — in 11 seasons.
The only team to finish a season north of 103 was that incredible 2009-10 Washington Capitals team. Hey, they didn’t win a Cup either.
4. Detroit futility
Only four forwards with at least 500 minutes in all situations have either one or zero goals. Two of them play for the Red Wings.
Riley Sheahan has zero goals in almost 511 minutes. Luke Glendening has one in 524.5. (PE Bellemare and Riley Nash are the other ones in this group, with one goal apiece in 564 and 557 minutes, respectively.)
It happens, sure. Bad luck can be really bad. They have one goal on 102 combined shots.
The good news for Sheahan is that no forward since 2007-08 has ever played at least 1,100 minutes — his approximate current pace — and not scored literally any goals. On the other hand, the Red Wings are so bad he might end up being the first one. You never know, I guess.
The lowest goal totals among forwards who play that often are jointly held by Sami Pahlsson in 2009-10 and Travis Moen in 2007-08. They scored three goals apiece. Glendening and Sheahan may be in rarified air here.
3. The wizardry Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
The Bruins have had a lot of trouble scoring this season, but really only when their top line has been off the ice.
With these three together on the ice, the Bruins score of 68.4 percent of the goals. When they’re taking a breather, the rest of the team is just 44.1 percent. Now, as has been discussed, the Bruins are suffering from some really rotten luck this season. In terms of expected goals, they “should be” scoring 52.9 percent of the goals with their Big Three off the ice.
Their relative GF% is the highest in the league by a good margin. As you would expect. But the groups of Andrew Cogliano-Ryan Kesler-Jakob Silfverberg (22.9 percent) and Michael Frolik-Mikael Backlund-Matthew Tkachuk (21.7 percent) are also north of 20 percent for the season to date.
So are Bergeron and Co. just lucky? Not really. When those guys are on, they “should” have a goals percentage of almost 61 percent.
2. Devin Dubnyk high-danger sv% at 5-on-5
We all know Dubnyk is having a great season, but maybe we don’t realize how great.
Among goalies with at least 750 minutes played at 5-on-5, Dubnyk’s .889 save percentage on stats from the “home plate” area leads the league. That’s better than Carey Price’s .881. Corey Crawford (.884) and Scott Darling (.866) are also in that same neighborhood, which is nice for Chicago, and leads one to wonder whether that’s a systems thing for them. I mean, it’s probably not, but it might be.
But here’s a stat for ya: Dubnyk’s number is the highest seen in the NHL since 2007-08. Crawford and Price are both in the top three as well, which probably tells you they’re not going to keep this up all season. In fact, the only goalie to play at least 2,000 minutes at 5-on-5 and get even close to Dubnyk’s number is JS Giguere back in ’07-08, when he went .878 for an entire season. Carey Price circa 2014-15 and Tim Thomas in 2010-11 (two legendary goaltending seasons) are second and third here. Then there’s two Henrik Lundqvist seasons to round out the top five.
There’s plenty of time for Dubnyk to run out of ground here, and let that number drop a bit, but you gotta say even being in the conversation with those types of performances speaks very highly of his play — and his chances for some hardware.
1. Timo Meier’s shot production
Sure he’s only played in eight games so far, but Timo Meier of the Sharks seems like he’s ready for a big role. At least as far as his ability to get the puck and put it toward the net goes.
In those eight games, Meier has attempted 36 shots at 5-on-5, good for 23.2 per 60 minutes. That’s in keeping with his profile for pretty much every other league he’s been in: He’s a volume shooter and he gets a lot of points as a result. That per-60 number is the highest in the league this year.
If Meier keeps it up for the rest of the year and gets up over 500 minutes of 5-on-5 TOI, he will be the first hockey player in the Behind the Net era to clear 23 attempts per 60 minutes in a full season who is not named Alex Ovechkin, Jeff Carter, Alex Semin or … Tyler Kennedy?
By the way, the era’s record for 5-on-5 attempts per 60 minutes was, of course, set by Ovechkin in 2008-09. At 31.1. Good lord.
All stats via Corsica unless otherwise stated.
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