Just before the midway point of the 2006-2007 NHL season, Dobberhockey.com staff helped contribute towards the Midseason Guide. Besides insider tips, trade rumors, prospect information and more, there was a breakdown of the players current pace as well the projected totals. Now that the 2006-2007 NHL season is over we can tally the stats and compare which players performed above or below their midseason pace.
The Ducks player with the biggest upswing was Francois Beauchemin. Beauchemin had a fantastic second half of the season. At the midway point, Beauchemin was on a current pace to finish the season with 27 points. In the end, he finished with 49 points - that’s a +22 point difference. Some of this can be contributed to not only Beauchemin playing better, but also stepping up in key situations while Chris Pronger was injured. Pronger is known for being a defensemen that does everything extremely well. Unfortunately his injuries sidelined him. Pronger was on a pace to score 84 points, but only ended up with 59. That’s a -25 difference. Anaheim’s top scorer, Teemu Selanne was on a pace to score 99 points, he finished with 94. Overall, that’s not a big deal; Selanne still had a great season. Andy McDonald, Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf, Dustin Penner, Todd Marchant, and Sam Pahlsson finished with points above their midseason pace. This team played well down the stretch and the numbers show it.
At the midway point, Atlanta was doing really well. They had a fantastic start led by Marian Hossa. Unfortunately Atlanta’s lead slipped and their second half of the season was nowhere near as good as their first half. While they made the playoffs, they had no momentum going into it and it really showed. Fewer than three players on their roster finished above their midseason pace. Their top three scorers; Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk and Slava Kozlov all finished at -10 points off their pace.
Boston was another team that had second half woes. Between injuries and trades, this team was very different come the second half of the season. The injury to Glen Murray was a major factor. While goalie Tim Thomas kept them in some games, it wasn’t enough. Murray was on pace to score 71 points, but only finished with 45. That’s a -26 difference. Marc Savard (-12), Patrice Bergeron (-18), and Zdeno Chara (-10) all finished below their mid season point pace. Phil Kessel was among the few in Boston that had a better second half than first half of the season. You can assume hearing the good news on his cancer scare had something to do with it. Another big positive was the great play of newly acquired Brandon Bochenski. The young Bochenski’s 22 points in 31 games were impressive. His outlook for next season looks very promising.
Buffalo’s roster remained fairly strong and intact for the second half of the season. Afinogenov’s injury caused a major drop in his overall point total and thus he never came close to his midseason 101 point pace. Both Thomas Vanek and Daniel Briere finished below their midseason point pace, but not enough to worry. Jason Pominville finished +8 above his pace and Derek Roy finished +10. This can be contributed to more overall ice time as well as power play time filling in for the injured Afinogenov and Tim Connolly. Down the stretch their defensemen Campbell, Spacek, Tallinder, Numminen all finished below their mid season pace.
The biggest difference maker on the Flames the second half of the season was Kristian Huselius. He had a fantastic second half. Huselius finished with 77 points, that’s +22 points above his midseason pace. If he puts up points next season like he did in the second half of this past season, he will be among the league leaders in points.
Carolina was another team with second half woes and the numbers show it. Not a single player among their top ten point earners finished above their midseason pace. Ray Whitney with 83 overall points was close, finishing at one point off his midseason pace. Many suspected the return of Cory Stillman would get in the way with Whitney’s overall production, but he didn’t. In fact, when Stillman returned from his injuries, he came nowhere close to producing like he had done in the past. Stillman ended up with a disappointing 27 points in 43 games.
Part 2 breaks down Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, and Florida.