With only a couple of days left in the regular season, and only a couple of days left until Easter Sunday, I’ve focused this edition of “Leprechaun’s Gold” largely on statistics that will help all of you who are taking part in fantasy playoff hockey.
So curl up with your Easter candy, your T.V. remote, Dobber's draft list and your copy of my April column, and enjoy the amazing hockey as we close out this hockey season.
***The following statistics are accurate as of the 2:00pm E.S.T. Friday, April 6, 2007***
Of Pittsburgh’s ten players with more than 30 points this season, only two have EVER been to the NHL playoffs in their careers – Mark Recchi and Sergei Gonchar. The other eight players (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Whitney, Michel Ouellet, Jordan Staal, Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Ryan Malone) who have not been to the NHL playoffs combined for 449 points this season.
Despite having a combined 219 points in the standings, Detroit and Nashville only have eight wins between them in each of their last ten games. These two teams have really cooled off (at the worst possible time), and have respective records of 4-2-4 and 4-4-2 over their last ten games played. Nashville has only scored 24 goals in their past 10 games.
Of Jarome Iginla’s 94 points this season, 56 were tallied in his 35 games on home ice. He only has 38 points in 34 away games this season. This does not bode well for the Flames (a team that may barely squeak into the playoffs as the eighth seed). Iginla has also been plus-15 at home this season and minus-2 on the road.
Mikka Kiprusoff’s home record this season is 28-8-2 with a 92.5 save percentage, while his away record is 12-15-7 with a 91.1 save percentage. This (in addition to the Iginla stat above) almost spells doom for the Flames if they make the playoffs.
Despite Jonathan Cheechoo’s slow start this season, he is currently tied for a league leading three hat-tricks this season (with Dany Heatley and Olli Jokinen). Two of his three hat-tricks this season happened in two weeks. He has eight hat-tricks since the start of the 2005 season. When it comes to multi-goal potential, there aren’t many better fantasy options out there.
Despite having the second most shots on goal this season with 340, and the third most shots on goal last season with 351, Olli Jokinen has yet to have a 40 goal season in his career. He has 75 goals in 691 shots on goal over the last two seasons.
Two nice “dark horses” for playoff pools are Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Daniel has 20 points over the last month, while Henrik has 19 points during the same span. They are tied for second and tied for third respectively for total points in the league since March 5, 2007.
The last time Joe Sakic had a 90+ point season was in 2000-2001. That year he had 26 points in 21 playoff games, and Colorado won the Stanley cup. If the Avalanche does make it to the playoffs, watch out. Sakic’s leadership is crucial to their success.
Alex Ovechkin has 46 goals and 46 assists this season. Last year he had 52 goals and 54 assists. He is one of the most well-rounded fantasy forwards out there. The only other fantasy stud that puts up numbers this balanced is Dany Heatley. Since the start of 2005, Heatley has 99 goals and 106 assists.
Daniel Briere currently has 95 points this season. That point total is 30 points more than his previous career best. His plus/minus this season of plus-18 is twelve better than his previous career best.
Jaromir Jagr’s shooting percentage is the lowest of his career this season. His 9.3% shooting percentage is a full 5.0% lower than his career average of 14.3% (which includes this season). Incidentally, his goal total of 30 goals is the lowest it has been (counting only full/close to full seasons of play) since his rookie season when he had 27 goals.