We’ve all heard of the phrase “the numbers don’t lie”, but there is always room for statistical anomalies that make each and every one of us scratch our heads. This week we’ll take a look at a few statistical anomalies that have occurred so far this season and whether the numbers will re-align or are they set for the long run.
Nystrom’s currently tickling the twine at a rate of 22.6 percent, but his previous career shooting percentage prior to this season was just 7.7 percent, so expect a bit of a dip moving forward.
Toews is currently on pace to finish the season with 45 goals, but his NHL career-high has only been 34. He also has an average of 1.89 goals per 60 mins played, which ranks third amongst all players. Toews’ never been a big goal scorer throughout his career, (48 goals in 64 contests in High School, 40 in 76 during college and nine in 31 representing Canada at various events), so expecting 45+ is probably a bit much. Look for him to establish a new career-high, but not a lot more.
Sedin’s leading the league in assists for a third consecutive season. He’s posted 83 and 75 during the last two seasons, and is currently on pace to hit that mark once again. The chemistry between him and his brother is uncanny, which should see him experience similar success moving forward.
The 40-year old Finnish Flash has a 1.11 point-per-game average on the road compared to just 0.88 at the Honda Center. Between February 10th and 27th the Ducks play nine out of 10 games away from Anaheim, so now might be a great time to make a pitch to the Selanne owner for his services.
Dorsett is currently averaging a fight every three and a half contests. He’s also on pace to chip in with 20+ points and 110+ SOG, which makes him a pretty valuable fantasy asset for poolies who are looking to beef up the PIMs column.
If consistency is what you’re after, then Morrow is probably a “safer” PIMs option. He leads the league in minor penalties (22), which makes it easier to predict/control, rather than going after the big fish with goons or agitators. The fact that he’ll also contribute on the multiple fronts helps with the across-the-board production.
Although Perron has had a bit of an abbreviated season, he’s remained one of the most consistent in terms of point production. He’s gone point-less in only two of the ten contests that he’s suited up for (80 percent). In second place we have Henrik Sedin with a point production percentage of 72.2 percent and Marian Hossa in third place at an efficiency of 71.4 percent.
Ian White/Alex Steen
White has proven to be a great off-season signing by the Red Wings, as he has managed a plus 24 rating to lead the Western Conference. The fact that he’s among the defensive leaders in points scored and shots taken makes him quite the across-the-board producer. On top of that, he was drafted as the 70th blue-liner in Yahoo! Leagues, which makes it all that much more special for those who manage to snag his services at the draft table as a late round steal.
Steen has never reached double digits in terms of plus/minus and is currently on pace for an end-of-year plus 49 rating. That probably isn’t going to happen, but a league-leading plus 35 probably won’t be that far-fetched.
With four players over the 110 SOG mark, it’s certainly surprising to see how the Hawks manage to fire that many shots against their opposition. Sharpie leads the way with 133 and is on pace to finish the campaign above the 300 SOG plateau. I doubted him last campaign, I won’t make that same mistake twice.
It’s certainly a big surprise this season as Souray is on pace to finish the season with 262 SOG. He’s always been a big shooter while dropping plenty of bombs from the blue-line. 2011-12 has been a great bounce-back season from the cagy veteran.
When was the last time that a rookie has experienced this much success on the power-play? Ryan Nugent-Hopkins now has 18 points, and is tied with the Sedin twins for the league lead, when playing with a man advantage. First year players tend to hit the proverbial “rookie wall” at some point during the season, so expect a bit of a statistical adjustment in the second-half. He also has a very interesting home/road split, as he has 25 points at Rexall Place, but just 10 on the road.
On the flip side of the coin, Toews doesn’t seem to enjoy home cooking very much, as he has home/away splits of 14 points (0.78 point-per-game), at the United Center to 23 (1.28 point-per-game), away. The Hawks have a nine-game stretch on the road in early February, which might be gold for Toews owner if he continues on this torrid road pace.
Power Play Specialists
The trio of Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin have combined for a league leading 37 power-play points while occupying 35.24 percent of the team’s power-play opportunities. With the chemistry that the trio have, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them top the list come April.
The Red Wings are averaging a whopping 4.19 goals scored at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit still has 25 home games remaining, which might be a welcome bonus for owners of Red Wing players.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Canucks enjoy being on the road, as they’re averaging 3.16 goals away from Vancouver. With 22 of the remaining 47 contests on the road, it might be a good time to acquire some Nucks for the second-half.
The Blues give up just 1.89 goals on average to the opposition on home turf (1.79 under Ken Hitchcock). Just to bring things into perspective, the Stanley Cup winning Bruins finished last season with a 2.17 average. Could be Blues be on their way to the Cup, playing with an iron curtain D?
On the flip side, the Sharks give up 2.08, on average, to the opposition on the road. Make sure you circle Feb. 12th on your calendars, as the head to head matchup between the Blues and the Sharks at Scotttrade Center should be a doozy.
Third period goals
Surprisingly, it’s the Predators that are the comeback kids, leading the Western Conference in third period goals with 42. That’s pretty much what they’ll to need to continue to do in order to sneak into another playoff spot come April.
One goal games
The Stars are 11-2-1 in one-goal games followed by Colorado 13-5-1 and Chicago at 10-3-4. Edmonton 3-5-3 and Columbus 5-8-4 are the worst. That could be the difference between making the playoffs and missing them.
If you’re looking for offense you probably don’t have to look much further than the Sharks. Once again they’re amongst the league leaders averaging 34.5 SOG per contest. Minny is the worst at 26.2, no wonder they’re not winning very many games at the moment!
As highlighted above, the Blues are leading the league in defense, which is also apparent in as they stifle their opposition by allowing just 26 SOG per contest. On the flip side of the coin the Stars give up a league worst 32.5 SOG per contest, which means that Kari Lehtonen/Richard Bachman might be in for a rough second-half if that trend continues.
Team FO percentage
If team faceoff percentage is any indication to team success, the Flames (45.4 percent), could be in massive strife. Only eight of 29 teams that have ranked near the bottom third of team FO percentage in the last four years have made the post-season, which means that it could spell massive trouble for teams like the Devils (47.4 percent), Ducks (47.4), and Flyers (47.4), in the second-half of this season.
It’s a tale of two teams as the Flames maintain 10.4 percent power-play efficiency at home, but 25 percent efficiency on the road. Can anyone out there explain that to me? The Avs are in a similar boat as they maintain 13.4 effectiveness at home, but a league-leading 27.9 percent efficiency on the road. If those two teams are going to make the post-season, the reason might lie within the power-play.
On the flip side of the coin, the one area that the Blues particularly need help on is the PP. St. Louis is dead last in terms of power-play effectiveness, as they’re connecting on just 11.9 percent of their opportunities.
Questions or comments? As always I’ll discuss them in the section below. I wish you and your family a Happy New Year and I hope to see you guys back here again next week as we analyse my projections from the pre-season guide.